I Run A Domestic Agency That Hires Men
Hello lovely people of this site. My name is Angela and I have run a domestic agency called Daisy Maids for just over 40 years now.
I left school when I was 18 and wasn’t sure quite what to do with my life. I grew up in a lovely seaside town on the South Coast of England, very quaint, very Victorian and sleepy, but there wasn’t much in the way of employment outside the tourist/hotel industry, so most people I grew up with moved away sadly.
I didn’t want to move, but I didn’t want to just become a housewife either, so I decided to set up my own domestic agency – the hotels and guest houses in the town were always complaining about cleaners, housekeepers and chambermaids being untrustworthy, transient and low quality; this gave me a eureka moment when I decided to set up an agency of honest, professionally vetted, skilled staff. It wasn’t long before everyone signed us up, and from other areas as well – I couldn’t have been more pleased.
I couldn’t have imagined men approaching me for work in 1976, and to be honest, there is no way any business would have taken on men in that role at the time. But through the years, interest has snowballed. The first one I remember was in around 1982. The poor man had been made redundant and needed to make money very quickly in order to stop him losing his house, but no-one was interested, no matter how hard I pushed for him. It made me quite angry at the time, not only for what happened to him, but because it is always women that are expected to fill these roles. So, from that time on, I vowed to stand by my principles and have men work for me if they wanted, and the businesses would have to accept them or go somewhere else.
My first domestic was a young man called Adam who was a student that I employed in 1997. He told me he enjoyed cleaning, he told me that he saw it as a way to make some extra money and keep fit at the same time – he was bright, funny, intelligent and had a real eye for detail; again, not all of the businesses would accept him, but there was one Bed and Breakfast that liked the idea as they occasionally needed some heavy lifting.
After then, it was a slow trickle of men – it is strange how things can be reversed; some women came up to me and said they weren’t happy that men were taking their jobs! Some of my staff also insisted they wear the same overalls and tabard aprons, which I accepted as long as it was obviously worn over the trousers and not as a dress, and then they complained that men were known as domestics and women were known as maids, so everyone is now a maid, and are titled in that way – Maid Joan, Maid David, Maid Shelia, Maid Antonio etc. The other problem was the sexism of the hotels – some complained that they didn’t like male chambermaids because women would often have their underwear around, and people in private homes didn’t want them ironing their clothes or anything like that. But time teaches us many things, and they realize that having a male maid has its advantages – some of these properties have valuables, and they like having a man there as it adds another layer of security, others sometimes want a lot of moving or heavy lifting as I explained before, and then sometimes women actually prefer male domestics because they have had experiences of their partners having a “wandering eye” when it comes to female household staff!
One of my maids, Maid David, is an absolute darling – he is a househusband and a part-time cleaner for me. I remember asking him about other work at the interview and he told me “Oh no, my wife likes a hot bath, a clean house and a meal waiting for her when she comes in – she wouldn’t want me working full time!” – he is truly “female-led” and loves every minute of it.
I’m so pleased the world is changing, it heartens me to see men in these roles, it heartens me to see pictures of boys pushing toy, pink, vacuum cleaners in catalogues – it makes me wonder why women were always considered to be domestically-minded; a lot of this work involves a great deal of elbow grease and graft; men obviously have the edge on us strength wise, so why have they never been involved in it? I remember my Grandmother and Aunts, all big ladies with big arms through using the mangle for years upon years – most didn’t want muscles but had no choice in developing them.
Sincerest congratulations on this website, things like this makes my life easier! I would employ more men if there were more out there who didn’t feel self-conscious – one left after a few days because he received a lot of goading from other members of staff and holidaymakers; that’s so incredibly sad, he was such a lovely man too. Let’s hope the world keeps turning in our favor.