Saturday, April 19, 2008

For Sale: 5,000 Extra Calendars

So let's say you live in rural Spain (Yes, apparently there are rural areas in Europe. Think chalets and yodelers if it helps you.) in a little village called Serradilla del Arroyo. And in this village all of the kids in the village are crammed into the one classroom that the elementary school in the village has. It's probably worth noting that there are seven students in this school. Yes. 7. (I don't know if that's entirely relevant, but it is interesting.) Clearly, your seven students need room to learn. What to do? What to do? I know! A bunch (well, 7 at the most) of the student's mothers will have "semi-erotic", suggestive photos of themselves taken in various garb and poses use them to create a calendar to sell in order to raise funds for the school. Um, OK. What could possibly go wrong?

Three words. Behold! Miss October:

Spain Miss October

Above is one Itziar Zamarreno, a 40-year town counselor in the village. She is sporting a lovely pelt of fox fur and brandishing weaponry borrowed from one of the local townfolk (as she does not like to hunt). Sweet Fancy Moses, if I was an elementary school aged child and that was my mother wearing animal hide, holding a weapon and straddling, well, anything, the point of trying to raise money to help out my school would be meaningless to me. That's because I'd be spending the majority of my time memorizing bus schedules so that I could get the hell out of there as quick as I could.

Now, it may surprise you that the calendar isn't doing very well. Then again, it may not surprise you. At first, the $8 calendar sold very well. Then, it stopped selling very well. Then it stopped selling. (I certainly hope that they were marketing the thing outside of their town that only has seven children in the entire elementary school. You're not going to make a whole lot after you've sold then one calendar to each of the seven families, I'll tell you that right now.) And while they fully admit that their marketing techniques could have been better and that they did miss Christmas shopping season (hard to say if that would have made a difference in this case), they still owe the printer $16,000. Hmmm...$8 each...owe the printer $16,000....So, I'd have to guess that they were expecting sales of over 2,000 calendars to make a profit. That seems like a stretch, given their location and, well, Miss October, for starters. Oh, wait, they have five thousand copies left. Wow. Did someone not see Miss October before this went to press? Again, seems like a bit of a stretch.

Some other photos in the calendar include a woman with what is described as "discreetly placed Christmas tinsel" and another one where the woman is covering her body with just a red umbrella on a picnic table. (Hey! I bet that one guy would buy some of these! He seemed to love his picnic table. Has anyone called him?) Sure, it sounds good in theory, but in reality? You decide. Here:

OK, personally, I'm all for two semi-nude (or totally nude) women posing together. (And they don't even have to be "posing"! That's not a requirement for me to be OK with it. Hell, they don't even have to be in the same room for it to be OK with me. Unclothed women are very, very good.) But the photo above just doesn't have that "semi-erotic" feel (pun definitely intended) that I think the women were going/hoping for. The woman clutching the umbrella looks painfully surprised and a little bit afraid. And that tie-dyed parasol isn't exactly conveying the "free love" feeling. Not with that one woman looking as if she is trying to convey the message, "I've been abducted. Please send help."

Yeah, I don't know if this whole things was such a good idea in this situation. Apparently, the women got the idea from a similar venture by a group of women in England who were in their mid-50s to their early 70s. They did the "discreet nude" calendar bit of with photos of themselves in order to raise money for research for cancer (a noble cause). Theose were the women who were the inspiration for the movie "Calendar Girls". They were also the women who raised $2.55 million dollars after they sold over 800,000 calendars and got a movie and got a book deal. I guess that's what these ladies thought would happen. They might not have actually seen the other women's calendars, though. Maybe that's why they thought they could pull it off. Here are some of the English women (fully clothed. And not in fox pelts, either.):

Yorkshire England Calendar Women
Don't they seem pleasant? (How they got Bea Arthur, 2nd on the right there, to agree to that, I'll never know.) See, they seem a bit different than, oh, say, this:

Serradilla del Arroyo Calendar Moms

Yeah, those two pictures seem awfully different to me. Both in theory and content. But don't worry. Thanks to some recent publicity about this poorly thought out, but very well intentioned venture (through the printer who let everyone know that the ladies were behind on their payments), people are stepping forward and buying calendars once again. (It's a Christmas calendar miracle!) I have the feeling that this is going to turn out just fine. The printer will get paid, the kids will have more room in their school and the women above will be able to put on some real clothes. Yep, that sounds like the optimal solution for everyone involved. Or wearing tinsel.

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1 comment:

Rosa Garin said...