South Koreans have been booking since the 1990s, according to Kai Ma's 2005 article on the experience in Hyphen Magazine.Booking mixes sexual experimentation with Korean culture's traditional reliance on matchmaking and arranged marriages.It's bursting to be free.' " (Feria's Yelp page is filled with more recent harrowing anecdotes). In the Hyphen article, Ma's friend Liz chalks this up to Korean girls feeling the pressure to seem "shy and reserved and conservative."There is a concern among Asian cultures—a stigma, if a woman doesn't act pure," she says.
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Still, when this actually happened before my eyes, I couldn't help but laugh in surprise.
Booking is a Korean dating practice, where waiters introduce male and female club-goers to each other by forcibly bringing women to men's tables.
"But really, you don't have to go if you don't want—you just have to resist."Jasmine Chang, who's from Ktown, says she has been able to exercise a lot of freedom when booking, especially since she's been booking since she was 18 and has gotten to know the waiters well.
"Let's say one day I feel like champagne, because I feel like being all kinds of bourgie," she says.
It seems like your ordinary American nightclub at first: dark, an ear-splitting Amp Radio playlist, overpriced well drinks, and girls and boys in their early 20s crowding the spacious dance floor.
But survey the club from the tiny bar in the back—or even just turn around on the dance floor—and you'll see waiters dragging the young women by the hand to a table full of guys."None of the Korean American women I know put on coyness displays," says Steph Cha, who went booking every weekend one summer in her early 20s.She dismisses the waiters' aggressiveness as just a formality that comes with booking.When a group of guys wants to book, they call up a waiter they know, reserve a table, and then pay for bottle service at the club.The waiter then brings girls to their table in order to earn good tips.The girl will sit with them for a few minutes, do a shot, and then get up, before another waiter grabs her elbow.