Remember the Bin Isolation Outing page on Facebook that took off in March 2020 bringing a bit of fun to the lockdown blues? Now the 2021 floods on the Mid North Coast of NSW has spawned another delightful page to bring joy to troubled times ... Budgie Smugglers in the Manning, Mid North Coast and Australia wide.
The Mid North Coast of NSW has suffered a triple whammy of disasters - bushfires at the end of 2019, the pandemic, and now the recent one-in-100-year floods. You could forgive us all for being a little weary and worn down.
But it doesn't take much to amuse us, and we'll take joy where we can find it in the simplest of things.
Taree local Emma Martin was making the trip into town in bumper to bumper traffic (the main bridge into Taree has been closed due to flood damage) and spied something on the side of the road that put a smile on her dial ... a bloke in a bucket hat and budgie smugglers, downing a beer while mowing his lawn.
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On returning home she gave the man a shout out on a local Facebook group for making her day. Turns out, the post tickled other peoples' fancies too, and Emma started getting private messages urging her to start a Facebook page.
"Everyone was like 'make a page, make a page, this is funny'. I did and it just kept escalating," Emma said.
Brave men of the Manning started baring their bods in their budgie smugglers for our admiration (and, sometimes, amusement). The page grew so fast that Emma has had to put on an extra admin and some moderators to help her take care of it.
And now, what started as a shout out to the man on a local Facebook group has ended up becoming a serious fundraiser for flood victims on the Mid North Coast.
Emma is now going to create and sell a calendar featuring local men in their budgie smugglers, with a famous ring-in or two. Married at First Sight 2021 groom, Chris ("he's got a Queensland haircut") Jensen rang Emma and is going to provide some photos.
"I couldn't believe it. He was so, so nice," Emma said.
Emma has also approached a few players from the St George Illawarra Dragons first grade team and is hopeful of hearing back from them.
People have reached out to help Emma get the project off the ground, and there are will be prizes in the offing for "people who are having a go". One of the companies offering a donation of prizes is swimwear maker Budgy Smugglers.
"I've had a couple of locals contact us to help us fund the calendar. A lady contacted us who is trying to get the Lions Club and other people to help, so everything is legitimate.
"I want to make sure that when I get this calendar done and people buy it that the money goes where it's meant to go."
Emma is still overwhelmed with the attention the page is getting.
"I honestly did not expect this to happen at all," she said.
It's early stages yet as Emma coordinates the logistics of getting the calendar created, but once she has things worked out she will trawl through the pics on the Facebook page to pick the calendar models.
So come on, guys, don your budgie smugglers and share the glory with the Budgie Smugglers in the Manning, Mid North Coast and Australia Wide Facebook page.
Don't have a six pack? Don't be dissuaded - dad bods are actively encouraged, and by the admission of some group members, preferred.