Shop­ping-weary Chi­nese find refuge in souped-up man caves

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

It's a fa­mil­iar sight in shop­ping malls around the world­weary-look­ing men du­ti­fully fol­low­ing their wives from store to store. But China may have the so­lu­tion: so-called "hus­band rest booths". While their part­ners shop, users can re­tire to the glass-en­cased kiosks, which con­tain a com­fort­able mas­sage chair and an el­e­vated screen for play­ing com­puter games or watch­ing tele­vi­sion. Its mak­ers say the fu­tur­is­tic mini man-caves are a first in China and they have in­stalled four in a high-end mall in Shang­hai at a cost of 40,000 yuan ($6,000) each.

You can re­serve the pod in ad­vance via a mo­bile phone app, and it costs noth­ing to use at the mo­ment. In English, each has the words: "Pri­vate Lounge. Wait­ing for you in the bar." Owen Wei, project man­ager at mak­ers In­grem, a Shang­hai com­pany, said if the first batch proved pop­u­lar they would roll out more at malls in the city. "Some men don't like to go shop­ping or stay with their wives, and pre­fer to play games or watch tele­vi­sion," he told AFP at the enor­mous Global Har­bor mall, where one hus­band lay slumped in a nearby booth shoot­ing aliens.

Not every­one is a fan, how­ever. On one re­cent day most of those vis­it­ing the pods were teenagers, mem­bers of the me­dia and cu­ri­ous on­look­ers. One hus­band said he pre­ferred his wife's com­pany, while Liu Tian­guo said his part­ner did not ap­prove of the scheme. "I told my wife, 'I'll be here. You go shop­ping and you'll find me here,'" said Liu. "It's com­fort­able and I can have a rest while she spends my money. She was ok with it-as long as I don't stay here too long."— AFP

This photo shows a man play­ing video games in a booth at a shop­ping mall in Shang­hai. — AFP

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