Buff men in the buff

The controversial Abercrombie & Fitch advertisement along Orchard Road stirred up more storms than loins in the past month.

And now, a calendar with men in skimpy underwear and saucy poses threatens to upstage that headless hunk with the low-slung jeans.

The 12 models in the Singapore Calendar Guys 2012 calendar are seen in briefs, jockstraps, G-string underwear or without a stitch on them.

It is the most daring issue, said Mr Dinesh Sujanani, an account director with Punch! Events & Promotions, which has been the publisher of the calendar since it started in 2008.

The company also published Singapore Calendar Babies 2010 and 2011.

The 38-year-old said he came up with the concept, which showed the new trends in male underwear and would hopefully wow the buyers.

The studio shots were taken between July and September this year by local fashion photographer Aidan Yeoh and the shoot cost around $2,500. All 12 models were talent-scouted through recommendations and advertisements.

About 80 men auditioned earlier this year.

The top 12 went on to compete at the Singapore Calendar Guy competition, where the winner bagged $3,000 cash and $10,000 worth of prizes including clothes and gym supplies.

Mr Sujanani told The New Paper: "Previously, the furthest we'd gone was to show the side of a model's bare buttocks while he wore a jockstrap in the 2010 calendar.

"In next year's calendar, you can see a model's full buttocks."

There was a shot so risque that a model's pubic hair was visible in the photo but Mr Sujanani did not include it in the calendar because he wanted the calendar to be "positive, not sleazy".

Although he claimed that the target audience was neither gender- nor age-specific, a sticker informing buyers of the calendar's adult content will be pasted on the shrink-wrapped desktop calendar when it goes on sale from Nov 7.

The calendar, which costs about $25, will be available at MPH Bookstores. It can also be bought online at www.singaporecalendarguys.com at US$35 (S$44) including shipping charges.

There are 5,000 copies of the Singapore Calendar Guys 2012 calendar up for grabs.

The calendar was not submitted to the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts for approval as the calendar does not contain nudity, said Mr Sujanani.

At least 120 pre-orders mainly from women in Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and the US have come in, he added.

Is the calendar too racy for the local public?

Madam Ivy Hong, who is self-employed, found some of the photos too explicit for her liking - and she wouldn't keep the calendar on her desk at home or in the office.

Said the 34-year-old mother of two: "I don't find it tasteful in any way and it has no appeal. A calendar with cute animals would have more appeal to me."

Human resource recruiter Irene Lim, 29, found it a turn-off, especially the photo of a model holding his underwear over his privates.

"It would be much better if he simply wore the underwear," Miss Lim said.

Freelance writer Sharon Woo, 23, said the photos were too explicit but she felt some people may still like the calendar.

National University of Singapore law undergrad Yang Ying Jie, 21, said: "I'm quite impressed with the models' physique. If I had a body like that and the money was good, I'd pose for the calendar, too.

"The calendar may not appeal to straight men or women. Gay men might appreciate it, though."

A 20-year-old gay student, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the photos were provocative but he didn't find them a turn-on.

He felt that in general Singaporeans would not feel comfortable with the photos.

Three of the models, who are signed with Sunnyboys Models agency, told The New Paper that they didn't think the photos were teetering on the brink of indecency. They said their friends, girlfriends and family members were mostly supportive.

They were not paid for the photo shoot, although they had won prizes as the top three at the Singapore Calendar Guy competition.

Offshore engineer Adrian Tan, 26, who posed with just an underwear covering his private parts, said it was the most daring photo shoot he'd done in his two years of part-time modelling.

"I was initially worried that I would be exposed from certain angles," he said.

"But I looked at the photos and I saw that I was well-covered. It's okay as long as it's not sleazy."

He revealed that his girlfriend was initially annoyed when he told her about his poses but she later understood that it's part of his job as a model.

"My parents won't have much to say because I'm old enough to make decisions," he added.

"As for my colleagues, I'm not worried what they might say. If they ask, I'll tell them I took the photos because it's part of the (Singapore Calendar Guys) contest. I'm professional about it.

"But if they talk behind my back, then that's beyond my control."

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