All anyone here in Maine can talk about this week is Your LL Bean Boyfriend, a Tumblr started by Liz Pride, a native Mainer, dedicated to the hunky, outdoorsy dudes featured in the retailer's catalogs (online and off). Each post shows one of Bean's seemingly endless supply of rugged yet sensitive-looking male clothing models and a bit of improvised, romance-novel-style copy written from the point of view of an admirer—like, say, Liz Pride.
A few sample posts:
• Gabriel sat behind me on the sled and held onto my hips. "You were right," he said into my ear, "this was the perfect way to spend a Saturday."
• As we looked at each other from the top of the mountain, Isaac looked at me and said, "Can't wait to hang out in the lodge with you later without all these layers!"
• I stood by the window while the coffee brewed, watching Dennis chop down our Christmas tree from the yard. As he dragged it toward the house and approached the back porch, he caught my eye and mouthed, "I love you."
The site's tagline sums up its attitude: "He will build you a table and then have sex with you on it. Doesn't get much hotter than that."
"It's something that I've always known. It's just the concept of a guy who's really outdoorsy," Pride tells the Portland Press-Herald. "The clothing is definitely a part of it. The flannel shirt is incredibly attractive and a lot of people are commenting, 'Oh my God, I want a man with a cable knit sweater.' I think a lot of guys are going to get sweaters from Bean for Christmas."
If that sounds like a pitch for Bean, it's not a paid one—although the company isn't complaining. Pride launched the Tumblr last Monday. It's since gone spinning around the Web and Facebook, and caught the attention of the retailer, where spokeswoman Carolyn Beem acknowledged its marketing value and praised Pride for her style. "We're just going to watch it like everybody else," she says. "We think that it's a load of fun. It's well written, and it's funny."
"People are like, 'Bless you for making this,' " says Pride, who lives in Philadelphia but who grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine (where I happen to live now). "I think it's just sort of a funny fantasy."
In fact, it's a fantasy in more ways than one. Beem confirms that the company gets its models not from the woods around Moosehead Lake but from modeling agencies in New York and Boston. These aren't really Maine men after all. The goal, Beem admits, is to find "people that are like us, but are better looking."