Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maid in Amersfoort

"I shouted:" Room Service! "After knocking gently and repeatedly at the door of the chamber 7. No answer. I put the key into the lock and I returned to my basket for maintenance. There was dead silence. The bed was not made and felt asleep. I opened the curtains. At this moment the door of the bathroom opened and a naked man a washcloth over the penis, has appeared.

"Hello!" me "he started. I was paralyzed, muttering some excuse." I hit, "I said, eyes directed down. He walked casually towards me. He smiled. "It does not matter, you do your job. I certainly hope that you have not been disappointed by the vision, "he added with a wink supported." For some reason, Rachel, a former maid in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, is suddenly out of anonymity.

His testimony about the life of the maintenance staff in hotels is even more evocative than what she says - and that seemed so far without much interest - seems awfully banal and universal. The Dutch had discovered the daily lot of the hotel workers only through the story of Arnon Grünberg, a writer who had been hired anonymously in a hotel in Bavaria, and had delivered a half-story picturesque , half-sad.

Sheets that we do not change every time, breakfasts faded and bins full of hair and shampoo bottles that staff invariably emptied into the trough of pigs called later to provide the famous ham Local. Even if the newspapers who published the novel-the story affublèrent suggestive illustrations (unmade beds or head Grünberg placed on the body of a maid so Octave Mirbeau) lacked a dimension to the story "essential" in which the protagonist's sexual identity was the dam: at no time did the hotel guests did him dishonest proposals ...

In the story of her life, she delivered the weekly Amsterdam HP / De Tijd, Rachel, said she had on several occasions narrowly escaped enterprising men. She was dismissed after one of them has the surprise full cleaning, grabbing him by the shoulders to whisper in his ear: "Do not worry, I'm here." Faced with another man in flannel, she is pulled away by a spin, arguing, before taking his legs to his neck, she had forgotten something in the hallway.

"I have not received training on" How to behave with customers ", says the woman. Her boss has only indicated that the dress code of the hotel was a blouse and pants, "not to create false ideas." She was 16 when, like many Dutch youth, she found a small job in addition to his studies. In Amersfoort, a town in the province of Utrecht, no temperamental artists, influential people or great leaders to treat with kid gloves.

Just sales representatives, some tourists attracted to the medieval city center and delegations from cultivating the memory of concentration camp Leusden nearby. Still: these usually anonymous visitors were quickly convinced Rachel that being maid is always "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," as she says.

She has also always preferred to be called "cleaner", a story to evacuate willingly fantasy vision of his profession. In any case, she quickly realized she would be subjected to the gaze of some particular men or questions about his alleged loneliness, which needed to correct course. She remembers her dismay at one of the first guests she crossed: shirt half open, he patted the coverlet of his hand and invited him to come and sit beside her to tell him life of a poor immigrant.

Because, of course, such a task could be accomplished by a young Dutch ... In his domestic manners of the Americans, the English novelist Frances Trollope told as there are nearly two hundred years, in large plantations, flogging and rape servants were part of the privileges of the masters.

Today, says the Dutch Beatrijs Ritsema, in this world that has changed quite a lot, the hotel is one of those places where parallel men, freed from the constraints of everyday life and have staff that can meet their needs vital not always see the maid as the epitome of femininity and intimacy between her physically a part of their life but can simultaneously be the object of their desire to dominate.

"You are painfully aware of being a woman when a client, perhaps far from home and missing, look at you with envy, says the young Rachel. In other circumstances, you would go in immediately because the currency the art is "Separate your personal life from your work." But how do you do when your job is to deal with someone's private affairs? " stroobants @ bbc.

en Jean-Pierre Stroobants Article published in the edition of 31.05.11

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