One man’s pleasure is another’s pricey poison, as otaku says going to a hostess bar is just paying for stress.

While the outfits may be revealing and the conversations sprinkled with innuendo, technically all customers are paying for at a Japanese hostess bar is for the hostess to sit, drink, and talk with them. But as the countless number of hostess bars that dot Japan’s urban landscape prove, there’s plenty of demand for those seemingly simple services, since almost every guy’s ego gets a boost when a good-looking girl acts like what he’s saying is intensely interesting or fiendishly funny.

But to repeat, almost every guy feels that way. There are exceptions, like otaku and Japanese Twitter user @tamayan22, whose take on hostess clubs is very different from his boss’.

“My boss always says ‘Go to a hostess bar! You’ll have a great time!’ For ordinary people, I guess their way of thinking is ‘A hostess bar is a fun place where you get to talk with a beautiful woman if you pay money,’ but for us otaku, it’s more like ‘a psychologically painful place where, in addition to paying a lot of money, you have to talk with a woman you’ve never met before!’”

@tamayan22 has a point. It takes two people to make a conversation, and while that may not require a perfect 50-50 split of statements made, there’s a certain bare minimum of talking you have to do in order to pull your weight so enjoyable communication can happen. Otaku are, generally, a shy bunch. They’re often acutely aware that their hobbies, whether anime, video games, or some other otaku pastime, are something that many, if not most, mainstream members of society couldn’t care less about, but at the same time a lot of otaku don’t really have the depth of knowledge or enthusiasm to actively participate in conversations about topics outside their own specialized interests. And while there are hostess bar-like business that cater to otaku, such as maid cafes and cosplay bars, such establishments often have the waitresses play games with, or do dances for, the customers, which takes some of the pressure off them to keep the conversation buzzing along.

A number of other commenters shared @tamayan22’s dim view of a night at a hostess club, chiming in with:

“That’s exactly why I don’t go to hostess bars. There’s nothing but unpleasantness in pretending to enjoy a conversation with someone you just met.”

“Otaku aren’t any more or less knowledgeable than ordinary people, but their knowledge is deep within a narrow range of interests, so they can’t have smooth conversations with people with a wide range shallow interests.”

“It’d be fun if the hostess was an otaku too, though.”

That last remark is telling, since many say what makes a good hostess is the ability to appear eager to talk about whatever the customer is into, regardless of her actual interest, or lack thereof, in that topic. Because of that, @tamayan22’s tweet also promoted a few commenters to say that maybe he just hasn’t been to a really good hostess bar yet.

“High-level hostesses can even draw a conversation out of otaku, and create a romantically charged atmosphere. I’m an otaku and sometimes I have to go with my boss to hostess bars, and the hostesses are so good at conversation it’s dangerous.”

“My coworker took me to a hostess bar, and I was really nervous, but then the hostess said ‘Oh, recently I watched [landmark 1980s anime films] Harmagedon and Akira!’ She’s a real pro.”

Still, since their livelihood depends on making the customer feel interesting, some otaku are likely to be sceptic a hostess’ anime enthusiasm is general, and thus decide they’d rather spend their money on a Blu-ray box set of their favorite recent series than the social anxiety of conversation with a stranger.

Source: Twitter/@tamayan22 via Jin
Top image: Gatag