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Beefcake special: Sexy (!) calendar promotes Librarian Liberation.

October 12, 2011

Mr. January: What page are you on?

As a heterosexual man, I’ve always been grateful for two facts of life that level the playing field. First, women are much less superficial than we are. Second, most of the best-looking men are gay.

I’m reminded of these basic social principles by the “Men of the Stacks” calendar, which you can check out in this slide show at the Huffington Post.

Can’t wait for the Book Fair? (Me, neither!) Fortunately, the parent organization, The Center @ Miami Dade College, offers year-round author presentations, creative writing courses, and more!

Men of the Stacks was conceived as a way to address stereotypes about librarians while also promoting the “It Gets Better Project” to encourage gay, lesbian and transgendered youth.

And let me tell you, no one looking at these photos will ever again think that all librarians are portly 60-year-old women with thick ankles and half-moon glasses (apologies to Miss Williams, my long-ago high-school librarian!).

Laudable goals, to be sure, but I find some aspects of the calendar, and the language used to describe it, to be slyly, I think intentionally, confusing. You can find the calendar’s statement of purpose at the It Gets Better website.
For example, it’s unclear if all these men are gay, though I would assume so, wouldn’t you? One of the fellows mentions his five year old (I know, I know! Gay men can have children!).

When one of the models says, “We can’t just leave it to others to tell the people who we are. That’s why the stereotypes about librarians continue to flourish. We have to be the ones to go out there and tell people who we are” — is he referring to misconceptions about GBLT people, or librarians?

Finally, one of the spokespeople for the calendar is named “Megan.” Megan also turns out to be one of the guys in the calendar. Now far be it from someone named “Chauncey” to make fun of another person’s name, but I personally have never thought of “Megan” as a gender-neutral name, like Terry or Madison or Jessie or Alexis.

I’m so confused.

But you know what? Maybe confusion is a good thing. Fitness types tell us that something called “muscle confusion” forces the body out of its comfort zone and promotes growth. Maybe, just maybe, sexual confusion can do something similar. Why not?!?

Be that as it may — just sayin’ — anyone, regardless of orientation, with an eye for masculine beauty may be a tad disappointed to see that only a little skin is on display. It’s certainly not The Full Monte, nor anywhere nearly as risque as the Calendar Girls.

One guy is nude, with a book held before a strategic part of his geography, and a couple are shirtless.

The rest are more or less fully clothed — though all are pretty enough to be models or movie stars. So if you are interested or just curious (ha-ha-ha!), you can support librarians, not to mention the cause of LGBT equality by picking up one of these calendars.

What? Women are superficial, too? Don’t tell me that! Some stereotypes I need to hold on to!

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