Monday, October 3, 2011

Man Made

Many people have them here. Ours came with the house. An obligation of sorts and an unnecessary one as far as I was concerned. Most days I wish I didn't have one. Not that I don't appreciate what I have. But these days, I find myself dreaming about the solitude and privacy I long for, but that I will never have as long as I have a maid.

I know, I know, you're like she has a maid and she's complaining? That bitch! Trust me, I know how it sounds snobby, pretentious, entitled and The Real Housewives of Rabat-ish. And I'm not complaining, so much as explaining how weird it is to have someone else in your home that you pay to do all the things you normally do. And this isn't even something I chose to do. It's an expectation here. I am very capable of cleaning my house. Not that I would clean it because I'm lazy. But, personally, I'm perfectly content with filthy disarray. And, I have 4 kids who I prefer, clean up their own damn messes. While I assure you I won't clean up their crap, it's extremely hard to explain to someone you pay to clean up why you don't actually want them to. This is even more confusing because my maid and I don't speak the same language. Not any language. Except charades. Which technically, isn't a language.



These are the working women on the street corner in Rabat. No. Not that kind of working woman. No, they are maids in waiting. You can find them every day of the week in Agdal sandwiched between the gym where I take belly dance classes and the pork lady. They are waiting for work. The best work for a maid is with foreigners who pay almost double what Moroccans do. (That is just what I heard and I can't actually vouch that that is accurate.) But, I do know these women will work for a day or a week. Or anytime, so much as it's work to feed their family. And while you'll find Moroccan women sitting on the curb, you'll see far more Moroccan men sitting in cafes. See, it's Moroccan women who bring in the bacon lamb here.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the most important thing about my maid. He's a man, baby! Yes, in a very male dominant, dare I say, machismo culture, I have a man washing my dishes. Is this common you ask? Hell no! I don't know anyone else who has a man-maid, except the woman I share him with. Which makes it a very polyandrous kinda relationship. But all three of us are fine with that. She has him Tuesdays and Thursdays and he chops her veggies and walks her dog. I have him Monday, Wednesday and Friday and he cleans my toilets and I try to get him NOT to pick up the legos that the boys left all over the floor. (This is a bigger challenge than it may seem and there are lots of charades involved...)

So, when my friend was looking for a place to have exercise class twice a week, I volunteered my house. And as the ladies gathered at my house in their shorts and tank tops ready for dance class I remembered that I forgot to charade Mohammed, that the house has now become the new Slim and Tone of the Embassy circuit. Oh crap! Would this humble man and father of 5, be timid and embarrassed to see such a brazen display of scantily clad (by Moroccan standards, anyway) women? So while a room full of women moved like Jagger, he took his mop and bucket upstairs and that man made the biggest smile of his life. Being a man maid has its benefits.

11 comments:

Sine said...

Hi Marie, let me just say that you made my day! Found your blog via expat blog (just filled out the interview questionnaire as well and laughed out loud at yours!) and I'm riveted by your writing. I love your style. I think you might be something of a clone of me in the kid department (four kids as well and they seem to resemble yours quite a bit, what with storming out because the birthday will be during family travels, etc.) and I could not agree more on the maid situation. You feel crappy to "complain" when you have someone doing all this work for you, but it's never as easy as that. I had the same dilemma with the overzealous maid wanting the kids rooms spic and span all the time until the kids more or less rebelled... Though I can't say I can compete with the male maid:-)

Looking forward to reading more of your adventures. And yes, you already are a writer, and a very good one at that, so no need to feel defeated although I agree it would be a hell of a lot better to have someone PAY you for all that writing...

Lucylastica2 said...

Sounds like that man is your match 'maid' in heaven!

Joy Page Manuel said...

This was such a fun post to read Marie, and one that felt (sounded) quite familiar. In the Philippines, it's quite the same (at least among upper and middle class families). You have maids and nannies living with you and for the uber rich, you have a cook, an iron lady and often times the same lady that's in charge of washing clothes, the house cleaner, the gardener and of course a driver. Growing up, we had a maid but found that we weren't very lucky with them as they kept stealing from us. At some point, Mom gave up and decided we were done. So by my teenage years (and even a bit earlier), we no longer had one and as you had suggested, everything was still fine. We grew up learning to do things for ourselves which I think became an advantage later on.

I can imagine your sense of discomfort since you are used to doing things yourself and I bet you also want to teach your kids the same. However, it's also great that you are helping others make a living. I am sure you have found a balance somehow!

It is interesting though that yours is male and I agree that he must've been a VERY happy man that day! ;-))

Janine said...

I love it - I learn something knew every time I come to your blog!

TexaGermaNadian said...

Very interesting, I did not realize you were so privileged ;) just kidding. But that is weird how it is so standard there. And I would totally watch the Real Housewives of Rabat!

Adriene Joyce (a.k.a Sweepy Jean) said...

I supposed equal rights (a man maid) works both ways!

MuMuGB said...

Well, life in London is lightly different and I would have to pay a fortune to have a maid. Not to mention the fact that London houses are really small so the maid would be finished after an hour!
Anyway, I was wondering how you manage to communicate with your maid if you don't speak the same language?

The Loerzels said...

@Sine-Thank you for the compliments. I really needed that today.
@Lucy-Love it!
@Joy-You're livng proof my kids will not be scared for life by having a maid.
@Janine-Rock The Kasbah, the new news magazine. (I wish.)
@Texa-I'm a total bitch in real life.
@Adriene-Equal rights all the way baby!
@Muriel-I have come to realize everything is expensive in London. It was a hard lesson to learn and the subject of my next post...

Lalia said...

Honey you are living the dream! I long for the day when a man will clean my toilets lol

Patty said...

Just hopped over from The Lightning and the Lightning Bug and loved reading your blog!

This...made me stop dead in my tracks..."the kids could do a science project on dental hygeine in the UK. OMG...so very true! My father was a Brit and, well, I could have done my own science project in school. Too funny!

Congrats on Writer of the Week!

The Loerzels said...

Wow...I've been gone for a few days and I get writer of the week somewhere and miss it?

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