Interview With the Genius Behind ‘Your LLBean Boyfriend’

E-mail

Screen shot 2012-12-18 at 12.37.35 PM

If you’ve never heard of ‘Your LLBean Boyfriend‘ here is all you need to know: it’s the perfect mix of humor, rugged flannel shirts, and unapologetic sex appeal. Basically every Maine girl’s ideal man. Elizabeth Pride, the brilliant and funny lady behind the meme, was nice enough to chat with me very early yesterday morning about what inspires her, what she likes in a man, and how she likes her lobster. Our complete Q&A, below.

Dispatch: So first of all, where did the idea come from?
Elizabeth: I had been talking to some of my best friends one day about guys and I said that my ideal man would look like an LL Bean model, which was kind of a joke, but it prompted us to all go on the website and look at pictures of them, and then I got started on captions. So while I was having this conversation with them about which flannel model was hotter, I started writing captions and putting them on tumblr and sent the link to them.

Sweet! So I noticed you started developing different characters for each model. Do you have a favorite? I like Silas, for the record.
Ooh, it’s pretty hard to choose. I like Silas a lot too, but I’m also pretty partial to Sebastian because he’s got like a 2-day beard thing going on and I’m into that.

Me too! I only like facial hair when it looks scruffy
I kind of wish LL Bean featured more of it.

Totally. But it doesn’t really match up with their clean cut image I guess. Have you been contacted by LLBean at all?
No, actually. Which I think kind of makes it funnier. I didn’t start writing these thinking it would ever become so popular, so I wasn’t thinking about how LL Bean would react, so when it did start getting really widely shared I was a little worried that they’d send me a cease and desist letter and say like, “You are weird, stop.” But all I’ve heard is what their spokesperson has said to the press, which is that they’re watching it too and think it’s funny. They might still think I’m a huge weirdo though.

Okay, so say you’re at a party and you see a guy across the room. Your eyes meet, and there is lightning. What is the hypothetical love-at-first-sight guy wearing?
Nothing…? Ha ha, just kidding, I would hate that party. Um… I’m into pretty clean cut dudes (obviously) so like a nice pair of jeans and a button up shirt maybe? There’s something about like button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up that I think is really attractive.

What’s your ideal Portland date?
Portland is so hip now that I could have like 100 ideal dates there. I mean, pretty much any restaurant or bar—I think it’s hard to go wrong in Portland.

Too true. So are you single right now?
Oh, I’m definitely single. I clearly have so much free time! I can’t hide it.

What has been the reactions from guys to your site?
Well, gay men love it. And actually most of the straight guys I’ve heard of either think it’s funny or say they’re Mainers or New Englanders and are hoping the site is boosting their stock with the ladies.

Have you seen the Urban Outfitters boyfriend site?
I have. There’s actually a poll on Racked about Urban Outfitters vs. LL Bean Boyfriend. LL Bean is crushing it.

Oh yeah I just found that. Not even close! Are you thinking about a follow up site? Your LLBean girlfriend or something like that?
Yeah, a lot of my lesbian and straight guy readers have asked for an LL Bean Girlfriend site, and I would love to do that and include more people in on the fun, but it’s a little harder to come up with mass-appealing captions and have them be funny and not make them sexist. So I’m working on the idea. LL Bean Boyfriend is pretty easy to write for.

You live in Philadelphia, right?
Yes.

What are the men in Philly like?
Um… it’s definitely more of an Urban Outfitters vibe here. There are some beards and flannel where I live, but there are a lot of grad students so I feel like that’s a natural connection.

One of your guys (I can’t remember which one) had a caption about putting snow tires on a car. I think I fell in love with that guy.
I know! Snow tires are such a pain, I feel like that’s something most people can relate to like, “I want this to be done for me.”

“I’ll go get the snow tires put on your car this morning” Richard told me, “I know you wanted to relax today so don’t worry.” (via yourllbeanboyfriend.tumblr.com)

What are your thoughts on the Ryan Gosling ‘Hey Girl’ stuff?
I’m a big fan of Feminist Ryan Gosling, but I was a Women’s Studies minor so I thought that was all hilarious. One of my friends actually needlepointed me a picture of Ryan Gosling and one of the quotes from FRG on a pillow last year because she was my “Secret Santa” and it’s like one of my most treasured possessions. It’s just so funny and absurd.

Do you have any celebrity crushes?
Oh, tons. I love Leonardo DiCaprio. Like, he could go the way of Marlon Brando at the end of his career and I’d still be all about him.

Okay, so I have some random questions. First, how do you like your lobster? Steamed with butter, on a roll, on eggs, etc?
On a roll. I like to incorporate bread into what I’m eating whenever possible.

Best answer. What are you reading right now?
House of Leaves, but I’ve been reading that for like nine months now because it’s so long. I’ve read a lot of books in between because I keep having to take breaks.

What’s the least attractive thing a guy can wear/do?
Those really terrible and offensive shirts from Spencer’s Gifts… that’s both a “wear” and “do” for least attractive because it tells me he has terrible style, is probably a bad person, and has a horrible sense of humor. It’s like a nightmare trifecta.

If you had to eat only one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Navel oranges. Delicious and I wouldn’t get scurvy.

Favorite New England mammal?
I guess a moose? I’ve never seen one in the wild and I’m both terrified of the idea of seeing one by surprise and also really want to.

Favorite season?
Summer. Summer in Maine is the best. Summer in Philadelphia is kind of awful.

Mountains or beach?
I think beach. Or very small mountains with easy hiking.

And if you could go anywhere in the world for vacation where would you go?
Ooh, tough. I think India, I’ve wanted to go there for a long time. That’s like a long-term dream vacation.

Take the time to check out Your LLBean Boyfriend if you haven’t seen it yet or you need a laugh. And if the LLBean thing doesn’t do it for you, check out Your Urban Outfitters Boyfriend if you’re into that sort of thing. And if anyone knows a single LLBean model looking for a totally smart, witty, and all around awesome girlfriend, Elizabeth Pride is definitely interested.

Drop some knowledge.