Haven't you always wondered what Huma Abedin actually does for a living?
I've finally figured it out: She's a "lady's maid."
The U.K. Daily Mail ran this story:
Huma Abedin was apparently left carrying Hillary Clinton's shopping bags on Thursday after her millionaire boss stopped in at Ralph Lauren to pick up some designer clothes.
Clinton's top aide looked less than pleased to be carrying expensive shopping and was spotted walking 10 paces behind the presidential front runner after the excursion to the upmarket store in New York.
And sure enough, the Daily Mail story is replete with photos of Hillary strolling along in one of her signature pantsuits, carrying what appears on first glance to be the trousers of Huma's famous husband, Anthony Weiner, but is actually more likely a coat of some sort. Trailing behind her is Huma in a black dress toting a Ralph Lauren shopping bag.
Huma, accessoring her black dress with a statement necklace, certainly looks more stylish in those photos than Downton's O'Brien. But "top aide"–the job title that journalists usually ascribe to Huma, is too vague to tell you anything about why she's on the Clinton payroll.
But Beeton's Book of Household Management (1860) gives a more precise description:
A waiting-maid, who wishes to make herself useful, will study the fashion-books with attention, so as to be able to aid her mistress’s judgment in dressing, according to the prevailing fashion, with such modifications as her style of countenance requires….The lady’s-maid may thus render herself invaluable to her mistress, and increase her own happiness in so doing.
Author Geri Walton is even more precise:
A lady’s maid of the 1700 and 1800s functioned as a personal attendant to a woman similar to the way a valet served a gentlemen. Her job was vital to her mistress because a lady’s maid was responsible to properly prepare her mistress so that when she stepped from her dressing room into society, she was seen in the best light.
To become a lady’s maid, potential candidates trained for the position by first functioning as an assistant to a lady’s maid. Training often began when candidates were fresh from home or school and began shortly after they entered a mistress’s home for the first time. However, to be considered for training, a candidate also had to possess certain traits and characteristics. One characteristic was that she was “a superior sort of girl,” and a description of such a girl was provided by one lady: “You are neat in your person and ways…speak pleasantly…you can read and write well…you are handy and tolerably quick with your needle, and…you may be trusted to tell the truth and not…gossip.” Moreover, such candidates also needed to behave properly, be discrete, and not be overly familiar with superiors.
That mirrors to a T Huma's training as an intern for Hillary back in the 90s when Hillary's husband, Bill Clinton, was in the White House. According to Newsweek:
“She was a very, very religious person—she didn’t smoke, drink or swear, always very polite,” recalls one Clinton friend, who, like most people who spoke to Newsweek, asked not to be named. “A lot of times, Hillary would snap her fingers and go, ‘Gum.’ And Huma would fetch it.” Abedin took her duties so seriously, the source recalled, that when she learned that Clinton had once carried her own bag up a flight of stairs in her aide’s absence, Abedin nearly burst into tears.
Huma's long experience with bag-carrying has undoubtedly prepared her for her other career: Putting up with her husband. The New York Post reports:
Apart from living in the world of “Game of Thrones,” it’s hard to imagine how one woman could suffer as many walks of shame as Huma Abedin has over the past few years.
The put-upon wife of creepy sexter Anthony Weiner has managed to publicly weather two of her husband’s tawdry phone-message scandals. Now she’s forced to relive them, as the documentary “Weiner” hits theaters Friday.
It helps to be a lady's maid when your husband is carrying quite a bit of baggage himself.
And you thought that job title disappeared with "Downton Abbey."