The Secret Lives of Maiters

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Actor Ryan Metcalf on catering: "The pay is good and I always have a job to return to." Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

A friend recently raved to us about a fancy party he'd attended where all the waiters looked like models. "It was so weird, these guys were all really tall and good-looking," he marveled. "It was like an army of male models serving drinks!" We explained that these folks were known as maiters: male models (and sometimes actors) who do catering gigs for extra cashflow. They're ubiquitous at fashion parties and other swish events that place a premium on having the waitstaff look pretty. "So they're like, hot men who are getting paid to feed you and be nice to you?" our friend asked, amazed.

Indeed, the maiter phenomenon has been happening for years, and today's Times delved deeper into the lives of these attractive men brandishing trays of Champagne and steak tartare. As it turns out, lots of them have thriving second careers and just do the waiter thing to help support themselves; most of them don't mind the work because they get to see nice places, interact with interesting people, and sometimes even serve celebrities. (Actor Ryan Metcalf, pictured, does catering work on top of his supporting role on Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress.”) 

Of course, the job comes with downsides, like dealing with rude and/or drunk party guests, standing up for hours, and getting solicited for drugs or worse. Twenty-nine-year-old Robert Granata, who founded Pedal Power NYC on top of his catering jobs, tells the Times, "Someone once asked for whiskey, an Xbox and a dozen Ensure fiber drinks." Now that's a party.