What a Girl Wants: A Manservant to Cater to Her Every Whim


A new ad for a gentleman-for-hire service in the UK launching in San Francisco — Manservants — imagines a bachelorette party where, instead of male strippers, the hired help are dudes who will take Instagram-ready pictures and pour champagne.

The company — which is entirely real — is not the only one of its kind. Here in New York there’s Rent A Gent, with the tagline “Better than sex!” The pitch:

A handsome gent is the perfect addition to your bachelorette party, birthday party, reunion, wedding, corporate event, date, or in your kitchen washing your dishes.

In addition, there’s another company called Butlers In The Buff, which will send a naked man to bartend or serve at your bachelorette, bridal or divorce party. There’s a strict no-touching policy, however: “Don’t let anyone harass the butlers, please,” reads the website. “An arm around the butlers when taking photos is acceptable. We want everyone at your party to have a great time!”

Gabriel Beltrone writes for AdWeek, finds it “silly” that the Manservants ad positions the service as anti-stripper:

It wraps its product in a thin critique of gender politics, as if the product it’s hawking is somehow more progressive than a naked faux-fireman, rather than just an alternate, more-reserved fantasy for sale, itself rooted in traditions of power and privilege. Regardless, to each her own.

But it seems to me the clarification is an important one: Hiring a manservant to cater to your every whim (or just serve drinks while looking hot) is not about what men think women want, or about women acting like men and objectifying men — it’s about the fantasy of being in control. The dream is not sex, it’s power. Besides, like True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello keeps saying, there’s no such thing as male objectification: “Someone put it to me once: Women are sex objects and men are success objects.” With these companies, women can feel powerful and successful. When a woman hires a guy to serve her — for once in her life, perhaps, she’s the boss. It’s not so much that the men are objects — they are subjects — intent on pleasing to their queen (or whomever is shelling out the cash). I guess what I’m saying is that I looked on the Rent A Gent website and I need at least two, ASAP.

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