Peculiar to Korean "massage" parlors (as in tubular massage parlors) is the custom of the owner employing a kitchen mommie to cook for and feed the girls. At American places, the flatbackers commute to work and live away from the premises. But with Koreans…it’s a 24/7 deal. They actually have apartments (usually in Flushing) but sign on to work at whatever ho house for a week at a time. And while their American counterparts order out, thus littering the inside of the refrigerator with half-consumed tins of whatever, Koreans are constantly cooking and eating. There’s hardly ever a moment in time when I enter a Korean place when there isn’t some sort of food sitting on a table for the girls to munch on.

And Koreans are kind of like Jewish or Italian grandmothers. They always want to feed you. You can imagine how many different bizarre dishes I’ve sampled over the years, ranging from delicious to God awful. But rather than list all the strange cuisine I’ve sampled and rate them on the taste scale, I really only want to comment on one Korean dish…SPAM. At first, I wondered how the fuck SPAM entered into an Asian’s diet. And with a little thought, I got my answer.

Spam is American soldier food! When on leave, what did American soldiers in Korea and Vietnam do? They "mingled" with Asian escorts and clearly, introduced their vile K rations to the girls. Instead of recognizing Spam for the garbage it is, Koreans viewed it as some kind of delicacy, incorporating the mystery meat into their daily diet. So what happens when you eat with Koreans? You get nasty kim chi, horrible tiny little crunchy fish, even more horrible crunchier little one thousand degree crabs, and a myriad of other unidentifiable food which I’m almost afraid to sample. And then…good old Spam, which, surrounded by the other scary stuff, almost looks like manna in comparison.

So the other day, I was dining with an enchanting goddess named Jeannie, when the momesan served up some piping hot Spam, at which point the girl dug in—chopsticks first—to consume the delicious aristocratic cuisine. I flashed an almost whimsical smile as the girl explained how she grew up on Spam and it was all she ever ate as a child. It was a magical cross-cultural moment as I imagined American GI’s introducing Korean "companions" to the wonderful taste of their Army food, and laughing as the girls stuffed themselves with what the grunts could barely stand to eat. Of course, I’m not a soldier and never was…but I can still enjoy the moment as if I were, traveling to a distant land and introducing a piece of my culture to a sexy baby doll with whom I have almost nothing in common.

So the next time you visit an Asian massage parlor, arrive with a can of Spam in hand and trust me…they’ll treat you like a hot American GI freedom fighter. And you know what that means—they’ll be sheathing and unsheathing your bayonet all night!