Showing posts from August 26, 2012

Neighbors, Lovers, & Other Little Scandals: Upstairs/Downstairs for Today

Nanny, butler, maid, footman, valet, housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, gardener, au pair, aide... the titles may change over time, but the duties for those who toil away in the households of the rich and privileged remain much the same. And, though we might euphemistically lump them together under the more-palatable “domestic workers” (in our must-above-all-else-be-P.C. world), the truth is they’re still servants, whose jobs involve waiting on others positioned higher up the social ladder.
No one is apt to think there’s much equality between the two groups--particularly not the “haves” (those who have more of everything, whether money, status, or power) nor their household staffs (employed to do the menial work). The domestic hires have at their disposal one (potentially) very useful tool, however: knowledge, of all the little habits, eccentricities, and secrets of their employers (and something which the employers are probably mostly unawares they possess).
What might someone do with such …