We in Japan are no strangers to the irresistible allure of hot girls in maid outfits, with meido kissas continuing to grow in popularity year-in-year-out, countless manga and romance novels focusing on maid-and-master trysts and the almost-obligatory appearance of every AV idol ever in a maid-themed movie or ten. Perfectly straddling the border between endearing innocence and smouldering sexuality, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking maids (quite rightly) occupy one of the top spots in most every guy’s list of perfect fantasy girls.
Apparently folks in the West aren’t oblivious to the phenomenon either, as illustrated by a new article at AskMen.com entitled ‘Why Men Love Maids’. Using recent scandals involving ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzennegger and French politician/economist Dominique Strauss-Kahn and their respective dalliances with hired-help as a jumping-off point, the piece goes on to examine just what it is about maids that gets us all hot and bothered. ‘That dynamic breeds attraction,” comments Louise Rafkin, author of ‘Other People’s Dirt: A Housekeeper’s Adventures from Cape Cod to Kyoto’. ‘As the maid, you’re …walking into someone’s intimate personal little world, but you’re in your work world, and your job is to be polite, and you have to suck up to the boss… I can imagine being vulnerable, being seen at his possibly worst — that could be erotically appealing to a celebrity, because he feels that whoever sees him that way knows the real him. Like the outside world doesn’t know him, but the maid does.’
The article asserts that a feeling of dominance is one of the driving factors behind the appeal of maids: ‘The maid is a servant, so there’s this whole thing of being in charge of somebody else and being able to tell them what to do,” states sexual commentator (That’s a real job? Sweet.) David Steinberg. Rafkin meanwhile goes on to say ‘It’s also about men wanting to look at women on their knees. Men want to know that women are there to clean up after them. You only have to look at porn to figure that out.’ The critical tone carries over to the article’s commentary on the maid phenomenon as it exists in Japan: ‘[E]stablishments like Tokyo’s Cure Maid Cafe feature hot young waitresses dressed in kitschy “French maid” costumes who treat diners like masters and mistresses, sometimes offering massages and even kneeling tableside to stir cream and sugar into drinks. Fueled by sexy-maid-themed manga and anime, the trend is now taking off across Asia.’
With its ever-so-slightly preachy tone, the article misses one of the key reasons maid (and indeed any) costumes appeal to us: escapism. Cosplay, sexy or otherwise, is, after all, about role-playing – becoming somebody else and playing a different role in life, however briefly. After all, what’s more fun than losing yourself inside your own private fantasy world? (Oh, yeah! Losing yourself inside a sexy costumed Japanese girl while you’re at it. I know how I’m spending my weekend.) However, it does at least concede that the power dynamic that fuels a maid-master relationship and lends it such intoxicating appeal is far from one-sided: ‘As a maid, you get to see their secrets. You know things. You witness things… So, in a way, your bosses are beholden to you. You have power over them. The ‘poor maid’ thing is not the real story.’
Interesting food for thought from which you can draw your own conclusions. In the meantime, I know I’ll be continuing to enjoy the sights at my local maid café just as much as always – and should YOU ever feel the need to do more than just look, don’t pull an Arnie and try to ruin it for the rest of us! Head over to the ever-reliable Kanojo Toys for all your maid-related needs.
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