I Want a Handsome Butler

I’ve been thinking very hard about my priorities, and have finally come to the conclusion that what I really, really want is a handsome butler.

Not a Roomba — a friend was recently extolling the virtues of her robotic vacuum cleaner and how it cleans the floor while she’s out, but I was already shaking my head. Robotic vacuum cleaners would merely suck up pieces of Lego that my children can’t live without, like the One Ring which came with the Hobbit set. No, as I know only too sadly from personal experience crawling around on the floor, what’s needed is a sentient intelligence which can instantly sort out the rubbish from “my precioussss”.

I’m not looking for emotional attachment, as I’m already quite attached to my husband — just level-headed, pleasant professionalism. Someone who can cook expertly, sew on missing buttons the proper way with a button shank, and iron my clothes until they’re devastatingly crisp. Other duties would be to chauffeur me around, remind me discreetly of appointments, and address me as “Milady”. On top of that, I’m expecting some serious eye candy.

As you can see, I’ve clearly spent too much time thinking about this. About as much time as I used to spend on idle questions such as “which superpower would you prefer to have?” (by the way, if you ask anyone this question, they will tell you right away, as though they too have been mulling over flying vs. invisibility for decades). This shift from superpowers to super-butler probably has a lot to do with age and, unfortunately, responsibilities.

Of course, I could do what I normally do and let things slide. I’ve already fallen far, far below S.E. Asian standards as my sister discovered to her horror, when she visited and found that I no longer iron my t-shirts. And since I work from home, I told her cheerfully that I only wear yoga clothes and sweat pants because “it helps me concentrate” (an absolute lie).

GeorgeHuStill, I have to admit that when we went out together, I couldn’t help admiring her cute outfit accessorized with dainty sandals. She looked adorable. I looked like…well, at least I was comfortable. And that’s precisely why I need a butler. I don’t want to continue this sloppy lifestyle! To do so however, you definitely need some kind of household help. The sort that’s struck a chord with the 50 million other fans of Downton Abbey, although nobody seems to have daydreams about being a scullion at Downton despite the historic odds being higher.

For 99.99% of human history, it has actually been physically impossible for one person to get all the housework done by themselves. If you look at the evidence, even poor people hired servants part-time, or if they couldn’t afford to, certainly didn’t have a “house” of their own to maintain. Group living, with all its attendant joys and horrors, was the norm along with back-breaking chores like washing clothes and hauling water.

“So how did the ancient Romans manage?” my 7 year old asked.

“They had slaves!” I answered. Wealthy Romans even had body slaves — people whose sole purpose was to trot alongside their masters, scrub their backs, dress them, and carry them around in litters.

Now I am totally against slavery, especially since I’m forced to act as a personal body slave to 2 small children most of the time. But I don’t see anything wrong in hiring a professional to help out. The only problem is the fees, plus the fact that most butlers were old and “uncle”-like because they had to train for years. At this rate, I’m just as likely to get a handsome butler as I am to fly. But it doesn’t mean I won’t think about it…a lot.

JapaneseTeaCakeBook Suggestion:

  • The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Snack Suggestion:

  • Anything not made by you, served on a beautiful tray with a sprig of green.

Photo 1: Clive Owen in Gosford Park, Premiere Magazine 12/8. Actually, I think he was a valet, not a butler. Photo 2: George Hu as “Hayate, the Combat Butler”. Photo 3: http://deens-japan.com

Would you rather fly, be invisible, or have a handsome butler?

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153 responses to “I Want a Handsome Butler”

  1. I watched a programme earlier in the year about the hierarchy of “downstairs” – my interest having been piqued by avidly following Downton Abbey – and concluded that what I need is a maid-of-all-trades. I haven’t figured out the practicalities of housing such hired help though, especially the vexing issue of the servants’ staircase. However, I was fascinated to discover evidence of an old bell ringing system in the cellar of my house! So if I can find the money to restore the servants’ quarters in my cellar and pay for a maid-of-all-trades, I may be part way towards this vision you have. Still, it doesn’t come close to a handsome butler!

  2. so many important questions to address. well, i’d say yes to a handsome butler however that picture looks like a handsome butler’s 13-year-old son, which would make me calling him eye candy a little inappropriate as well as uncomfortable on my part. that said, i’m still in favor of the butler idea. on to super powers. well, i think the invisibility thing has quite an appeal when you’re younger–so you can go see what boys are saying about you…and find out they’re not saying anything, unfortunately. the flying one is always cool and you can sort of be invisible because most people don’t look up…that much.

    there’s actually a korean drama (and no i didn’t see (all of) it) called “manny” about a handsome-ish nanny. who, of course, falls for the single mom.

  3. Yes, I have to agree that George Hu looks a little…young. Sigh – unfortunately he’s the only other “butler” picture I could find (besides Clive Owen, who made the cover for this post). George Hu is apparently playing the lead in “Hayate, the Combat Butler” along with Park Shin Hye.

  4. This is one of my favorite posts of yours – had me laughing out loud. And totally made my day yesterday when I read it (sadly, I had to break it up and read the last paragraphs today BECAUSE I HAD TO DO DISHES BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A BUTLER!) xox

    • So glad you liked it 🙂 Once you’ve realized the lack of a butler in your life, it’s like a huge gaping hole that can only be (temporarily) filled by eating chocolate…

  5. As I have a butler like friend who won’t let me near the kitchen, I have to say I’d go for a maid – the french maid type. I don’t care if she speaks french particularly either, though I prefer she look the part. Maybe I could get the invisibility cloak too. I could watch over the maids work to carefully see if she was doing a good job, without bothering her. On the other hand being invisible could be less satisfying. I could use it at church, though, sometimes. I’d love to shut my eyes sometimes without disconcerting the pastor; maybe just plain snooze…

  6. Well, if it is any consolation, I’ve *never* ironed a T-shirt, and I can count with one hand the times I actually ironed anything in my life 🙂 Luckily John doesn’t mind that much (or as least I hope so).

    The key is not to buy clothes that need ironing – you know, those *stylishly* wrinkled shirts, they are for me 🙂

  7. Invisibility is only useful if you’re given to skulking around and such things, and flying would mess up my ponytail. (I despise wispies.) Therefore, I have to agree that a handsome butler wins, hands down.

    And incidentally, my super-power is making Excel spreadsheets.

  8. This made for very interesting reading. Will certainly get the book. A Butler……handsome too………….HhhhhhmmmMmmmm

  9. When you figure out where and how to get yourself a handsome butler and a super power please let me know…… as I’d simply love to have both…….. oh heck….. I’m not fussy……I’d even settle for a handsome butler with a super power…….. 🙂

  10. But I’m worried about an infinite regress here. Your butler also needs to have devastatingly crisp attire (this is part of the whole “eye candy” bit), which would seem to necessitate your butler’s having a butler to keep his shirts tidy, and that butler would need a butler, and so on.

    The whole thing is just depressing. Society is just a Ponzi scheme.

    • Hmm, I think the butler doesn’t have to be too crispy, just tidy-ish. At this point I’ll take any household help I can get, including some guy in overalls as long as he knows how to clean grout…

  11. Pity about the eye candy requirement. I got my butler from “Igors Are We” and am very satisfied. You could shave with the crease in my jeans. I have to blunt my trousers, else I commit mass murder when entering a crowded elevator. I don’t want to talk about how sharp my underwear are.

    • I think you’re already ahead of the curve by snagging a butler/lab assistant at the same time! Clearly, having sharp underwear keeps you on your toes 😉

  12. I also think about having one. Every now and then my partner helps out around the house and during those times I like to imagine he’s my handsome butler. A dream which is most often cut short when he spontaneously returns to computer games. Still, it leaves a bit of hope.

    Great post!

    • From your comment, I have inferred that you have a handsome computer gamer — a valuable commodity! Perhaps you can barter his MMORPG gold farming skills for real world cleaning? 😉

  13. Handsome butler, most definitely. Although I’d want to have a superpower too. Mine (and I have spent more time than I should admit thinking about this) would be to speak every language ever used. That or be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want and never gain weight.

  14. Butler? Absolutely. But since I’m a guy mine needs to be an attractive woman. (hey if you can be shallow so can I, right?)
    First I need to live in a real home again though, instead of living my nomadic lifestyle. One thing at a time.

    • Hmm… then perhaps an attractive Mongolian guide? I actually met someone who met his wife this way. He was a photographer traveling in Mongolia and his car broke down. She was sent over, riding a horse and leading another one…lovely story. If it ever comes true for you, please update us!

  15. could I have a hot handsome butler – food for the mind, body, soul and ‘eye’. I feel my muscles relax even at the distant possibilities of existence of one…
    so well described, could relate to the innate desire for one – hope you find one (and i hope the same for me too 😛 )
    congrats on being fp!

  16. How funny! As I looked at my tiled floor, I was wishing I had the funds to hire a person to cater to my daily routine! A handsome butler with a great physique would be awesome as the post above states … ‘food for the mind, body, soul and ‘eye’…’ jejejeje!!!

  17. What if your super power was that all work and chores would be completed each time you blink? Then you could have a butler and he’d have plenty of free time to focus on body slave duties, IFYOUKNOWWHATIMEAN. Wink, wink, sharp nudge in the ribcage.

  18. “I’m not looking for emotional attachment”, which makes sense from distance, but I’m not quite sure the level of dedication sought can be achieved without emotional attachment.

    In today’s society, it would be difficult to find someone skillful, physical endowed, and wishing to live a servile life. We have enough automation in our lives to manage a small house on our own, and so societal desire for servants has fallen over the past century in favor of more individualized success. Essentially, most people living as a butler or maid would want out of such a lifestyle if possible in order to pursue their own interests.

    If serving his lady became the butler’s interest though, that could yield the situation you detail. Without strong emotional attachment though and essentially integrating the butler into the family as an honorary member, it’s hard to believe any butler would choose to make a life out service.

    I think the boundary between a butler fantasy and a butler reality is much thinner than believed, though still substantial. Obviously, a person would need money, because they’re probably supporting said butler and putting him through school and college. On top of this, said person must be a hard worker, ethical, and trustworthy; qualities becoming rarer by the day. Finally, the butler would have to become emotionally attached to the family and the family to him.

    I wouldn’t suggest giving up on that butler dream just yet, because it might be more feasible than you initially thought, just so long as you’re open to developing a non-romantic relationship with said butler.

  19. Just by reading the title of this post, a Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel came to mind. Cute post.
    I think as much as we might think we need this type of ‘help,’ having it on call 24 hours is just creepy. Don’t you think?

  20. You need to get the kids better trained. There’s plenty of chores you can trick the kids into doing by making them think that they’re being grown up.
    Just to be unnecessarily pedantic, it sounds like you want a valet not a butler. Butlers are a kind of boss of the other servants in a big house. But if you are planning on having lots of servants, you’re going to need a butler to keep them in line.

    • Lol! @get the kids better trained..But you’re spot on about the chores for kids..Don’t even have to trick them; chores are an awesome way to teach team-work. I had 3 sons that I co-raised..my exhusband & I didn’t have to do dishes for years & years . Now that the boys are all grown & off to college? A butler sounds like just what “momma” needs..Novelty wise it would be yummy for a minute! Not sure I’d call him butler though; how about my do-whatever-I-want-him-2-do-whenever-I-want-him-to-do-it-for-as-long-as-I-want-it man? Or are those still called husbands?

  21. This absolutely made me smile. I, personally, would love a butler. My house is a mess seeing as there are only about 16 hours of usable time during the day. But for me, handsome is not a priority. He does, however, need to have a voice like Liam Neeson and be able to cook spanikopita like a boss!

  22. This is fantastic! I love your Lord of the Rings reference, I can totally relate 🙂 However, I don’t know whether I’d prefer a good looking butler over someone like Alfred from Batman..wise, caring and could potentially turn you into a superhero 😉

  23. I was just having this conversation with my fb friend. He said he wanted a handsome pool boy and I said or a roomba and he scoffed that they aren’t very nice to look at. Funny how moments later this article pops up in my reader 😉

    • If I can’t get a butler, the super power I would want is bi-location (can you tell I ‘m Catholic?) Maybe then I could do the laundry and get my grocery shopping done at the same time!

      • Good point – though you’ll lose the excuse of telling your children “What? do you think I can be in 2 places at the same time?!” 😉

  24. Defenatly a buttler, and he does not have to be handsome! I would prefer an older man of gentleman posture, anything goes tho, cause would’ve been bought allready first time someone would address me as a Lady.
    I enjoyed reading your post and congratulations on being freshly pressed! 🙂

  25. I’d like a handsome cook. ‘Otto! Lobster salad tonight. With some of that nice mango mousse you made last week. Go easy on the watercress though. There’s such a thing as too peppery.’

  26. A great post – very funny to read since I’ve just finished watching some butler Jdrama. 🙂 They fight for you (valiantly), cook your favorite meals and pick out your outfits. Of course, I want the perk that always comes with a personal butler – sudden cash and elevation in status! lol

  27. I agree, it is essential for a butler to be handsome – it’s part of the status symbol of having one. And always a good idea to have minions. I am a minion to 4 children, a dog and 2 cats, oh yes and a husband, or could he perhaps become my butler?

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