Page 62 - Foreign Service Journal - May 2013

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62
MAY 2013
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
AFSA NEWS
THE FORE I GN SERV I CE FAMI LY
Looking for a sign that this is
no longer your grandfather’s
Foreign Service? You can fnd
one with a 365-day reminder
on the desks at the U.S.
consulate general in Chen-
nai. The remarkable number
of husbands trailing their
Foreign Service member
wives in South India practi-
cally burst from the pages of
the third annual “Husbands
of Chennai” desk calendar. 
Over the past three years,
the number of male Eligible
Family Members at post
has fuctuated from a low of
nine, to as high as 13. No one
knows if this is a record or
just an interesting byproduct
of the growing ranks of mar-
ried women FSOs. Whatever,
the husbands here are hav-
ing fun, while raising a few
rupees for charity.
The idea for the frst cal-
endar came from a consular
ofcer who, upon seeing an
all-male calendar produced
by a local nongovernmental
organization, asked: “When
are our husbands going to
make their own calendar?”
“We did it as sort of a
joke,” said Paul Cohn, a pho-
tographer and the husband
behind the calendar project.
The 2011 calendar served
as the punchline to “What
do a bunch of guys with free
time do when their spouses
are of at work?” It featured
husbands doing, well, what
they do: looking after their
children, working out, barbe-
Husbands of Chennai
BY SARAH TALALAY,V ICE CONSUL , U.S. CONSULATE GENERAL CHENNA I
cuing and walking the dog.
After the frst edition,
demand rose for a second
calendar. By then, new hus-
band James Talalay, another
photographer, suggested
that the 2012 edition show
the husbands in front of
uniquely Chennai settings—
Marina Beach, a cluttered
electrical shop, a stone
sculpture of elephants pulling
a chariot; that sort of thing.
The current calendar,
inspired by Bollywood, is
the group’s most accom-
plished yet. Using stills
from Indian flms, Cohn and
Talalay shot photos of the
husbands’ faces, then Cohn
Photoshopped them onto
the actors’ bodies. The work
takes on the campy feel of a
Bollywood musical.
The calendars are printed
in a limited run, with all
proceeds going to charity.
The husbands have raised
between $200 and $300
a year for the Blue Cross
of India Animal Hospital in
Chennai, where several hus-
bands volunteer to walk dogs.
It isn’t clear if the project
will continue in Chennai.
The newest crop of ofcers
includes fewer male spouses
and the two resident pho-
tographers rotate out this
summer. 
Cohn, who will be follow-
ing his consul wife, Abby
Aronson, to Athens, says: “It
just means we’re going to be
the Husbands of Vilnius or
Athens or Djibouti.”
n
On the calendar’s cover the
husbands are identifed above their
heads. To the left, James Talalay
(author’s husband) is seen wooing
a young beauty (with author’s
permission) in April.