Friday, September 9, 2016

Would You Want This Job?

Dolley Madison, the nation's first First Lady.
If you were A-listed for a hostess job where you wouldn't have to (a) empty barf bags, (b) spray-starch your own apron, or (c) repeat “Welcome to Disneyland” ten thousand times a day, would you be interested? I would. And if I were in line for the nation's top hostess job, I would put my best foot forward and march.
   So where are Bill and Melania? Has anybody seen them lately, handing out leaflets on the campaign trail and giving hope to the masses? No way. Melania is busy raising Little Donald, and Bill is busy being Bill. Obviously, neither one wants to be our next FLOTUS, which kinda pisses me off. I mean, it's not some paltry little pooh-pooh job, and it comes with some nice perks. Such as:

* A floral designer, a social secretary, and an executive chef. (See "parties," below.)

* A beekeeper and 70,000 honeybees.

* Respectability.

* You get to write your own job description. The role of FLOTUS is what you make of it, meaning you can pretty much do what you want and nobody will fire you. Obviously, a cigar aficionado who plays the sax, or a skin-care specialist who speaks Serbian, would bring new qualifications to the job.

* You get to throw a lot of parties. Although there's no official job description, the First Lady is regarded as the nation's number-one hostess. Not an easy task in Washington's toxic environment but way more entertaining than Bingo Night at the senior center. You gain points for putting political rivals at ease, and you lose points if they stab each other with their dinner forks. Dolley Madison set the standard. She left her calling card all over the city, and her parties packed the White House with so many Washingtonians that young people began calling them “squeezes.”

On the downside:

President Taft. My husband
has a similar mustache.
* You get criticized a lot. Abigail Adams was almost pilloried for hanging her laundry in the East Room. Caroline Harrison was castigated for modernizing the White House plumbing. Martha Washington wrote to a niece that she was “more like a state prisoner than anything else” and that she would “much rather be at home.” Eliza Johnson spent most of her time at the White House upstairs in bed.

* You work your ass off 24/7 and you don't get paid. That's right: No salary. The idea, which goes back to Martha Washington, is that your husband will share his.
My husband, as it happens, is very good at dinner parties. A regular Dolley Madison. He's French, but that shouldn't be a problem. Jefferson Davis was one of his ancestors, Mark Twain was another, and his mustache, which flips up at the ends, makes him look a little like President Taft. Keep reading and you'll come to his All Finger Foods dinner menu in five courses. He also makes an excellent steak tartare.
xo Sadie

PS: Can we get over the fact that our future First Lady might be differently gendered? A lady plumber is still a plumber, not a plumbess, and a female Airman First Class is not an airwoman. If the title of First Lady was good enough for Eleanor Roosevelt, it is good enough for anybody.

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