It’s been a new year for a few weeks now, so of course people have needed new calendars for their walls. Most opt for calendars with mountains or other natural scenery, or cute cats and dogs. But in merrie olde England there appears to be a not insignificant market for calendars featuring naked – usually young – people of both sexes.
These are not, mind you, the salacious pin-up or Pirelli sort of calendars of yore. Even Pirelli has gone in the direction of high “art”, so far from the style that featured look-alikes of Marilyn Monroe or Brigitte Bardot (who was born in 1934 and is still alive, by the way).
And don’t get the wrong idea. The new crop of “nude calendars” is so, so positively non-sexual. Every single (carefully gender-balanced) person in these calendars somehow contrives to prevent so much as a single penis or female nipple from being visible, in spite of almost everyone being stark naked (except, perhaps, for shoes or fancy boots of some sort or other). In compensation, bare butts abound. To use the curiously self-contradictory phrase that often crops up in stories about the phenomenon, everyone tries carefully “cover” or “preserve” their “modesty”. (The British have such a way with words.)
According to the stories, nearly everyone who modeled for the calendar pictures greatly enjoyed the experience. However, many are said to have been “extremely nervous” with the idea initially. Sadly, purchasers of these calendars aren’t permitted to see quite as much as the models and photographers themselves saw.
All this is quite in keeping with the overall purpose that buyers of these calendars are encouraged to assume – namely, to benefit some worthy charity or other. The beneficiary may be some genuinely deserving social cause – or, frequently, the alma mater or sports team of the calendar models.
This sort of thing isn’t new and original at all, of course. There’s even a Wikipedia article on the nude calendar topic. The article notes that
“The first nude charity calendar was made by a group of middle aged Englishwomen, members of a local branch of the Women’s Institute, who were posing nude to raise funds for Leukaemia Research. The calendar was released in 1999, and became an international sensation, and also inspired the movie Calendar Girls.”
The article also provides a useful list of some of the more noteworthy examples of the genre.
So 2019 is the 20th anniversary of this phenomenon. Fittingly, there has been a bumper crop of offerings to commemorate the original event. You’ll note that all of them are from England or Australia – remnants of Britain’s tattered Empire. Curiously, although in the past there have been a few examples from Canada and the U. S., I haven’t seen a single one this time. One hesitates to speculate on what might be the reason for this.
Here are stories I’ve come across on the 2019 calendars. No doubt some have been missed. I’ve tried to provide suitable links, in case you’re interested in purchasing any of these.
University of Bristol
The nude calendar story that seems to have managed to garner the most, um, coverage is from the University of Bristol.
To order the calendar, check here
“THESE cheeky students have ditched their studying to strip off for their 2019 charity calendar.
Incredible pictures show students from 12 societies at the University of Bristol snapped in the nude. …
The calendar was organised by the University of Bristol’s Raising and Giving (RAG) society with proceeds going to three local charities.”
“Incredible”? Only, I suppose, to Brits who’ve been asleep for the past 20 years. Use of such language, along with capitalization and words like “saucy”, “cheeky”, “risqué”, “raunchy”, “naughty”, “racy” is a good clue that the story is from one of Britain’s tabloids popular with the lower classes, The Sun in this case. Another phrase these tabloid articles use a lot is “bare all”. In fact, that’s rather inaccurate. The folks who pose for these things go to fairly absurd lengths not to show all that they’ve got.
Many photos are included in the story. They’re somewhat imaginative, perhaps a little cheesy – but hardly “raunchy”, “risqué”, or even “saucy”.
This story’s from the Daily Mail, a more conventional newspaper, albeit one still tabloidish. More capitalization, plus the titillating “risqué” and “bares all”. (Not literally “all”, unfortunately.)
This is from the Mirror, another UK tabloid. Readers are informed that “the students have covered their modesty with relevant society objects, such as frisbees and books” – to caution that the pictures might be considered NSFW. After all, they’re “raunchy” (hardly).
This, from BristolLive, website of the Bristol Post newspaper, gives some interesting backstory related to the calendar project. The relevance, however, isn’t entirely evident.
To order the calendar, check here
The Daily Mail, which seems especially fond of the topic, informs us that “The daring [ed: not] photographs feature students from the university’s netball, swimming and lacrosse teams using strategically placed props to preserve their modesty.” So again there’s the models’ concern to about their “modesty”, along with the usual retinue of adjectives. (Such as “racy”.)
This one appears to be the top choice among the current crop of calendars, as its photography is imaginative and of high quality. After all, Cambridge U. is a pretty classy place. For example:
But one wonders how normal it is for otherwise naked women to walk around barefoot with athletic shoes modestly covering their breasts:
I bet you never saw that very often at your college. It’s a crazy world now.
Royal Veterinary College, London
Although the Royal Veterinary College doesn’t play in the same league as Cambridge U., their calendar might deserve a credible second place in the 2019 nude calendar play-offs. To be sure, instead of running shoes they employ “rabbits, sheep, and CHICKENS to cover their modesty”. (Couldn’t they find any “RABBITS” or “SHEEP”?)
And, according to the Daily Mail (again), they also sometimes “don scarves and wellington boots”. At least they wear the boots on their feet instead of their breasts. Seems much more normal. (Or is it considered “VERY cheeky”. Leave anything “chic” to the Cantabrigians. The latter do have “dons” too, however.)
The Daily Star is yet another British tabloid for the lower classes. The article has nothing much to add except for additional adjectives like “naughty”. But it does say that “The Vets In Action calendar is priced at £10 and is available from eBay under the title RVC 2019 Naked Calendar.”
According to the Daily Mail (again!), even common village folks who never matriculated at so much as a veterinary college can also do nude charity calendars.
“An entire Kent village has stripped off for a racy festive calendar in a bid to raise money for charity.
Almost every business in Iwade, Sittinghbourne signed up to take part, with dozens of locals baring all, either at work or enjoying their favourite pastimes.”
Doubtlessly, too, the project really did bring the community together. Nudity has a way of doing that. (And we can assume this wasn’t meant in reference to the kind of favorite pastime usually associated with nudity.)
What sort of charities will this calendar assist? Well, for one we’re told that some “money will go towards a new toilet block at the local church.” Does that get a lot of use in response to the pastor’s sermons? The article doesn’t say.
In any case, from the pictures it’s apparent that the villagers also wear boots, high heels, or running shoes (as appropriate in their various callings) whilst naked. And some use hats, sacks of manure, or chainsaws to cover their modesty.
Wales is favored with a considerable amount of sea coast, so the Welsh calendar has a very naturist theme: skinny dipping. (It’s not the sunny Mediterranean, but whatever.) Appropriately enough, the report here is courtesy of British Naturism.
The natatory theme is very convenient, as being in water makes it easy for the doughty models to preserve their modesty. Regrettably, on the calendar website we find this plea: “Please buy a copy or 3 otherwise we will feel ugly & undervalued – the shame will demoralise us & we will lose our sense of purpose. Roughly translating as – we will feel foolish.” Hopefully that’s a tongue-in-cheek appeal to buy lots of calendars, rather than an expression of ambivalence towards the idea of skinny dipping.
Dean Newlyn Young Farmers
This is our only example of a 2019 nude calendar that’s not from Shakespeare’s sceptered isle – but instead from a former British colony on the other side of the globe. Yes, Australia, the place that the throne of kings wrested from its inhabitants to develop as a penal colony. The two countries even now have more in common than a language – nude charity calendars, specifically.
The organization behind the calendar is called The Naked Farmer. Its young founder, Ben, was recently inspired to utilize nudity as a way to dramatize the mental health problems of farmers. He writes that his idea
“could actually support people in the agricultural industry who suffer from mental health issues. Statistics prove that the suicide rate amongst farmers is almost double than any other industry and I’m passionate about changing these stats.”
Naturally, as a member of his generation, Ben implemented his idea by starting an Instagram account – that features naked young farm folks (both male and female) engaged in many activities, including farm work. A nude charity calendar was a very natural byproduct of that initiative.
Because it’s Instagram, there’s no revealing frontal nudity, but the photos look more authentic and less contrived than what’s found in most other calendars. Operating heavy farm equipment naked, for example. They could almost make a bored young city dweller want to give up on the Ubers and lattes and look for opportunities to work naked on a farm in Australia.
This could – should – be the model for many other nude calendars of worthwhile causes.
The calendar was listed for sale here, but apparently is now sold out. However, there’s other merchandise for purchase, if you’re interested.
Hotshots of Bowls
In Brit-speak, “bowls” is not like American bowling but rather, according to Wikipedia, a sport usually played outdoors on grass “bowling greens” and “in which the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball.” Sounds like a thrilling spectator sport, no? Combining it with nudity can only help.
Seems like a good game in which women can compete on an even playing field with men. The pictures from the calendar document that supposition. Since the article is from the Mirror tabloid, it’s not surprising to encounter words like “incredible” and “bare all” (which, of course, don’t quite accurately accord with reality). Still, no small effort must have been required to produce the calendar, as it features “almost 60 players [who] have stripped off for the special calendar which is raising funds” for one young player who developed leukemia.
More information, from the source.
To order the calendar, check here (UK delivery only).
The Naked Rugby Players
Here’s another sports-themed nude charity calendar. According to their website, the group supports “six inclusive teams and the balls to cancer charity”. Whatever that means, exactly. Perhaps it refers to their objective described by a spokesman (in the article cited below) this way: “I hope this calendar empowers guys to check their packages more often and to feel comfortable talking about male cancers.”
The calendar is for 2019, but it’s a repeat, having been reported in 2017 here: Plaistow gay rugby club strip naked for calendar to tackle cancer
The article relates that “Seven ‘very handsome’ members of the Kings Cross Steelers… got starkers” for the calendar. The photographer is quoted saying “he was stunned when he turned up to shoot the Newham players as every one looked like Hollywood hearthrob Tom Cruise.” The photo for September in the 2017 calendar was “a more informal shot with one player holding a hose pipe in the shower in front of his laughing team mates.” And according to the photographer, the players “were a bit stiff at first.”
To order the calendar, check here.
Here’s a nude calendar on a very different theme. I expect to write more about this in another post, so I’ll be a little brief here. “Naturist Cleaners” is just what it sounds like: an agency for professional house cleaners who hire out to clean homes – and who work naked. This is an actual business in England, and apparently it’s quite legitimate and on the level.
The Naturist Cleaners website states:
“Who says cleaning has to be a chore? Our naked cleaning service strips everything away and gets back to nature – for a spotless home and a cleaning service with a difference.
Naturist Cleaners are London-based and cover the entirety of the UK. Ultimately our service goes beyond a sparkling countertop and faultless floor – to ensure our naturist cleaners make you feel amazing about yourself.”
Details about their calendar are here