When it comes to the work firemen do, no one will argue that putting out fires and saving lives are of paramount importance. But when it comes to their fundraising calendars, the idea should be to light fires. The New York City Fire Department understands this.

We bought this year’s calendar for the Brigade des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris. We bought it last year too. How can you resist when a sheepish young fireman comes to your door like a Boy Scout selling popcorn?

Gawky, young, door-to-door fireman are effective, but if the Paris pompiers really want to raise funds, they should raise some heart rates and eyebrows. It’s not as if the French are unaware that sex sells, but it’s clear that whoever’s in charge of the Parisian fireman calendar is clueless. Plus you’d think that at least the photos would be attractive considering that this is France, where attention to aesthetic detail comes as naturally as breathing.

Below are all of the photos from this year’s calendar. I’m sorry. I know I’m one of the world’s biggest francophiles, but sometimes I can’t help myself. (Note that this is a comment on the calendar, not the firemen, for whom I have the utmost respect. I’ve seen them in action and they’re impressive. Can you imagine what it’s like to have to fight fires in this city?)

1: Injured people (real or pretend) and medical equipment/gadgets are not sexy. In fact, they make most people queasy. Why would I want to look at that for two months?


2: Pictures of vehicles, flags and monuments are boring. And people who live in Paris are already sick to death of pictures of their own bloody monuments. That young man’s flag might be the calendar designers’ attempt at subliminal seduction, but it doesn’t really do it for me. Besides, the angle of the photo itself makes me seasick.


3: Don’t waste good ink and paper on pictures of burning buildings. We didn’t have you confused with postal workers. And most people don’t really enjoy scenes of destruction.


4: Somehow there’s just something wrong with this picture of these guys and their extreme rescue equipment dangling off a bunch of froufrou Parisian balconies…


5: This is disastrous. Maybe they thought this photo nicely captured the well-roundedness of Parisian fireman by simultaneously showcasing their physical prowess and sensitivity to the arts. But the first thing that comes to my mind is “what dorks.” And surely there are firemen/women who play sexy instruments. Trumpet face is the worst! (For that matter, if this is just going to be a firefighters-at-work calendar and not a beefcake calendar, why is there only one girl firefighter in the whole thing? And why isn’t the one female in the calendar shown being efficient and heroic instead of this?)


I think it’s time to put somebody else in charge of the fireman calendar, don’t you?