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They don't dance, take their clothes off or gyrate. Compare them to strippers, and they might take offense.
These guys are gentlemen. Polite, reserved, eager to please.
Oh, and they don't wear pants.
Meet Butlers in the Buff, sexy guys available by the hour for cocktail parties and other special occasions. They'll open doors, serve drinks and cozy up to guests — all while wearing just a bow tie, collar, cuffs and an apron with whatever God gave you underneath.
"It's a good job," says Alexandra Jones, who owns the Florida franchise of the United Kingdom-based male order company. "They get paid to be adored by women.''
Five perfectly tanned butlers attended a recent girls' night out party for the chick flick, Bridesmaids. They served Bridetinis and sushi at The Rack in Tampa and posed for red carpet photos at Channelside Cinemas.
"I really can't call this work,'' said Steve Goux, a 25-year-old butler who works at a restaurant in Sarasota. "It's the same as serving — you wait on people, you talk to people — you're just wearing less.''
The guys bare their bottoms at private parties but, for sanitary reasons, wear boxer briefs at restaurants and other public venues. The effect isn't quite the same but pretty close: scantily clad hunks acting all mannerly and nice.
At their first Tampa appearance, the butlers turned heads at Channelside Bay Plaza as they led a line of 100 women in short dresses and high heels to the theater. "What in the world?'' yelled the singer playing in the courtyard. A security guard worked his whistle, demanding to see the person in charge of the shirtless men in underwear.
Inside the calm theater, the butlers posed for photos and helped ladies in pink tiaras redeem drink tickets at the bar. Women teased them about posting their pictures on Facebook.
"They were hot and sweaty,'' gushed Allison Edelman, who got a picture of the butlers holding her horizontally. "They are adorable and I love their uniforms.''
The butlers don't dish on their beauty secrets, except to say they are quite familiar with manscaping. No chest and back hair, gnarly toes or dirty finger nails.
Jones interviews each butler for looks and personality. Obviously, they have to be handsome and physically fit. (Six-pack abs are highly encouraged.) But they also have to be chatty and charming.
"What we don't want is someone who is more interested in looking in the mirror, and we don't want someone who thinks they are doing the women a favor,'' she said. "We need the perfect man, really.''
Jones, 32, moved to Bradenton from Birmingham, England, two years ago with her husband and two young children. She had hired the butlers for her friend's bachelorette party in England and was surprised to discover they didn't have something like it in the United States.
"It's either strippers or nothing,'' she said in her very butler-appropriate English accent. "And women really don't like strippers.''
Jones has 40 butlers available statewide, starting at $100 an hour for a minimum of two hours, plus travel.
Most are like Rob Booth, a 30-year-old electrical contractor from Clearwater, seeking to moonlight. He's single, friendly and comfortable in an apron. He didn't fuss (too much) when a male photographer took a picture of a Hottest Buns sticker on his butt.
Women generally find the scenery a pleasant addition to the party.
"They are cute, nice and polite and help everyone have a good time,'' said Toni Acosta who came to The Rack with her friends for a bachelorette party.
Snapping a photo with a butler, Dee Bennett said she would take these guys over strippers any day. "They aren't cheesy at all.''
Article By Susan Thurston, St.Petersburg Times Staff Writer In Print: Friday, June 3, 2011
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