Traffic to a website entitled “Your LL Bean Boyfriend” has exploded this week after a 23-year-old from Cape Elizabeth posted the site — yourllbeanboyfriend.tumblr.com — on Monday, Dec. 3, with the intention of sharing a few laughs with her friends.
It wasn’t long before the site spread through social media platforms. By Thursday, “Your LL Bean Boyfriend” had been shared on Facebook more than 22,000 times and passed around Twitter more than 700 times.
“It’s pretty crazy that people are reading the things that I’m writing while I’m in my pajamas,” said the site’s creator, Elizabeth Pride.
The website displays a series of images of male models from current L.L.Bean catalogues accompanied by Pride’s clever captions. For each image, Pride describes a too-good-to-be-true scenario with the model, as if he were the viewer’s boyfriend. Each caption is just a sentence or two.
For example, to accompany a picture of an attractive young male model wearing an L.L.Bean cable zip cardigan, Pride wrote: “‘Let’s go antiquing in Wiscasset this weekend,’ James said. ‘There’s a great bed and breakfast I know we can stay in, too.’”
And under an image of a similarly good-looking male model donning Bean’s 1948 Field Coat, she wrote: “Jason and I walked through the woods quietly, hand in hand, taking in the beauty of nature. ‘Shh,’ he whispered, and pointed to our left at a mother moose and her baby wading through the reeds.”
Pride’s dialogue and descriptions are a mix of romantic humor and everything Maine, from Adirondack chairs to chopping logs for the wood stove. She also makes a point to reference specific Maine locales, such as Popham Beach, Camden Cone and the Farnsworth Art Museum.
“Most of the people I’ve seen so far are now super interested in L.L.Bean, so I’m hoping that L.L.Bean likes it, because I really like L.L.Bean,” Pride said.
And Pride’s in luck. L.L.Bean company spokeswoman Karolyn Beem said Thursday that L.L.Bean doesn’t have a problem with the site.
“I think that we’re finding it entertaining,” Beem said. “It’s certainly a lot of fun. We’ve heard from lots of friends and fans, customers. It’s written in good taste. It’s well written. And it certainly has captured a lot of imaginations.
“Anyone can grab a picture off a website,” she said. “It’s kind of the nature of social media, especially sites like Tumblr. As long as they’re not using it for financial gain, we’re fine with it.”
Pride certainly wasn’t thinking of financial gain when she created the site. A recent Temple University anthropology graduate, Pride is currently living in Philadelphia working in retail and trying to figure out her next move.
The idea for the website was sparked from a conversation with her four best friends from Maine during a Facebook chat on Monday.
“We were just talking about boys because we talk about that a lot,” said Pride. “And I made a joke about how my ideal man was an L.L.Bean model. And then we were sending each other links to pictures of the models that we liked, and I just kept making jokes. So I just started writing these things for them. I sent them the link [to the Tumblr site] and they were just immediately like, ‘Holy crap. This is funny.’”
By the time Pride went to bed Monday night, she had 150 followers on the Tumblr website. The number climbed steadily throughout Tuesday. But by the end of Wednesday, she had 3,000 followers and no way of knowing how many people had actually viewed the site. Her audience varies from college students looking for an escape from studying to media professionals scanning the Web for good content.
The politics editor of the Huffington Post, Mollie Reilly, posted on Twitter that it was her “new favorite Tumblr,” and an entertainment reporter for USA Today, Brian Truitt, tweeted “Yep, that wins” to it being “the best thing I’ve seen on the Internet today,” a tweet by Mark W. Smith, the senior manager of social marketing for USA Today.
“When I got out of work and saw that it had just gone viral, and I was just sweating,” Pride said. “I kind of have a little bit of anxiety about it, but I’m still chugging along and writing stuff. I’ve got more posts planned. I’m just keeping my motivation up and I’ll keep on going because so many people really like it.”
While the site doesn’t list her phone number or email address, viewers can contact her through Tumblr. So far, Pride said she’s received a lot of good feedback, and hardly any negative response.
“A lot of the people tell me stuff like, ‘Oh my god. I was just saying this the other day.’ I think it was an untapped local realization that yes, L.L.Bean male models are really attractive,” Pride said.
On Wednesday afternoon, “Your LL Bean Boyfriend” displayed 47 individual L.L.Bean catalogue images accompanied by the hilarious captions, and Pride plans to release three new posts each day for at least the next two weeks.
“I just hope people keep thinking it’s funny,” she said. “I really appreciate all the feedback I’ve gotten and how many people have responded so quickly, so it’s pretty exciting. I’m really glad people like it so far.”
Visit the “Your LL Bean Boyfriend” page at yourllbeanboyfriend.tumblr.com.