Over the years, the Maine lobsterman has become a symbol of hard work, determination and rugged individualism. Well, come 2001, you're going to see something a little different. How about the Maine lobsterman as sex symbol?
The heck with tradition! There are those long limbs, and sleek, tanned skin. The hottest pinups for the new year Down East are dressed in oil skins, and their sleekness has a lot to do with the fish they use for bait.
CBS News Sunday Morning's Tim Sample presents the Bachelor Lobstermen of Maine 2001 Calendar.
This holiday season, the calendars are flying off the shelves as fast as they can print them.
"It's just like regular Joe Schmoes out doing their thing," says Taylor Whitham, 21, Mr. July. He seems to be enjoying his pinup status.
How does he and the 11 other fellows on this calendar feel about being sex symbols?
"Why not?!" declares Whitham.
Joanne Gray and Will Cook had no idea when they started out that the calendars would be such a hit. In fact, they didn't know a lot of things.
"We didn't have a marketing scheme," says Will Cook. "We didn't have a clue. We didn't even have a camera, had to borrow my brother-in-law's camera. He'd say, 'Press this, don't press this, and if you drop it, I'll kill you.'"
"Whoever wanted it, we'd take their picture," Gray says.
In fact, if you spend the morning on the dock at Tenants Harbor, most of the current pinup boys will happen by, like Brad Anderson, who illustrated August.
"It's a pretty hot month," says Anderson.
And Pete Monroe performed the honors for Feburary.
What would be a good thing for a woman to know if she's interested in a bachelor lobsterman? "Don't keep him up all night," Anderson says. "He needs his sleep."
Fred Stimpson, 60, served as Mr. December. But watch out, women, he's very attached to his dog Margaret.
"I'm not looking to get married, by any means...no long-term commitments," he says. "But a casual relationship, sure."
Gerry Cushman was Mr. April. "I'm no George Clooney or nothing, you know what I mean," he says. "I'm just an average guy...and average fisherman."
What's the appeal of a bachelor lobsterman?
"The smell and the money," Cushman suggests.
What should a women know if she is interested in hooking up with a Maine lobsterman?
"Patience," says Bill Islof, Mr. September. "We're never home. And like I said, we live and breathe the sea...so they got to love the sea."
It probably wouldn't hurt if they liked lobsters, too.
Most of the lobstermen will cook and, coaxed out of their shells, are pretty pleased to find themselves in the limelight, oilskins and all.
Erin Hallinan is the only bachelor lobsterman from Boothbay Harbor. "They said they were lookng for single fishermen," says Hallinan. "Well, one of the employees said 'here comes one now,' and there was no escape after that."
"He took a lot of grief all summer," says Douglas Carter. "Oh, 'Erin's a calendar boy' and this and that. Of course, they all wanted to be."
As the proprietor of the Sea Pier, Carter knows that lobstermen are a pretty competitive bunch. "I have a saying, you show me a good loser, I'll show you a loser!" he says.
Is Hallinan getting any calls, fan letters or love letters?
"I don't know," he says. "My girlfriend won't let me answer the phone."
And yet, despite the potential pitfalls of celebrity and life in the fast track, there is no shortage of candidates volunteering for next year.
"We have a list of 500 or more guys who want to be on the next calendar," Gray notes.
There are guys like John Elliott, who would love to have a month to call his own in 2002.
And what advice does veteran bachelor lobsterman Taylor Witham have for those who are considering emerging from their shells?
"Buckle up!" he says. "You're in for a ride!"