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In Nineteenth Century Britain, it was the fashionable thing among the wealthy for “Lady’s Maids” (personal maid who assisted a woman) to be French. The craze was such that some who could not find the genuine article instead hired English maids who spoke some French and gave them French names. Because they traveled with and attended their employers in public and before company, personal appearance was highly prized in a lady’s maid and attractive young women entering service had a better chance of nabbing this position than their more homely colleagues. This quality, combined with the intimate access to the boudoir, undergarments, and confidences of the mistress their position required, gave a lady’s maid such sexual allure. Our model is Soni Benson.
French lady’s maids added exoticism, alien cultural values, and often an immigrants uninhibitedness and social climbing to the mix. As a consequence, the attractive, amorous, scheming French Maid became a stock character in fiction, both high and low, and remains so today.
The character is usually depicted in some variant of a formal evening serving outfit as would be worn by female domestics at upscale Anglo-American dinner parties at the turn of the 20th century. In fiction, the tuxedo-like black silk or satin dress with white trim is often displayed with hems much higher and necklines much lower than would have been tolerated on actual lady’s maids of the day.
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The French Maid | Featuring: Soni Benson