Calendar girls

The manager of the safari camp is proudly displaying a calendar on his office wall, illustrated with pictures of naked young women.

“Would you like to buy one?” he asks on noticing my eyes wander.

“No, thank you,” I reply. “The jungle is full of natural calendars - blooming flowers, ripening fruit, oestrus cycles going on right under our noses. I can tell what the date is by lying on my back and inhaling deeply.”

“But it’s in a good cause!” insists the manager. “The girls in the calendar were flight attendants of a Spanish Airline that went bust. They’re owed nine months of unpaid wages! I thought you were keen on workers’ rights when you were in the circus.”

“If their grievance is just I will contribute gratis,” I declare. “You don’t have to bribe a gorilla to do good deeds. I suppose you won’t reach into your pockets for the new hospital in Brazzaville unless the nurses strip off.”

“That’s not a bad idea, now that you mention it,” says the manager with a villainous grin. “It ought to be put in the public domain. I’ll write a letter to The Gazette under the pen-name ‘Gorilla Bananas’.”

“Pfffft!” I exclaim scornfully. “As if anyone would believe it was me.”

I’m not the sort of ape who hears of an injustice done to vulnerable young women without investigating the matter thoroughly. It didn’t take me long to find a
news bulletin confirming the manager’s story. I sympathize with the girls’ plight, but question their tactics. Will the shareholders of a bankrupt company be shamed into paying their back wages on being confronted with naked pictures of them? My guess is that most will offer goodwill and encouragement but very little else. The world of corporate finance is a pitiless domain in which naked woman are expected to take their losses on the chin, like everyone else.

Maybe the girls hope that those who buy the calendar will become vociferous champions of their cause. Realistically, most of these people will be men whose motives are decidedly mixed. The manager of the safari camp may be counted as one such example. The words he spoke on their behalf were betrayed by the expression on his face, which indicated sensual appreciation rather than burning indignation. A man with titties on the brain will never make a convincing advocate. Legal historians have cited cases at the Old Bailey that were lost because the prosecuting barrister was distracted by the defendant’s bosom.

I will certainly make a donation, but I feel I ought to do more. Supporting a charity with cash is all very well, but sometimes what’s really needed is fresh ideas and enthusiasm. I learned a few tricks in my circus days which I’m sure would impress the girls. The calendar was a valiant attempt, but there’s no substitute for live action if you want to win friends and influence people. Perhaps I should invite the girls to a beach conference and pitch a few proposals at them. I’ll get the ball rolling by sending an email to Miss August, who looks as if she has leadership potential.

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