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10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Butlers

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10 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Butlers

When rich people get past a certain level of wealth, they just stop doing things for themselves. Why cook, clean or even drive when you can pay someone else to do it for you? And for the really wealthy people with huge mansions and estates, these helpers and supporting staff start to add up. But thankfully, there are people called “Butlers” who are trained to oversee, manage and handle all the house affairs of the super-rich. It’s a tasking job, but someone has to do it. Below, we’ve compiled 10 things you didn’t know about Butlers.

Origin of the Word “Butler”:

Male Butlers

The word butler comes from an old French word bouteillier meaning the person who is the main cup bearer, and the one who pretty much looks after and oversees the bottles of a house. There are also roots of the word that can be traced back to medieval Latin and the word buttis, which means a wooden cask containing liquid. Over the centuries, the word evolved and has become what we know it as today.

Earliest Known Butlers:

cup-bearer_Louvre_

It is quite interesting to find out that butlers or cup-bearers have been around since biblical times. In the book of Genesis in the Old Testament of the Bible, there is mention of Joseph deciphering a dream for the Pharaoah’s shaqah (which literally refers to “cup-bearer”). So even way back then, in households of high privilege, there were already butlers in charge to make sure everything ran orderly and efficiently.

It’s Mostly A Man’s Job:

Job opportunities

According to the International Guild of professional butlers, there are probably a few million butlers operating in different households around the world today. And for the most part, these butlers are predominantly men. The reason for this is most likely the continuing tradition of cup bearers who had to be strict & stern and at times move heavy wooden casks. There are however a healthy number of female butlers around, and they are increasing year by year.

 Duties of a Modern Butler:

Butler duties

The present job description of a modern butler is quite expansive. This is to be expected, because there are a lot of chores and requirements when it comes to managing even the minutest details of a large and wealthy estate. This includes: overseeing the housekeeping staff (maids, cooks, grounds men), being a concierge, a valet, accountant of household expenses, wine cellar manager, party host and organizer and sometimes even just a loyal friend to the boss. So unless you have an innate ability for handling several tasking duties simultaneously, this is not the job for you.

 Salaries for Butlers:

Butler-salaries

Well after reading how much a modern butler is expected to do for his job, it would be a shame to find out that they didn’t get compensated well for their troubles. Most butlers work about 60 hours a week, and it’s one of those jobs you can never turn off. Even when you’re not there, your mind has to be on all the things that are constantly in motion. The salary range for butlers can range from $50,000 to $150,000 and even more depending on the particular client. There are times when Butlers are in-charge of more than one household, so the salary for such arrangements would be markedly higher.

Popular ‘Real Life” Butlers:

The Photo Album of Eugene Allen, Butler at the White House.

When you discuss real life butlers, the one that is most likely to be mentioned is Eugene Allen. He is the actual character the 2013 movie The Butler directed by Lee Daniels was based on.  The respected Mr. Allen (seen above with President Reagan)  served eight different presidents during his long tenure at the White House. During that time, he also served huge stars like Sammy Davis Jr. Duke Ellington and Elvis Presley.  In present times, one of the most popular butlers in pop culture is Fonzworth Bentley. He served as Puff Daddy’s personal butler and he was also host of the MTV show: “From G’s to Gents.”

 Popular Fictional Butlers:

Geoffrey

There have been some very popular butlers on television. There’s just something so interesting about a professional whose job is to be at the beck and call of the wealthy. Some of the funniest sitcoms have featured some really hilarious butlers – of course, you can’t forget Geoffrey the Butler from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and then there was Niles, the snooty butler on the long-running Fran Drescher show The Nanny. When it comes to the big screen, one of the most memorable Butler performances is Michael Caine as Alfred in the recent Batman movies by director Chris Nolan.

 How To Become a World-Class Butler:

Becoming a Butler

Hands down, if you truly want to choose the career path of becoming a butler then the place to go is the International Butler Academy in the Netherlands. It is located in Kasteel Oost (which means Castle of the East) in the historical city of Valkenburg aan de Geul in the southern region of Holland. It’s a truly superb and scenic location, and while you’re on the beautiful grounds, you’ll learn all the skills and techniques needed to be the best butler you can be.

 Current Job Market for Butlers:

Butlers - earning

Even though we hear stories all the time about how shaky the global economy is, the truth is there are more wealthy families in existence than ever before in humanity’s history. Especially in emerging markets like Brazil, India and China, there are many new millionaires who have sprouted in the last 5-8 years. Wherever there are rich people, you can bet your bottom dollar that the services of butlers are needed. So in actuality, the job market for butlers has never been better!

Best Butler Joke You’ve Never Heard:

Butler joke

Well it’s only right that we end this piece with a brilliant piece of butler humor. Here it is below:

A rich couple was going out for the evening. The lady of the house decided to give the butler, Throckmorton, the night off.

She said they would be home very late and he should just enjoy his evening.

As it turned out, the wife didn’t have a good time at the party, so she came home early. She walked into the house and eyed Throckmorton sitting alone in the dining room. She called for him to follow her. She led him to the master bedroom. She closed and locked the door. She looked at him and smiled.

“Throckmorton. Take off my dress.” He did so, carefully.

“Throckmorton. Take off my stockings and garter.” He silently obeyed her.

“Throckmorton. Remove my bra and panties.” The tension mounted as he complied.

Finally she looked at him and said, “Throckmorton. If I ever catch you wearing my clothes again, you’re fired.”

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