Saturday, December 24, 2011

Interview: Creator of Nice Jewish Guys calendar

Photobucket
Photo courtesy of Adam Cohen

You’ve heard of a fireman’s calendar, right? You know, that 12-month erotic wall ornament with shirtless men making fire hoses and other paraphernalia, ahem, naughty? Sure, those models are nice to look at, but wouldn’t it be nice to give 12 real men, with real jobs, and a real nice personality, a place to shine?

Look no further: the Nice Jewish Guys calendar is back for the third year featuring men you could take home to your mom. Adam Cohen, a tv producer whose latest project, Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, began this “crazy side project” two years ago and since then, nice Jewish guys have finally gotten the attention they deserve. I talked with Adam about the calendar, the guys and how he put it together.

J: I understand the calendar began in 2010, what sparked the idea?
A:
A joke sparked it; I was talking to friends about how all calendars have firemen or pin up hotties. Wouldn't it be hilarious if there were nebbishy Jewish guys like "David" (pronounced with an affected long island Jewish mom twang) and this guy is posing up on a rock with his button-up shirt, still holding his jacket. People thought it was brilliant and HAD to be done. As I got into it I started realizing it was more of a cultural comment and it became a more serious endeavor, yet still with good humor. What happened was that I realized I was now carrying the torch for all the nice guys who get passed up in the bar, are still good to their moms, and are a good catch, but the women just don't know it yet. As it started coming out I started getting tons of feedback from women who absolutely adore these guys. I never knew there was such a fetish for nice Jewish guys. Women of all religions were coming out of the woodwork.

J: What qualities make up a "nice Jewish guy?"
A: The look is important and I can't tell you what it is. I'll just know when I see it. But he's definitely not the sort of guy you'd point at and say, "you... you need to be Mr. September." It's quite the opposite.

I've had to talk a few guys into doing this and I think when I first started, a couple of the guys thought I was doing some weird porn. I convinced them it was on the level and I just wanted to put them in a calendar. There's also a, well, a nice quality to them: trustworthy, a good listener and a guy who doesn't realize that these qualities can be just as attractive as washboard abs and Brad Pitt looks.

J: How do you choose the guys in the calendar and where are they from?
A:
It's just a massive effort to find the right guys: some are friends of friends of friends, some answer Internet listings and others just find me; most are rejected. I can't tell you how many guys I get who are too good looking or just don't have "it." It's a mix. Yep, a couple more obvious hot guys but more straight up nice Jewish guys.

J: Are all the guys single?
A:
At shoot time they are single. Hopefully by the time the calendar comes out, they get snatched up.

J: Do you receive letters from women asking about the guys featured in the calendar?
A
:
All the time. I get emails from women in New Zealand asking, "where are the nice Jewish guys here?" I'm like gosh, I don't know, find a temple and hang out. Women have been super sweet and supportive of this project and I really feel like I touched a nerve. It's a niche that I intend on owning.

J: Have you ever matched any of the guys with a female hopeful?
A:
I really, really hope so.


J: I know women whose ears perk up after hearing a guy is Jewish. Do you think being a "nice Jewish guy" is a stereotype?
A: Yes, it is, but a stereotype that's positive. As a Jewish guy I'd like to own it and not feel like I'm not at the top of some woman's list BECAUSE of it. I think it's about time for us.

J: After two years, the 2012 calendar featured three months of Jewish girls; it's refreshing to see girls fully clothed in a calendar. So what makes a nice Jewish girl different from other women usually featured in calendars?
A:
Everything makes her different. As you pointed out: SHE'S CLOTHED. It ain't about what she looks like, it's about who she is. A nice Jewish Girl might be a Yenta; she might be the sweetheart who bakes fresh hallah for Shabbat. But again, she's got that "it" quality that you know when you see it.

J: It takes a nice Jewish guy to give credit to all the nice Jewish guys out there, do you consider yourself one?
A:
Sure, it takes one to know one.

J: Are you single?
A:
Happily married.

J: What do you want this calendar to accomplish?
A:
If this calendar can accomplish anything it would be my hope that women give this guy a chance out at a bar. He's funny, nice and a great listener. What's not to like!?


Check out the Nice Jewish Guys Calendar on Facebook!

5 comments:

  1. The 2011 Nice Jewish Guys calendar was the centerpiece of my living room last year. We would ceremoniously flip the calendar pages at the end of the month and read the next guy's bio out loud. So fun!

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  2. I have never heard of it until today :) I think this is a great idea, and has an a good and fun purpose behind it. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Thanks for reading! And yes, it has an awesomely innocent purpose!

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  4. i am a nice jewish girl. i'd like to be on a calendar.

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