I grab a handful of salted nuts and pop them one by one into my mouth. ‘Are there any techniques to win the affection of a hostess?’
He blows a few smoke rings and lays his cigarette on a Remy Martin Cognac ashtray. ‘It’s best to visit a nightclub on a weekday when the patrons are fewer and no big spenders are around. After several visits, if you like a particular girl, tell the mamasan you like one of her hostesses and thank her for the excellent hospitality training given to that hostess. The mamasan will be grateful for the respect shown to her. She’ll probably tell the hostess to be nicer to you on your next visit. Then you must prove your sincerity by frequently hiring the hostess and courting her by giving her presents and generous tips and inviting her to meals. If you’re afraid of rejection, request the mamasan to suggest to the hostess that she buys you lunch to show her appreciation of your business. Prefer lunch to dinner as you can talk with the hostess on a more personal basis. Hopefully, this’ll lead to a closer relationship. Later, when the time is right, you should be upfront. Tell her something like this: "Can you be my girlfriend or mistress? I’ll give you a monthly allowance. I just want to see you frequently. Any time you meet a better man, and want to be with him, we can split." An unattached hostess is likely to seriously consider such an attractive proposition.’
‘What about a one-night stand?’
‘It’s best to be honest instead of giving hints or being indirect.’ He lifts his cigarette and taps ash into the ashtray. ‘If you’re too shy to use the word sex, say something like this: "I’d like to invite you to supper and later to a hotel. Would you like to come?" If she says no, ask her to recommend someone else. Don’t be afraid she’ll be offended by such an invitation. If you ask her to go out with you, and only later you mention sex, it smacks of manipulation, which she may not like.’
I book a table at Orchid Niteclub in Ampang Road and ask Charles Chow to join me but, he says it’s his squash night and declines; however, his younger brother, Ivan, whom I’ve met before, will be happy to come along. Ivan, aged thirty, is not as wild as his brother Charles, so I am unsure if he is the right companion for such a fling. Nevertheless, I’ll have someone to split the bill with.
We arrive at Orchid at 10 pm and the valet parks my car. Inside the hall, the receptionist takes us to a semicircular sofa with a coffee table in its mid-gap. A pair of floor-standing lamps in romantic shades of pink complements the cream-coloured settee. The air smells of rose tainted with a lingering trace of cigarette smoke.
A waiter, wearing a black bow-tie and a brown vest, passes two menus to us. ‘Please order your drinks and food first. Mummy will come soon.’
In the menu are the prices for hostess time (RM60 per hour), ladies’ non-alcoholic drinks and bar grub. The items listed are nothing earth-shattering except for the prices, so we order two big bottles of Sapporo Premium Beer, fried mozzarella sticks, tortilla chips and deep-fried chicken wings.
A woman, wearing her hair in a shag with face-framing layers and an empire-waisted watermelon-red dress, strides to us across the plum-coloured carpet. Three hostesses pad along behind her.
‘Good evening, I’m Mummy Lulu,’ she says, extending her hand. ‘I’ve three very pretty GROs for you. All of them are very friendly. Who do you want?’
Like automobiles on display, they stand in a row facing us. At five foot three, the hostess on the left, with one hand on her hip, is wearing a beige pouf-skirted dress. She gives us a tight-lipped smile which makes me suspect that her teeth are ugly. ‘Angela,’ the mamasan says. In the centre, slouching slightly and cocking her head, a brown-skinned girl garbed in a tank top raises her left hand and wriggles four fingers at us, holding Ivan’s gaze and smiling. ‘Hi, guys!’ she chirps. Most likely a ‘girlfriend’ hostess, according to Maggie’s classification. ‘That’s Lina, short for Mazlina.’ A strapless dress beginning with a sweetheart neckline and ending with the shortest possible miniskirt on a five-foot-six body – endowed with 36-24-38 statistics – draws all attention from the other two girls. ‘Third GRO is Jessica,’ the mamasan informs us. Her face is fit for a beauty pageant.
Ivan, peering through coke-bottle spectacles, says,‘We’ll take Jessica.’
Holding a cell phone in her hand, she sinks gracefully down beside him. ‘How shall I address you?’ She has a broad forehead and high cheek bones that narrow to a small chin. Her cherry-red lipstick imparts sensuality to her fair complexion.
‘I’m Ivan, and he’s–’
‘Frankie,’ I lie, turning to look at her.
‘First time here?’
‘Yes, first time.’
‘You like my dress?’ she asks Ivan, looking down at it. ‘I bought it this morning at Fahrenheit 88.’
‘You’re gorgeous,’ is all he can manage.
Our food and drinks are served pretty quickly, and the smell of cheese and roasted corn envelops us for a few seconds. ‘Come, let’s snack,’ I say. ‘They taste good only when they’re piping hot.’ I go for the tortilla chips with salsa.
‘An extra glass, please,’ Jessica tells the waiter. ‘And one more big bottle of Sapporo for me, if you don’t mind, guys. You like Sapporo, huh? It’s also my favourite.’
She leans forward, jams her cell phone in her cleavage – as her milky, massive orbs spill over her neckline, Ivan does a double take – picks up a chicken wing, dips it in chili sauce and starts to eat with both hands.
‘What do you do?’ She nibbles at the flesh of the chicken wing, and then tears the radius and ulna apart.
‘I’m a marketing manager, motor oil company,’ Ivan replies. He pops a tortilla chip into his mouth.
A waiter brings Jessica a willybecher and a bottle of beer. I fill up the glass, and Ivan puts it in front of her on the table.
Sliding across on the smooth leather, she sits closer to him, her shoulder touching his. ‘You should come here more often. We’ve a lot of things in common to talk about. I was also in sales before. You know, I like you, I like your style.’
Music sounds from Jessica’s cell phone. ‘Ivan, please answer the call for me. My hands are oily,’ she says offhandedly.
Ivan grins sheepishly, his face turns red and his fingers tremble. ‘What – what do you want me to say?’ The cell phone is planted all the way down in her cleavage.
‘I think it’s my friend. Tell her I’ll call back.’
Gingerly, he uses his thumb and forefinger to lift it out, brushing against her soft flesh. He clears his throat nervously and speaks into the mouthpiece. ‘Jessica’s engaged right now. She’ll call you back afterwards.’ Then to Jessica: ‘Where shall I put your cell phone?’
‘Same place!’ she says, with an air of nonchalance. She sticks her chest out to make things easier for him. ‘Please switch it off first.’
With his chin almost trembling, Ivan carefully slips the cell phone in her cleavage, and taps its top a few times with his forefinger so that it goes all the way in. Phew! He wipes beads of sweat on his forehead with a piece of Kleenex tissue.
After several visits hostesses girls in Kuala Lumpur, if you like a particular girl, tell the mamasan you like one of her hostesses and thank her for the excellent hospitality training given to that hostess. The mamasan will be grateful for the respect shown to her. She'll probably tell the hostess to be nicer to you on your next visit.
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