Those Handsome Faces Fronting FindFred
Fly-Over Land is full of surprises these days.
From Columbus, Ohio, comes FindFred, the new match-up site for gay men. The faces of FindFred models are all over gay media these days: happy, very attractive (if not especially modelesque). The site aims to be every bit as hot, but nowhere near as sleazy, as the plethora of men-on-men hook-up sites.
One way FindFred has achieved this balance between sexy, classy and friendly is by using regular dudes-next-door types as models. Like the company, the guys in the ads are from Ohio. There is not a WeHo, Castro, SanDi, LaDeDa or Chelsea clone in the lot.
The real kicker is that these men are not simply models; they work for the company in various capacities. Each of them personally responds to new members online. They are conscientious about representing themselves, their company and their home state in the most favorable, most approachable way possible.
It is common knowledge that Ohio's strongest export is its people. FindFred has taken that basic fact and made it a selling point. Working from the idea that a local business has greater potential to be international if it stays true to its roots, FindFred seeks out talent in Central Ohio.
In so doing, it has created a core of people who see each other face to face on a regular basis. The company then reaches out, virtually across the web and physically in the real world, as its associates link to members online and travel to major cities so that people can connect the faces with flesh-and-blood men.
One of the Faces of FindFred
"We're just guys working for the company," said Jason Spyker, an engaging jock from Lima, Ohio. He travels with the FindFred crew, acting as a liaison between the young company and men who express interest in it.
More flannel than spandex, Jason radiates homespun charm as easily as he tosses the pigskin. Life however, was anything but a bowl of cherries for the likeable Lima boy who happened to like other boys.
Jason is from a community that is not so much homophobic as devoid of a gay presence. Growing up in a hometown off the beaten track (Lima is midway between Toledo and Dayton--right, that means not near anything), he took a long time to come to terms with his orientation. For years, the Internet was his only link to others like himself.
Although he now lives in the somewhat more cosmopolitan Columbus, Jason has never forgotten his small-town roots. He is living proof that Lima has more to give the gay community than just Glee.
"The people that live there are beautiful," he said. This is one Buckeye who won't write off the hometown folks just because he chose to move to the big city.
What growing up in Lima did impart to Jason was a strong sense of empathy, both for the lonely gay guys living in Rural America, and for the people who seek his professional help as a specialist in the health care industry.
A Gayola Photo Shoot
One thing that fascinated Jason was FindFred's first photo session. "It was a gay photo shoot," he said. So, Jason, what made it so gay?
He stood a second, pondering his next words with care. "It wasn't because we were acting 'gay,' whatever that means," he answered. "The photographer was used to the usual stuff: weddings, football teams, that sort of thing. With the FindFred shoot, she had a bunch of guys who instantly relaxed around each other, even though many of us had just met. We made it fun just being ourselves."
When a group of straight guys get together for a shoot, they tend to be self-conscious and more reserved, he noted. "But not us," he added. "It is this comfort zone many gay men feel when they get together, which is exactly the vibe FindFred is designed to capture."