Sister – smile
The hostess bars often ranked the girls based on the sales they brought to the house. Regular customers asked to be served by their favorite girls. The girls earned revenue from such patronage and the amount of money the customer spent while at the table.
My sister’s bar was small and managed by a “Mama,” who oversaw the girls and ran daily operations. This type of bar was called a “club.” They tended to attract customers from local businesses, so they were more likely to become regular customers. My sister’s club had a piano and a pianist who played for live karaoke. My sister sang quite well and made efforts to learn new and old songs, so the customers liked to sing with her.
Before long, my sister became the top-earning hostess and was earning the kind of money I never thought possible. I saw a photo of her in front of the club with other hostesses and some customers. She was in the center, with her long legs in heels extended from a mini skirt, and flashed a smile wider than that of other girls. I could tell she was the top hostess. Compared to her, other girls lacked luster. But there was something odd about her smile. She tilted her head slightly, and her eyes that looked into the camera were narrow from the smile. This. She never narrowed her eyes when she was genuinely amused. Her eyes would be wide open from curiosity. What I saw in her in the photo was more like ingratiation.
The power I thought my sister gained was in reality given by her customers. She had to give up her power to them so she could survive. I believed the men loved her, but she had known well enough how precarious their affection was.