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Dude worship on

Dude worship on


Images of puffed-up bodybuilders made popular in 1950s publications are alive and well as videos on the Internet. Only now they're creating a new connection between gay and straight men.

Somewhere in America, a fit, tan, hairless 19-year-old straight boy who goes by the online name "Weatiez" demonstrates calisthenics while standing in his bedroom with a poster of a hot blond topless chick on the wall behind him. He's the kind of guy I'd furtively steal glances at in my high school locker room, afraid of getting beat up if I stared too long.

In most of Weatiez's videos, an aggressive rap song plays as he faces the camera then starts flexing his biceps and bouncing around, staring at me with an unsettling mixture of hostility and desire. His appealing, slightly disturbing performance of bodybuilder and rapper poses is one of several Weatiez has posted on, an online video clearinghouse where as many as 43,000 viewers--mostly male--have watched his impromptu shenanigans since he started broadcasting them in April.

Weatiez is far from alone. For whatever reason, young guys who list themselves as straight have decided to display their chiseled physiques on YouTube. They're building a very large gay male fan base while creating a new forum for the ever-changing dialogue between gay and straight men.

As recently as a year ago, this kind of dynamic for exhibitionism and voyeurism was unheard-of. But YouTube changed all that. After the now-famous Saturday Night Live clip "Lazy Sunday" appeared on the site last December (in which an unknown male duo did a gangsta-rap parody about "the chronic--what!--cles of Narnia"), the site skyrocketed in popularity, and soon people of all ages and persuasions started posting videos of themselves. When I contacted YouTube for this story, their representative declined, citing an "unbelievable amount of interest" in the company.

I discover Weatiez while surfing YouTube and come across a video in which he stands in what looks like a basement, his brown skin contrasting against the white wall behind him. A bare fluorescent bulb is affixed to the ceiling. Wearing a white T-shirt, Weatiez suddenly rips it off his body, WWE style.

Altogether, Weatiez's videos offer a surprisingly intimate glimpse of the kind of rough-and-tumble jock many gay men, myself included, obsessed over in high school. And judging from the comments posted on this young man's YouTube profile, many gay men still hold that adolescent fixation. "A ha cool video," writes "noffin1" about another Weatiez bedroom creation. "Nice with the hat flying onto the head...a bit risky having the pants so low they are almost showing the ood stuff."

The fact that gay men are ogling his hot bod doesn't concern Weatiez. "Yeah, I'm aware of it, but it does not bother me," he says via e-mail. "I'm comfortable with that because I know working out will give me a great body, and I know that will get attention, both female and male."

Weatiez is not the only young straight man posting such personal videos of himself on YouTube to the immense gratitude of gay men everywhere. Shane Jessuran, who goes by "Shanejj" on YouTube, is a 19-year-old originally from Suriname in South America who is now living in St. Petersburg, Fla. With a chest the size of a beer keg, he recently started posting videos of himself on YouTube, charting his progress as he pumps iron. About half the comments posted on his videos are from bodybuilders giving him encouragement; the other half are men telling him how sexy he is. He flexes provocatively in his dark bedroom wearing only a pair of gray Polo boxer briefs that he constantly adjusts, running his hands over his obliques.

Shanejj says he doesn't care that more than half his viewers are gay men. "It doesn't really matter to me--I'm actually intrigued that gay guys respond to it," he says. "It's on my profile that I'm straight, and if guys ask if I would go that way, I just say, 'No, but thanks for thinking of me.' " It's just about the attention, he explains. "Most of the guys posting aren't average guys--they're into their appearance, their clothes, their grooming. They shave; I shave. It's more a metrosexual thing, and in that way I think we have something in common with gay guys. So when I get attention from them, I like it. It confirms that I'm doing it right."

One such online admirer is Tommy, 23, a recent college graduate and bartender in Miami who goes by the name "Hotjokstud." "These straight guys love the attention--they really do," he says. "I'm constantly posting flirty comments, praising them for their bodies and telling them they should show more--and sometimes they do." All it took was his suggestion to "FuSoYa999," a youthful

20-year-old flexer from northwest Georgia, that he should pose in a Speedo, and a video of him in said attire was up three days later. The comments were euphoric. "Men are dogs," Tommy says with a laugh. "Gay or straight, they all love getting their egos stroked, and it's fun to see how far you can go with them."

Another fan, Matt, a 30-year-old retail worker from Durham, N.C., maintains a blog called DudeTube where he regularly posts videos of hot straight guys. "Guys showing off has always been a part of gym culture," he says. "The Internet just provides a way to do it anonymously--or not so anonymously--and get some feedback. It's a way for straight guys to put themselves out there safely and to get attention without many repercussions."

Matt has come to know some of these guys in the course of posting their videos on his site, and he says they're "so friendly about it. When I post stuff of theirs, it's not 'Hey, fag, stop looking at my ass,' but it's like, 'Thanks, I'm straight but that's cool.' They're really, really nice about it."

Of course, male-on-male voyeurism is hardly novel. It's just that YouTube has provided a new venue for it. "It's nothing new for straight guys to get attention from gay guys--or other straight guys," says Cyd Zeigler Jr., cofounder of, where many a picture of hot, straight athletes can be found. "Athletes in our culture are put on a pedestal and they like that: being worshiped. And one of the things they're worshiped for is their physique. When they get that praise from other men, it just massages their egos more."

But even in the vaporous, amorphous world of the Internet, maybe that worship can go too far. Weatiez stopped responding to my e-mails soon after I contacted him. He was the first self-made flexing star I approached for this piece, and while I have no way of really knowing what happened, I can only assume that our communication must have crossed that invisible variable line between "flattering" and "threatening." My questions must have been too much for his straight-jock comfort zone.

As much as the Internet can bridge the divide between a gay man in New York City and an anonymous straight stud in suburban America, it can also be a harsh reminder of how much space still exists between us. At the end of the day, you're still sitting alone in your bedroom, lusting after the same boys who were so unavailable as a teenager. That disinterested roughneck is still out of reach.

If I creeped you out, Weatiez, I'm really sorry.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Jason Rowan