Getting your kit off for a cause

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We’ve really entered the era of the strip-off-for-charity calendar.

How do I know? I’d received a facebook post about the staff of the Ballathie House Hotel, both male and female, getting undressed for a good cause, shot by my good friend and photographer Angus Forbes who cheekily encouraged his contacts to enjoy what appeared to be a free view. Ha, ha! Free, my arse! Well not mine actually. Very nice hotel, nice idea, nice pictures … mostly.

And then within minutes I spotted an ad in Agrimart (yes, Agrimart) for the Jedforest Unzipped Calendar.

And it didn’t take long to discover that there is a rash of other naked calendars jostling to grab our attention – The Hotties for Help for Heroes, the Oxford Blues Charity Naked Calendar, the Naked Farmers Calendar, the Foxy Hunters Calendar, the Canadian Authors Bare it for Books Calendar (!), and the one that has got everyone talking, the University of Warwick Rowers Calendar.

Now I know this is dangerous territory, but these are men and ladies unclad in equal measure for goodness sake. There was a time when the nudie calendar was a seedy, well-thumbed affair that hung on the wall of the workshop advertising shock absorbers or fork lifts. There was also the upmarket version from those Italian tyre people and now collectors’ items. Another promised to refresh the parts – I should know, I worked for them!

But today’s (mostly) fit and firm volunteers who are getting naked are doing it for good causes, so please don’t get all hoity-toity about how it’s degrading to women (or men), or undermining feminism (or its male counterpart). It’s equally empowering, liberating, and let’s face it, you can see more on the beach in Greece.

People have been getting naked for years for all sorts of reasons, for a dare, a bet, or just out of sheer stupidity. Apparently, the first streaker ran from Cornhill to Cheapside for a 10 guinea wager in 1799 and was arrested. Michael O’Brien, famously naked, interrupted play in the England v France 1974 international for a bet – a move that resulted in the unlikely deployment of a policeman’s helmet to save his further embarrassment. And then there was Erica, England v Australia 1982, and so it goes on.

I’ve not done a calendar (old, naked PR men – who would buy it?) but I did get naked once when much younger for a dare. It was close to midnight and the end of term on Magdalene Bridge, and she said to me if you dare to take all your clothes off (slightly slurred possibly) and jump in the river I’ll … (that part is for your imagination). I did. She put my clothes in her bicycle basket and zig-zagged off up Magdalene Street I suppose, for I never saw her or my clothes again!

So, support the cause. No ifs – just butts. There’s plenty to choose from!