June 16, 2004
The International Guild of Professional Butlers.
Hiring the Help: Could you? Would you? Or is the idea of being served by others too much? Helping the Hirers: Could you? Would you? Or is the idea of serving others too much?
13 years ago
The butlers' guild has a coat of arms.
Yeah, I'd hire the help, but only if it were a full Wodehousian, Jeeves-style valet. Clean the house, do laundry, cook, set up illegal gambling rings, and save my bacon when I do something incredibly stupid. It would be a dream come true.
Aren't those called nannies?
I know a guy, current postal employee, who is seriously tempted by this. Has recurrent crises about dropping the mail and picking up the, um, tray?
Neither. I would hate the loss of privacy if I were the hirer, and I have shamefully archaic ideas about the dignity (or lack thereof) of people working inside a home that is not their own. I justify it somewhat by pointing to how the people employed as nannies or PAs or butlers or housekeepers or or or or... are treated by the families they work for.
Not to mention good old American egalitarianism, which takes all the fun out of oppression.
I only hire a butler if I was a vigilante that roamed Gotham City at night.
Or if you had a giant robot that instructed you to, "Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty"?
People thinking of going into the Butler trade should watch
Remains of the Day
before committing to the profession.
I'm sure a lifetime of unrequited love is
a common occupational hazard for butlers.
I'll tell you what, it took me over a year to get over the idea of hiring a once-weekly maid service. Over a year! But I'd never go back. Gentlemen, I highly recommend it. Get referrals and references, though. And don't leave, say, big stacks of cash or loose uncut diamonds laying around. Tempt thee not, and thy maid's conscience remaineth clear. I don't know that I'd want a Jeevesly butler hanging around the house all day, but I certainly could do with a valet, shining shoes, fixing drinks, agreeing with everything I say, rustling up fajitas, stepping up to take the blame when I fuck up ("Please forgive my churlishness, madam, but I must confess - the panties you discovered in the glove compartment of Sir's car...? They belong to me. Sir is completely innocent, of course. Please, accept my most humble apologies, and be assured that such a coarse transgression shall never - never! - again occur.") Hmm. You think valets have a union like these butlers?
OK. #1 Yes, I would consider hiring professional help only if I had managed to amass more money and space then I could ever conceivably deal with, someone living in the bizarre slacker community inside said amassed space hadn't already taken it on themselves to do it, and if the help was Rick Moranis, Curtis Armstrong, or Michael Winslow, though I would prefer all three so I could make it a really bitchin reality show. #2 There are very few things I wouldnt do for money, and quite a few things I would do for free, but nobody would hire me to clean after them, or do whatever it is they do, so the question is moot. Nice coat of arms though.
Oh, Fes, I'm so shocked. Your valet wears PANTIES?!?!?!?!?
No, but he'll admit to wearing them if it'll get his boss out of trouble. Blind loyalty is so hard to find nowadays (except when it's towards politicians).
My valet can wear any damn undergarment, frilly or otherwise, that he pleases so long as his blind loyalty remains intact :) Alnedra's right - loyalty is difficult to find these days, although I would venture that *blind* loyalty is not necessarily the paradigm. Loyalty is a transaction, like respect; I am loyal to my boss: NOT because he is my boss, or because he pays me, or because he demands loyalty, but because we have negotiated that loyalty over time. I have served him well and not embarassed him with fuckups or public boorishness; he in turn blesses me with perquisites, indulges my eccentricities, and protects me from the predations of other bosses who would steal my time, sap my energies, or exercise grudges. When I have fucked up, he redirects the ire of other bosses and/or aggreived parties away from me; when he needs a scapegoat, I will take the hit with aplomb. When he's in the public eye, I see to it that his engagements and activities proceed smoothly, ensure that his laptop is fully charged, see to it he has a pen that works, stand near enough to be dispatched if needed but not so near as to crowd his spotlight; he in turn turns a blind eye to my expense account chicanery, forgives my morning hangover-breath, bestows upon me excess swag for redistribution. Loyalty is a transaction built over time.
I very much liked the above, my friend; excellent, cogent, bittersweet writing.
I would hire help in a minute if I could afford it. I'd have a posse like MC Hammer and would be totally unrepentant about it. However, I would make sure that the help was well compensated for their efforts. As far as being help, you'd have to lobotomize me first.
...depends on where you live, but for about $25 USD/weekly in Massachusetts I can have somebody clean my house. If you live overseas, labor is SUBSTANTIALLY less expensive. No idea what house-help costs out West...