Tuesday, January 01, 2002


Interesting trend, this: Small civic groups, clubs, and organizations of all kinds have discovered a new kind of attention-grabber: The nude calendar.

I know, nude calendars aren't new. The first was probably "September Morn", published in 1913. But I've been seeing stories about calendars lately that are an odd hybrid of band-booster club album and artistic statement. There was a time when the average person wouldn't admit ever having seen a nude calendar, let alone owning one -- but these days a surprising number of Just Plain Folks want to be on one.

Take this one, for instance, a publication of Sexey's School (as Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up) in Somerset UK. As the school's official statement says,

The Sexey's School calendar is not available for sale to the public, it was produced by 6th Form students as part of a Business Studies project for internal sales only. Sales income generated was to cover production costs and not for raising school funds. Media interest was not sought and has, unfortunately, distorted the true content of the publication.

"Media interest was not sought�" Did they think this wouldn't attract attention? Quoting this time from the Reuters report via Yahoo:

The 12 pictures in the fund-raising calendar include one of a 16-year-old girl with her arms crossed over her topless cleavage. Another shows a teen-age girl ... lying back seductively in a sleeveless black dress, her finger pressed to her lips.

In fact, you might think the UK invented nudity. At fundraising.co.uk, they keep a list of such calendars. The Kent County (UK) Cricket Team has a nude calendar for 2002. The cast of a Welsh soap-opera did a nude calendar for charity in 2001. And just when you�re thinking that there must be some group immune to the nude calendar fad, along comes a group of scientists in Antartica, posing nude in 30 below Celsius. (That's -22 Fahrenheit.)

Lest you think this only happens overseas, The Mudcat Cafe in Westchester, PA, published a 2002 "Nearly Nude" calendar, which for $10 they�ll e-mail you in Adobe Acrobat format. The Men of Maple Corner (Vermont) Calendar 2002, on the other hand, is available on old-fashioned paper.

Last year, 32 women of Salt Spring Island, Canada, agreed to pose nude for a calendar to raise funds and draw attention to the island's endangered natural resources. (I don't know if the calendar is still available, but its webpage is still up, as is ABC News' coverage of their, er, uncoverage. I can�t believe I said that.)

In probably the most notorious calendar of 2001, Father Olan Rynn of Galway - yes, that's Father Rynn - posed nude (modesty protected by a Bible) for a charity calendar called Bare Shakers. The calendar raised funds for cancer and cerebral palsy research and treatment. But when the Bishop heard exactly what kind of calendar it was, he "suggested" that the Father withdraw, and in fact his photo was not used in the final calendar. Here in America we were busy trying to decide who won some election, and our front pages didn't have room for a story from Galway, Ireland. Here's the story from "model" Des Kenny of Kenny's Bookshop, and I say fair play to him as well.

An uproar you may have heard about was that in response to the Canadian nordic skiing team 2001 calendar. Here is the news story, but I don't advise trying to access the site from which they say you can get more details. And it was in 2000 that the Australian women's soccer team got so much attention for their calendar. The Matildas' own site hints that the calendars are still available from them, but somehow I doubt it: I think it's just an outdated link. (You might try eBay.) But this and the previous calendar feature hardbodied athletes, so I�m getting a little astray from my original point.

In Tasmania, a group of elderly women (aged 65 to 82) posed to raise money for new curtains for their community center. I'm a little concerned that the only details I can find on this come from Pravda.

The Edinburgh Naturist Swimming Club felt that there were so many nude calendars that the whole idea of nudity was being cheapened. So when they produced their own 2002 calendar, they did it with their clothes on.

Why so many nude calendars these days? Well, thanks to Kinko's and shops like it, I suspect the answer is "Because we can." A lot like blogs, I guess.

[UPDATE: Gosh, I had a feeling January 1 was the right time to talk about calendars, but both Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) and Tony Adragna (Shouting 'Cross the Potomac) saw it, and now (thanks to them) so many of you, too. Thanks for visiting. "How about a nude blogger calendar?" Glenn says. Don't say it too loud. Goodness knows Blogger is a good cause...]

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