Some like it hot

Firefighters look to help victims even after the fire is out

Clichéd as it may be, there is something undeniably sexy about a fireman calendar – at least for me. But as Jonathan McLaren, a firefighter also known as Mr. January, told me, “it’s not realistic.”

“I’m not going to burst into your flaming house, rip my shirt off, and ravage you. I’d probably die,” McLaren said. Still, the steamy fireman fantasy is a common theme; it’s everywhere from Harlequin romances to Sex and the City. Toned, manly men who risk their lives for you are undeniably hot.

This year’s Quebec fireman calendar panders to just this sort of fantasy. The “Our Firefighters, Our Heroes” calendar can really light your fire, if you know what I mean. But the sexiest thing about this calendar isn’t the rock-hard abs, the smouldering gazes, or even the fake beads of sweat sprayed on every available inch of skin. What’s really attractive about misters January through December is that they are selling the fireman fantasy for a really good cause – all of the money raised from the calendar goes to the Quebec Firefighters Foundation for Major Burn Victims.

The Foundation, founded in 1983, supports burn victims after they’ve been saved from fires, by donating money to burn units in major hospitals, including Sainte Justine, Hotel-Dieu, and Hopital du Saint-Sacrement. Money is also invested in research toward the treatment of burn victims, such as the University of Laval’s program for tissue engineering, or McGill’s own dietary research that looks at immune system-boosting foods for preventing infection, a leading killer of burn victims. Since its establishment, the Foundation has raised over ten-million dollars in the name of helping burn victims.

Though definitely the steamiest, the calendar is just one of the foundation’s many fundraising initiatives. McLaren spoke positively of his own experience modeling for the calendar.

“It was fun. Everyone has that sexy side of themselves that they don’t always show,” he said.

Let’s face it, the photos are enticing, but they could easily be criticized for being cheesy – pouty lips, brooding poses, and all. McLaren only laughed at this suggestion, though, explaining that cheesiness was to be expected.

“It’s like looking at a bikini spread. Yes, it’s ridiculous that [a girl is] wearing a bikini in the snow. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like the pictures. We’re selling the fantasy,” he said.

Most importantly, as the calendar reminds its viewers, the sexy fireman fantasy is being sold for a good cause. The calendar ends with its most striking image: a photo of Ella Earp-Lynch, a major burn victim, exposing her scar, which she refers to as “a unique and strangely beautiful testament to my continued survival,” on the last page. This is a final reminder of what this calendar is all about.