Local woman’s homemade ‘80s calendar featuring men doing chores goes viral on social media

A calendar from 1988 recently resurfaced thanks to the internet. It was made in Seattle 33 years ago, yet it went viral this past month.

In 1987, Marilyn Cole, a Lynnwood mother of three, told FOX 13 News she was doing laundry with her sister Julie and watching TV when a show came on about beefcake calendars. It was pin-up calendars of muscular firemen, which Cole said is not her ideal man.

"That is not my idea of a calendar, that is not my fantasy," said Cole. "I don't want to look at muscle-bound boys."

She said it was men helping around the house, cleaning the toilet, helping with the baby and folding laundry was what she was looking for.

 So with an obvious gap in the world of calendar publishing, Marilyn and her sister went recruiting for men who fit their ideal man. They called modeling agencies and scouted at local parks which was followed by a rigorous interviewing process. 

"They had to pose with the ironing board and their beach look with their muscles flexed and holding the iron and just getting those wrinkles out," said Cole.

Twelve men were selected and the project came to life at a studio in Seattle.

 "The cost was very minimal because we did everything ourselves and staged it all with our only clothes and props," said Cole. "We didn't know what we were doing but we were having a ball." 

One month later, 5,000 prints were made and 3,200 calendars were sold. And that was that. Or so she thought.

Fast-forward to 2021, one of their sons was home for Christmas, finds the calendar, posted it on Twitter, and it went viral:

"When he put it on Twitter I just thought he was crazy, and when the response started coming in. Wow," said Cole.

More than 60,000 people liked the post and commented their thoughts.

"There's been way more positive responses to this calendar this year than there ever was in 1988," said Cole. "They loved the fact that men were helping with the chores and they looked happy about it."

Cole said, the fact that what they did more than 30 years ago is still relevant today and still appreciated is "mind blowing."

Cole told FOX 13 News that she’s going to reprint the 1988 calendar for 2022 with the current dates. She’ll also reshoot a completely new calendar with a more diverse lineup and feedback from the public on the chores they would like to see their significant other do today. If you have ideas, we’ll share your comments with Marilyn.

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