Though Galway firefighter Kenny McNamara seems to have lost some of his uniform, he’s sure to set a few hearts ablaze this festive season.
Smouldering Kenny (27), from Athenry, stripped off for the Galway Firefighters Charity Calendar 2014 (€5), in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Galway Hospital Project.
Temperatures have been rising since it hit shelves, he says: “We’ve had everything from young women to old grannies looking for a copy, and a few guys have even called to the fire station to pick one up as a stocking-filler for their girlfriend.
“Women do seem to enjoy the whole firefighter thing,” says Kenny, who’s single. “I suppose they have this perception that you have to be fit and strong, that you’re heroic when you have to be.”
“If you wanted to play up to it, you could; we’re all guilty of playing up to it a bit.”
A new dating website, Uniform Dating, for firefighters, police officers, doctors and other suited-and-booted singletons, caters to the fantasy.
While it’s a UK-based company, Irish matchmaker, Avril Mulcahy, says it’s only a matter of time before something similar is available here, too.
“With the rise of online dating, people have become a lot more selective about what they’re looking for in a partner,” says Avril, who runs her own matchmaking agency (avrilmulcahy.com), and appears on RTE’s Today Show every Monday.
“You can almost pinpoint it right down to the profession.
“When I’m matchmaking, I try to make sure both people are relationship-ready and have as much in common as possible.
“Uniform or not, though, until you meet them in the flesh, you won’t know if there’s any chemistry.”
“Uniform dating is obviously a fantasy,” she says. “There’s something very masculine about a man in uniform, and, when I look at my application forms, every single woman is looking for a masculine man.
“In the same way, women who are nurses and air hostesses, there’s something very feminine and caring about those professions, and a lot of men who come to me are looking for that.”
“I don’t care what successful businesswomen say,” says Avril, “she might have her own money, but, at the end of the day, a woman wants to be looked after, emotionally, physically and monetarily.
“Someone like a guard, or a doctor, looks like a good provider.”
Undoubtedly, as Grey’s Anatomy’s ‘Dr McDreamy’, Patrick Dempsey, saw his sex appeal go through the roof.
“My character is really a mythical man and a certain archetype that feeds into a lot of fantasies,” says the actor, of playing hunky neurosurgeon, Dr Derek Shepherd, on the hit US show.
“When you play a doctor, you project a sense of authority, and security, and safety.
“I am just average-looking, not anything to write home about. But it’s fun and it is certainly nice to have the attention.”
Colin Farrell (S.W.A.T.), Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentleman), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) and Rihanna (Battleship) are just some of the stars who’ve donned a uniform on the big screen.
“It’s a very common fantasy, for both men and women,” says psychotherapist, Trish Murphy (trishmurphy-psychotherapy.com).
“A uniform represents professionalism, capability and competence, and the fun of getting underneath all that.
“Men, in particular, look better in their uniform than they do in their regular clothes. It makes them look broader and more commanding.
“It feeds into the whole Fifty Shades of Grey thing of domination and submission, and that’s fine for fantasy.”
Even those in uniform want to be rescued, though, says fireman Kenny: “It works both ways. I don’t go around telling people I’m a fire-fighter, but if someone asks, I’ll tell them.
“It does get a good reaction — as much as if you were chatting up a good-looking girl and discovered she was a nurse.
“And some of the local female guards definitely look good in uniform. We only wear the full fire kit on the way to a fire,” he says.
“During the day, we wear blue combat pants. Ultimately, the uniform is made to withstand heat, but if it helps under the mistletoe this Christmas, I’m not complaining.”
* For ‘Galway Firefighters Charity Calendar, 2014’, see: www.fireandrescuegalway.com
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