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The presence of bouncers meant that “creepers wait outside,” said volunteer maid Victoria Colbranna. The maids were all quick to point out the cafe’s security and non-sexual environment. Even a few men joined the mix, as both butlers and maids, although they were in the minority.

After I was admitted through security into the lobby, I was shown into an elevator by a prim, red-eyed butler. Inside the cafe, elements of Geisha culture mixed with Japanese pop for a tone that was both serene and utterly kooky. Maids delicately served miso soup and chatted and played games like Hungry, Hungry Hippos with guests. They flounced and giggled. A lot. But nothing was as loud or theatrical as you might have expected. In fact, the tone was fairly sterile. At a convention with no shortage of the nearly naked, these maids wore costumes that covered everything just above the knee. And, contrary to the scene painted in the Post‘s 2009 article, I didn’t see any hugging—-or any kind of touching between maid and patron.

Con-goers seemed to appreciate the reprieve, though. The ledger was full of reservations and the lobby was packed with walk-ins hoping to catch a seat. “It’s an innocent environment, ” explained returning customer Patchen Mortimer. “Almost a role-playing experience that is a magical take on waitressing.”