ManServants: Money Can Buy Chivalry, Not Happiness


IF YOU’VE EVER stopped to think: “I could really use a man here to pour this champagne right now… not a boyfriend, not a butler, just something in between,” well, thank your fairy godmother, princess, because your houseboy-in-shining-armor has finally come along.

A San Francisco start-up recently debuted a service called ManServants, which provides its customers with exactly that: male servants. According to the startup’s website, a ManServant is just “like a man, but better.” Better than a man? Is that even possible? Since your man servant is hired to fulfill any and all of your desires (that are not sexual in nature — of course), he is crafted according to your preferences. This means you get to decide exactly what he looks like, exactly what kind of tasks he’ll complete for you, exactly what he wears — you even get to decide his name. Just like a pet!

Only human.

The ManServant’s official code of conduct requires him to:

  • address you as “my lady”
  • respond to your requests (read: commands) with “as you wish” a là Westley from The Princess Bride
  • rise to his feet every time you enter the room
  • always hold the door open for you
  • carry objects for you AKA hold your purse
  • pay you a compliment every 15 minutes
  • and keep his penis in his pants and out of your face (so considerate)

Standard services include your ManServant acting as a bodyguard, serving drinks, taking pictures, and cleaning up after you. And because you can never upgrade too much, paying an additional fee will turn your ManServant into a chauffeur, spa facilitator, or make him talk with an accent or even serenade you with a guitar.

Founders Josephine Wai Lin and Dalal Khajah have already begun beta testing after locking the concept down. They’re now looking to expand, so if you know a man that would be fit for the job, ManServant is currently hiring in San Francisco, although none of the following are welcome to apply: “douchebag, sexual offender, sexist, creeper, nutjob, weirdo, or convicted felon.” Looks like they’re taking vetting seriously. Based on reception, the company plans to export its services to Los Angeles and New York. The website has yet to disclose the prices they’ll charge for their services, but it does list the wages of the ManServants beginning at $80 an hour or $300 per day, so users can expect to pay that that plus whatever ManServants charges to make a profit.

Great, right? Apparently, you, too, can have your own personal hottie who’s chivalrous, musically inclined, polite, answers your every whim unfailingly and kicks a** when you need him to!

And all you have to do is pay what will probably amount to an arm and a leg for him.

The fact that this service exists and that actual interest in hiring a ManServant has already been expressed implies that old-school notions of chivalry and desirable male behavioral traits are still important, at least to some people. But are expectations of male behaviors like the ones listed in ManServants’ code of conduct, positive as they may be considered by the majority of people, compatible with ideas of gender equality? Can we say “no” to June Cleaver but still expect Sir Lancelot to come riding in on his white horse?

And what if the website was geared towards male consumers and offered female services, calling itself something like ChamberMaids instead?

While ManServants markets itself as a service for all occasions and purposes, we imagine it’ll find its niche in the bachelorette and birthday parties of the world. Which makes sense, since Khajah herself has said that “it’s kind of [their] dream to annihilate the male stripper industry.” And, if you’re going to have a party, you might as well pass on the rent-a-stripper and opt for a polished, debonair (also shirtless) fella telling you how gorgeous you look and handing out chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne to you, right? Honestly, having someone on hand who’s not going to roll their eyes at the amount of photos you and your ladies are going to be taking might be worth the cost alone.

With so many potential options sure to be made available, how is a girl to narrow down her ideal ManServant? Should you name him after Ryan Gosling, or snark it up by parading him around town answering to your ex’s name?

Just like your ManServant’s life, it’s all in your hands.

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