Phases. All teenagers go through phases, right? Weird little obsessions in their childhood or teenage years that they’re either ashamed of or think of somewhat fondly. Some phases, people never outgrow though, and asking around, the most common ones seem to be love for emo bands or some kind of animal, which yeah, I can relate to as well.
However, one phase that I still haven’t outgrown? That has actually had major influence on me as a person and continues to influence me today?
My desire to attend the International Butler Academy.
It is not so much that I want to be a butler so much as the plain fact that I want to learn a lot of the skills a butler is expected to have: household affairs, etiquette, event planning, silverware maintenance, all such things that give the sense of sophistication.
Sometimes I purchase and read books by butlers, who have such a fascinating viewpoint on service, luxury, and etiquette; my most recent purchase is The Butler Speaks: A Guide to Stylish Entertaining, Etiquette, and the Art of Good Housekeeping by Charles MacPherson.
Quite a few of my interests and lifestyle choices have been influenced by my fascination with the role and work of butlers. I have memorized the proper tea-brewing temperatures for different kinds of tea, pairings for wines with foods, along with the proper glasses for different drinks (despite not really drinking wine myself), how to properly store fine plates and silverware (despite not owning any), and different table-setting styles from different cultures.
This is not a new interest of mine either. I recall that when I was a child, I had some book about a princess’ guide to manners, based off the Princess Diaries series, and that was my first brush with etiquette. It taught me the proper titles and references for different nobility, as well as the appropriate way to write a thank you card. It taught me the importance of good posture – which they framed as a thing a princess ought to do, but it’s the same for butlers!
If I had the time and money, I would attend the International Butler Academy in a heartbeat. Even if I did complete the course, however, I don’t think I would want to serve a household or anything like that. I think that there is a part of me that just feels like the skills one learns to become a butler has power in them – they are skills that help you elevate others.
Elevate a house. Elevate an atmosphere. Elevate a mood. Elevate a whole person.
The skillset of a butler is one designed to help bring out the best, or more than the best, out of a set of existing circumstances, and there’s something incredibly empowering in that. In addition, there’s the knowledge that should ever there be a need, you know exactly how to make someone feel special, cared for, and important. There’s power in that too, the ability to influence how another feels.
One does not even have to have fancy plates and glaces or enjoy wine and tea to know the skills and adapt them to their own lifestyle. If anything, the hallmarks of a proper butler seems to boil down to two things: professionalism and adaptability. Quite honestly, I don’t think there is a downside, for anyone, in picking up a few butlers’ skills.