The 2 Hour Princess Experience
There are 3 ways for a girl to become a princess:
1. Be a royal descendant
2. Marry a prince
3. Find a butler cafe in Japan
Since I’m a little late for option 1 and skeptical about option 2, I
chose was left with option 3. If you know me in person you are possibly wondering why I would even want to be a princess. Let me explain. I wanted an unusual experience on my trip to Tokyo and my friends were outright unwilling to accompany me to an ear wax cleansing cafe.
Contrary to what you may have learned from the Addams Family, butlers do more than answer the door. They also carry your bag (no matter how much you protest), serve you food and put a tiara on your head. In spite of all this, being a princess is surprisingly difficult.
Despite the fact that the staff repeatedly insist that the butler cafe is a place to relax, there are many rules that come with being a princess, including but not limited to:
- No taking pictures of anything besides your food (And I was under the impression princesses could do what they wanted)
- Do not start conversations with escorting butlers (If they are supposed to serve me how come they set all the rules?)
- Use a bell to summon a butler. The bell may not be used for other activities (They would not describe what these other activities might be)
While I was able to (grudgingly) accept most of these rules, there was one I had a hard time accepting. You are not allowed to go to the washroom. The moment you are seated someone will explain to you that princesses use powder rooms not washrooms, and that if you are not ready to say ‘powder room’ you are not ready to be a princess. In fact, as a true princess, you cannot visit the powder room on your own. A butler must hold your hand and escort you.
Unless you agree to the rules you are not allowed to be a princess, and since only princesses are allowed to look at the menu, I agreed to follow rules that were possibly more ridiculous than the HR policies at one of my former jobs. Browsing through the menu I stumbled upon the image cocktail. For $15 a butler will gaze into your eyes for 5 seconds and then mix you a drink that contains your essence. Alternatively you can use the menu to order a picture with a butler of your choice. It’s up to you to decide whether you would rather he place an arm around you or lift you up.
One of the most important things I learned while being a princess was that you are supposed to stick to the script. If you ask a butler why he became one he will tell you that he spent 4 years at university studying to be a butler and he was head-hunted to work at the cafe. In fact he will tell you he always wanted to be a butler but will have no clue about the identities of Lurch, Jeeves or Geoffrey from Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
If you tell him that you tried to Google his university but found nothing, he will change the topic. No matter how many times you insist you have a good friend who would like to be a butler, he will steer the topic away or tell you it is not a good time for questions. Since I did not have much practice being a princess I struggled to stick to the script.
“Can you call me queen instead of princess?”
“No, my princess. I already have a queen. All the butlers think of the cook in our kitchen as our queen”
“Okay no problem. I’m done with filling out my information form”
“Your name is…. Queenie?”
Sadly my cover was blown by the uncontrollable guffawing coming from the direction of my friends. At that moment I wished the princess rule sheet forbid loud laughter.