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'You're their handsome young stallion'

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'You're their handsome young stallion'
Benjamin Ensall working as a topless butler in Bermuda before making the move to Stavanger: Photo: Naughtily Nice Butler
13:50 CEST+02:00
Most Brits in Stavanger are in the oil business, so when Benjamin Ensall set up Naughtily Nice Butlers, a topless waitering service, he was a rarity. With a few drinks in them, he says, Norwegian women are as up for his ‘cheeky’ services as any in the UK.
Ensall, who butlers under the name of Benji, was working as a personal trainer in Bermuda, when the idea first came to him to move to Norway. 
 
“I thought I needed a bit of a change and I wasn’t ready to go back to the UK just yet, and I came across a company called Elixia in Norway on Leisure Jobs, a UK website.” 
 
That was three years ago, and within a few months, he'd swapped the sun-drenched beaches of the Caribbean for cold and rainy Stavanger. 
 
“It was a bit of a shock at first, going from all this nice weather,” he says. “But it's definitely got its perks here. It's very beautiful in terms of scenery.” 
 
He's so busy with the personal training that he often finds himself working from 6am to 10pm at night, with just a few hours off around lunch. 
 
Last year he decided he wanted to start up something for himself, and had the idea of setting up Stavanger's first topless butler service, a job he'd done on the weekends both in the UK and in Bermuda. 
 
“Originally in the UK, I did actually work for a couple of companies, one was called Best Butlers, and one was called Cheeky Butlers, and it was a very similar concept,” he said. “I did an event at Cambridge University with 2000 people. I saw that it was quite popular in the UK, but they hadn't had anything like that in Norway." 
 
The one twist was his decision to team up with a chef so hosts and hostesses could order the food and the service in a single package.
 
The clients decide whether they want a topless waiter or the ‘cheeky’ bottomless option. 
 
“Because it's the ‘cheeky butler’, I'll always wear an apron covering myself. If they want a very professional party, but still topless, I'll do that. But if they want to be a little bit cheeky, I'll keep the apron and the bow tie but there will be no trousers.” 
 
He registered his company last year, since when business has been growing steadily. 
 
“The first person was actually a chap. It was a gay guy for his birthday,” Ensall says. “That was the only one though. The rest have all been mainly hen parties and one's been a birthday party, so they're normally lots of differently aged women.” 
 
He was surprised to find that Norwegian women weren’t much different from those at parties he’d worked at in the UK. 
 
“I think that in general when you first meet Norwegians, they're quite quiet and a bit shy, but once you get them going it's no problem at all,” he said. “In my experience of bringing it here, I guess the first five minutes is like a shock factor, but when I did it in the UK, it was the same really.” 
 
He's also found that Norwegian women in their 60s are if anything more entertained than groups of 20-somethings. 
 
“You would have thought the elder ladies wouldn't have responded as well, but they were even more into it than the younger ones,” he said. “They were really good fun to work with because they pretend you're their boyfriend, their handsome young stallion". 
 
After the first few parties, he says his weekends are starting to fill up. 
 
“It’s picked up more this year, just by word of mouth and a little bit on Facebook and handing out some business cards to hairdressing salons.” 
 
Benji's advice to other Brits looking to set businesses up in Norway is to be confident in their idea, and to get advice from a local. 
 
“You can apply this to every aspect in life, but you should truly follow your dream,” he said. “If you know it's a good idea, and there's definitely a target market, my advice would be to not limit yourself.” 
 
As for dealing with the bureaucracy of setting up a business, he believes its essential to find someone, either a friend or a professional accountant or lawyer to guide you through the process. 
 
"I was quite lucky. One of my friends, she was a professional lawyer, so I found out what I could and couldn't do, and she helped me register the company. It was all quite simple actually.” 
 
He'd worried at first that the Norwegian authorities might find the idea a bit racy, but they had no problems with it. 
 
“I was honest with them from the start. I showed them the website, and when I did my tax I gave all the details and told them what it was. It was a topless butlering service and they were fine with that,” he remembers. “Maybe if I did it in Saudi Arabia or somewhere, it wouldn't have gone down so well. I'd have my hands chopped off.” 
 
For now, Benji's still enjoying life in Stavanger, keeping up with his martial arts and making regular hikes into the surrounding countryside. 
 
“I think it's a really fantastic place,” he says. “Stavanger has a great night life, there's lots of after-midnight cafes which are quite cool. I'd definitely rate it.” 
 
So will he one day pack his bags and return to Newport Pagnell, his hometown just outside Milton Keynes? 
 
“Only time will tell. I seem to be doing fairly OK as a personal trainer here, even though the oil industry’s struggling, and if the butler company picks up as well, I'm just going to go with the flow. If everything works out I'm sure I'll be here for a while." 
 
If there's anyone in the Stavanger area interested in Benji's 'cheeky service with a smile ;),' contact details are on his website.  

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