(#8, Version 5.0)
A paga tavern is a combination bar, restaurant and brothel. In the southern hemisphere, cafes often take the place of paga taverns but are essentially the same type of entity. Paga taverns exist primarily for the pleasure of men, but such pleasures range widely. Men go there to relax or be sociable. They often play Kaissa there. Some taverns even have special tables with a Kaissa board inlaid on the table. Men may wish to watch slave dances or other men duel in the sands. It is also a place where men can learn a lot about a city and hear the latest news. A new visitor to a city can learn much at a paga tavern about his new surroundings. A paga tavern is much more than just a place where men go to fur kajirae. Many patrons may never make use of a kajira in that manner.
A tavern commonly has a number of low tables of various sizes. A man can remain by himself at a small table or party with his friends at a larger one. Men sit cross-legged on the floor at these tables. There may be a sandpit in the paga tavern for slave dancing or battles by the men. There is an area of curtained pleasure alcoves where men and slaves retire for sexual pleasure. There is often a kitchen area, commonly separated from the main area by swinging doors or a beaded curtain. The doors or curtain are easy to negotiate by a girl carrying something. Curtains are used more often than the swinging doors.
Other varieties of paga taverns exist on Gor. The paga enclosure is a transportable tavern. The owner generally makes a circular area of leveled earth about forty yards in diameter. The area is fenced in but the fencing is little more than symbolic. It consists of light railings, set on tripods and is about waist high. The fence is made to be easily taken down and reconstructed at another site. There will be tiny, alcovelike tents within the perimeter and several small fires. At night, the girls are not belled. Thus, the camp can be quickly made dark and silent if necessary.
The Wagon Peoples have public slave wagons, a combination paga tavern and slave market. Slave girls can be bought, sold and rented there. They may also set up a curtained alcove when they have dancers performing. There is nothing else like it anywhere on Gor. This idea could be the basis of some good story-lines. Maybe a group of enterprising Wagon Peoples decide to take their slave wagon to visit the cities. While they were earning money, maybe they could also be spying. Or, an ingenious Merchant might decide to copy this idea and create his own traveling public slave wagon.
In paga taverns, the men are served by paga kajirae, slaves who are a combination waitress and prostitute. For the price of a cup of paga, from a couple tarsk bits to a couple copper tarsks, a man is also entitled to the use of one of the servers. Commonly, the patron will use the kajira that serves him but this need not be the case. He may take a girl to one of the pleasure alcoves for sex. He may keep that girl for as long as he desires or until the tavern closes at dawn. It appears that once the man leaves the pleasure alcove, his time with the girl may be over. There are references that you keep the girl until you choose to open the leather curtains over the pleasure alcove. This prevents a man from stacking up a stream of girls at his table. For each cup a man purchases, he may use a different slave. Once the tavern closes though, any cups not used are lost. You cannot save them for another night. A paga dancer usually costs a customer extra and you would negotiate the price with the tavern owner. Any exceptions to these common rules must be posted clearly in advance.
When a girl first becomes a paga slave, it is usually the first two or three nights that are the most difficult. If the girl has not learned properly by then, her throat will likely be cut by an angry customer. Her sales price would then be paid to the tavern owner, plus a token copper or two for goodwill. A girl is considered "paga hot" if she is hot enough to be able to serve as a paga slave. Any girl in the tavern is subject to the discipline of a customer. Bruises on the girls are common hazards of business and tavern owners do not see such as wrong. Some taverns allow you to have your own slaves serve you.
Men may also work in paga taverns. Paga attendants are male employees of paga taverns and they generally supervise the serving of paga by the slave girls and collect payment for the paga and the use of the girls. There might also be a tavern owner, kitchen master, cooks and musicians present.
The pleasure alcoves are often small and their entrances may be circular, about twenty-four inches in diameter. They are commonly stacked in levels and reached by narrow ladders fixed into the walls. A typical alcove has curved walls, and is about four feet high and five feet wide. It is lit by a small lamp, set into a niche in the wall. It is lined with red silk and floored with love furs and cushions. The furs are usually about six to eight inches deep. The alcoves have a subtle but efficient air circulation system, possibly some vent holes high in the walls. An alcove will usually contain chains, rope and a whip. You may also request any special equipment you may desire such as hook bracelets. Some taverns may have different types of alcoves but most are fairly similar.
In most paga taverns, the girls wear diaphanous silks. These silks can be worn in many ways. It may be worn on or off the shoulder, with high or plunging necklines, tightly or flowingly, in halters or G-strings, or brief tunics that may be partable or wraparound. Some tunics have a disrobing loop, usually at the left shoulder, where a tug will drop the entire garment to the girl's ankles. Only in the lowest taverns do the girls serve naked. It is also common to bell paga slaves, to make them more appeasing. Most paga girls also have pierced ears now. After the defeat of Turia, ear piercing has spread throughout Gor and has become the new fashion.
A parade of slaves commonly takes places in paga taverns and brothels. The paga slaves present themselves one by one, often accompanied by music, for the inspection of the guests. This allows the guests to better decide which kajira they might wish to use in the alcoves later. This may be repeated a couple times during a night so that patrons that enter later can view the kajirae.
Free women are not permitted in most paga taverns though they are permitted entrance into a few. In some taverns, even families are permitted entrance. In such taverns, efforts are made to promote modesty and decorum. Men in these places try to restrain their natural tendencies so as to not offend the free women. Tavern owners would try to enforce this decorum so that they can maintain their reputation and protect their business. Men have plenty of taverns they can go to where they do not need to be restrained so there is no reason for them to do so in these places. Most free women though would rather not attend such establishments. They do not wish to see their men fawning over such lascivious kajirae.
Slaves who are not paga slaves may enter taverns only if on an errand or in the company of a free person. There are often slave rings on one wall to chain your personal slaves. Most men would leave their personal slaves there. Some paga taverns would permit men to have their personal slaves serve them.
In the majority of taverns, paga is the most common beverage. No bottle or bota of paga is brought to the table. Cups, goblets or bowls are generally filled from a vat of paga behind the counter, from a huge bottle of paga put into a pouring sling, or from bronze vessels carried in leather harnesses by the kajirae. Botas of paga are only used while traveling or camping. Paga is not served warm or hot unless it is specifically ordered as such. Most people prefer room temperature paga. Torvaldsland and Cos are two places that normally prefer heated paga. There is also nothing in the books to suggest paga has a lumpy consistency. If paga was lumpy, it would be very difficult to fill or empty a bota.
Ka-la-na and other wines are commonly served from bottles. Other beverages may be contained in pitchers, small kegs, or bottles. Some of these beverages may be stored in the basements of the taverns to keep them a bit cooler as few taverns would actually have an ice room, especially in the summer or in warmer climates. Amphorae are frequently used to store beverages underground to keep them cooler.
Many online kajirae have learned very specific ways to serve in a tavern. There are web sites that instruct them exactly how to serve each food and drink. Girls then memorize these serves and do it the same way every time. Thus, service becomes a boring repetitive act that is not true to the novels. Service should be as creative as any other kajira action. There are 105 ways just to enter a room, dozens of ways to kiss, and numerous slave dances. Why should food and drink service be performed only by one method? The answer is that it should be done in a myriad of ways. The method of the service should conform to the circumstances. What is appropriate at a formal feast may not be so at a cheap paga tavern.
In a paga tavern, when a slave serves, she is also offering herself to the customer. Thus, she will desire to please the customer as much as possible and make herself as desirable as possible. Gorean men enjoy imaginative and sensual women. Let your serve show your creativity and sensuality. You are selling yourself, not just a cup of paga or wine. Show how well you can move. Accentuate your allure and desirability. Make the customer lust for you. A kajira that could not entice the customers into the alcoves would be severely disciplined by the tavern owner, sold or even killed. You are there to make money for him so if you cannot earn your keep, you are useless to him.
What is required as a part of a serve? There are only a few items that are absolutely necessary. Everything else depends on the situation and location. Generally, the less formal the setting, the shorter and less rigid the serve. But, most serves have these few things in common.
First, make sure that you know exactly what your customer orders. Do not serve him sul paga if he orders regular paga. Do not serve him warm paga if he wants it at room temperature. If you are unsure about an order, ask the customer. Not every Master likes his food or drink prepared the same. If he orders Sa-Tarna bread, ask him what he wishes to go with it. Some prefer honey while others want melted butter. Try to ensure that you are going to bring him exactly what he desires. If you try to guess what the customer wants, you are taking a big risk.
Second, make sure the drinking vessels, serving trays and utensils are clean. You do not need to wash or wipe every goblet you get but at least indicate that you have found a clean cup. Once washed, likely by a slave, the vessels usually hang upside down on racks to drip dry. A quick glance at the vessel before using it will ensure it is adequate. Do not wipe a vessel with your silks. That would ruin the silks and the taverns have rep cloths for such cleaning. A chipped or broken vessel would be immediately thrown out. Also remember that most paga taverns have inexpensive cups and dishes. They would be cheap metal or pottery, not gold and silver that would most likely be stolen. This though would depend on the quality of the paga tavern. A very expensive tavern might have gold and silver cups and dishes but few such places exist.
Third, make sure you kneel when serving. The customer is sitting on the floor at a low table. You need to get down to his level and kneeling is the only proper way to do it. Proper kajirae do not bend over. In addition, kneeling is a proper way to show deference to a man. Kneeling expresses the proper servitude and submission of a slave. A girl would learn how to carefully balance a tray or other accouterments while attempting to kneel next to a table.
Besides these three basic items, everything else is up to your imagination. The most common serve that many kajirae have learned on AOL or the IRC involves cleaning a cup, pouring the paga from a bota into a bowl, holding the bowl low against their belly, running it up their body, holding it for three heartbeats at their chest, kissing the rim and then offering it to the customer. This is not a required serve as depicted in the novels. Some kajirae in the novels did parts of that serve but many others did not. And some parts of that serve did not exist at all in the novels.
The cleaning of the cup and botas were already discussed above. The three heartbeats and the love, devotion and honor pledge never occurred in the novels. Thus it is not a necessary part of a serve. They are online creations only. Holding it low against your belly does occur in the novels but it is not a constant. It is also not a required part of a serve. "Sweetening" the cup is another online creation that does not exist in the books.
Kissing the rim of the goblet does occur a number of times but it is again not a necessity as many serves are done without it. There are examples from the books where paga slaves may kiss the rim twice, or lick it deferentially. Kissing is done primarily as a sign of obeisance, deference to the patron. Slaves would also never sip a master's drink before serving it. If they were permitted to take a drink from the same cup, they would never drink from the side of a cup where their master has already drank from. No girl in the books ever tested a man's drink for poison. Poison is not that great of a threat in taverns. It would be an insult to a tavern for girls to be routinely checking for poison.
Long involved serves were more common at feasts where the host is trying to impress his guests. In most taverns, long serves are impractical and unnecessary. Be creative in your serves but do not over do it. Save long serves for special occasions. In a cheap paga tavern, the men simply want their food and drink without some long presentation. The patrons would likely get angry at a girl that took too long to deliver or serve their order.
Most service online is so boring, for the customer and the kajira. Vie for the attention of the customers. Become the most popular kajira in the tavern by being the most imaginative server. You may kiss the rim of the cup or hold it deep against your belly but you may also skip it. Vary how you perform your serves. Make it a true presentation instead of a "canned" service by rote. Make the serve fit the situation as well.
There are a few others matters of tavern etiquette. First, there are no such things as serving furs. If anything, paga kajirae would kneel on the bare floor while waiting in the tavern. In true taverns, the girls would rarely have a free moment to relax. She would be constantly serving customers food and drink or in the pleasure alcoves. Second, when a kajira enters the tavern, she does not need to seek permission or perform obeisance. She should just quietly walk to the serving area and kneel until she is needed. This is partially intended to promote the flow of role-play as massive greetings can be distracting. Third, a kajira should seek permission to leave the tavern. First, she should consult her owner. If the owner is not around, she should ask any other free person present.
Remember, the key to good service, like good role-play, is creativity.