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3 common myths about what a butler does

There are so many images of the stereotypical butler that it can be hard to know what to expect when you actually hire one. For many, the image of a butler is connected more to pop culture than experience: Jeeves, Mr. Carson from "Downton Abbey" and Bruce Wayne's Alfred have all come to embody the common idea of the what this role represents.

While the position is more flexible these days than in the past, homeowners need to realize the difference between titles in domestic services. That means dispelling a few of the more common myths surrounding the butler:

  • Butlers are going out of style: Not long ago, CNN wrote about the "butler boom" in China. Already an international institution, butlers are reportedly extremely popular in that country, as the wealthy embrace new domestic service models.
  • Butlers do everything themselves: Though a butler can certainly be the main point of contact between the head of the house and the staff, they aren't usually the only person doing all the tasks. Instead, they manage the other members and can help hire new employees as needed. Traditionally, the more personal tasks are given to a valet, personal assistant or houseman. A butler can take on more tasks depending on the size of the household, but it isn't always the case.
  • Only men can be butlers: There's no denying that butlers have usually been presumed to be male for most of history. However, this is changing, and the International Butler Academy states that female butlers are more present in different cultures around the world. In some countries, high-ranking women prefer to be waited on by female servants.

To find a great butler for hire, residents can use a staffing agency that has access to the best talent.