Giving new meaning to maid's uniform

March 27, 1992|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff Writer

The cleaning lady never looked like this.

But then again, the cleaning lady never dressed like Holly Machulcz.

No grease-stained apron or dishpan hands for this maid: She does her dusting, vacuuming and dish washing in high-heeled pumps, sheer white stockings with garter belt, shockingly purple bikini panties and bra -- and a perfect manicure.

She's no "Hazel," and her employer, Beautiful Bodies Home Cleaning Ltd., is no ordinary housecleaning service.

For $50, a typical full-day rate for most housekeeping services, Beautiful Bodies will send a scantily clad maid to a private home for an hour of light housekeeping.

Within minutes of arriving at the Woodlawn split-level of Gil Derrenberger, a retired Baltimore police officer, Ms. Machulcz strips off her denim jumper to display her work clothes.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's just another cleaning outfit," says Mr. Derrenberger, 66.

He snaps a picture of the brunet with bold features and a physique that's obviously no stranger to the inside of a gym, as she pauses from dusting knick-knacks in the living room and smiles.

The self-employed bail bondsman doesn't object to paying a higher rate. And he insists he's at a loss to understand all the fuss over the skimpy attire.

"People make too much out of it," says Ms. Machulcz, a 31-year-old owner of a Highlandtown beauty salon. "It's an added feature for the service. I don't worry about talk because I know, myself, what's going on. You can't go through life worrying about what people say."

Beautiful Bodies founder Bill Brock, a former trucking company manager from Pasadena who had heard about similar maid services in Florida, calls the business a cleaning service "with a view." His business has no connection, he stresses, with topless versions such as the Los Angeles-based "Bust Dusters."

Since newspaper ads promising "Homes cleaned in lingerie" ran last week, Mr. Brock has logged more than 300 phone calls. His clients to date have been mainly suburban, male professionals in their 40s and 50s, many living in homes worth $200,000 and up.

A couple of guys hired a maid to clean their boss's home. A wife hired the service as a birthday gift for her husband. Some men have called back after using the service to request a maid "when they have money or the wife's out of town or the girlfriend is gone," Mr. Brock says.

His business, he says, is a cleaning service and nothing more; clients and maids sign contracts prohibiting offers of drugs, alcohol or sex for money.

"Some people can misinterpret this business," says the owner, who has turned down requests for bachelor parties and hookers. "I would not go in the business of selling sex."

On the job, the maids wear nylon stockings with garter belts, heels and the lingerie of their choice. They dust, vacuum, wash dishes and make beds, at $50 for one hour, $90 for two -- plus tips as high as $100. They don't do windows or floors. They'll scrub bathrooms only with prior approval from Mr. Brock.

"This is the '90s, the era of safe sex, and this is just a spinoff -- look

but don't touch," says Mr. Brock, a 33-year-old father of two. "Men want to see this."

The entrepreneur speculates that lots of women would like a cleaning service with a view, too. So he plans to hire men to clean homes wearing nothing but G-strings.

Still, that plan doesn't make his business any more palatable to women's rights groups.

"It's sad women feel they can't earn a wage without feeling they need to sell sex," says Laura Newman, president of the Baltimore chapter of the National Organization for Women. "This is one more indication of how women are viewed by society and don't have the proper respect for themselves as a result."

Mr. Brock brushes such comments aside, saying his own wife would be cleaning, "if she weren't four months pregnant."

Instead, Kathy Brock helped her husband screen the dozens of applicants who responded to their help-wanted ad. The couple spent three weekends interviewing 65 women, all of whom modeled lingerie. The Brocks ended up hiring six, including a nanny, a pet groomer, a security guard and a housewife.

Besides attractive figures, "we were looking for maturity, a great personalty -- bubbly, friendly, but knowing where to draw the line," Mr. Brock says. "I wasn't looking for women who wanted to go in there and make extra money."

Ms. Machulcz, who's paid $25 an hour, says she'd been looking through the help-wanteds for "something different" to supplement her hours at the beauty salon. She knew she could clean; she'd been doing that since age 7. Her husband encouraged her.

"The ad said beautiful bodies, and I do take care of myself," the mother of two says. "I lift weights and body build."

As she stands at the kitchen sink washing dishes, the phone rings. It's Mrs. Derrenberger, calling from the bowling alley she manages. She wants to know what the maid is wearing.

"It's purple bathing suit-type lingerie," her husband says nonchalantly.

And just what does his wife think of a woman parading through her home in lingerie, in front of her husband?

"Evidently, she doesn't mind," he says. "I wouldn't have anyone clean my house unless someone was here. And she says, 'you're the one who's going to have to be there.' "

Would he hire a lingerie-clad maid again?

"If she does a good job, I will," he says, looking apologetically at Ms. Machulcz. "The cleanliness of the house is more important than your looks."

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