Moscow City Hall Takes Pity on Those Without a Russian Husband

Alfred T. Palmer / WikicommonsTwo left hands or a single woman? Moscow City Hall is working on a solution.

The Moscow city administration is planning to offer the capital's struggling residents a new social service — a husband for an hour, a news report said Tuesday.

The hired "husbands" would be available to perform tasks traditionally viewed as a man's job in  Russian households, such as replacing a leaky faucet or attaching shelves, deputy chief of City Hall's social protection department, Andrei Besshtanko, told Izvestia newspaper.

Companies offering similar services already exist in Moscow's private sector.

The "Moscow Husband For An Hour" private company, one of roughly several dozen similar businesses, promises "young and strong men with a huge set of technical skills," who will perform handyman work around the clock, according to its website.

If the company's sales pitch is anything to go by, the do-it-yourself trend — or, for that matter, female emancipation — seems not to have quite caught on yet.

"You've just spent a long time in a store selecting a new light fixture for your hallway to perfectly match your new decor," the company's online statement reads. "But you're a beautiful woman with a killer manicure that was done only yesterday, and you're not ready to get intimate with a noisy  and horribly vibrating drill. Who can come to your rescue in this case?"

"Assertive men, who'll call themselves your husband for an hour, are on their way to your home," the ad reads.

Despite the appeal to gender stereotypes, the service is most popular among young families who have two left hands and the elderly, an employee at the company told Izvestia.

The City Hall's social service will be free of charge for low income households and available at a moderate fee to others, the Izvestia report said.

The Moscow administration already offers an array of household services for retirees and people with disabilities, mostly including chores that are traditionally viewed in Russia as the domain of women, such as cooking and cleaning.

The rates range from about 60 rubles ($1) for changing bed linens, to 230 rubles ($3.80) for cooking a meal, according to a price list posted online.

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