The two-month-old website Dudepins.com (slogan: "Man up. Sign up. Pin up.") is what you might end up with if you grabbed Pinterest by its grosgrain and calico corners, shook it free of all the wedding cakes, cute kittens and arty crafts and then restocked it with photos of mustaches, man caves and Maker's Mark.
The brainchild of two 25-year-olds from Vancouver, Kamil Szybalski and Colin Brown, Dudepins manages to be both a spot-on sendup of the oh-so-popular aforementioned P-site and a humorous way for disenfranchised bros to indulge in a virtual version of time-honored traditions like showing off that LeRoy Neiman painting of Larry Bird or a maroon 1984 Cadillac Seville without being forced to wade through terabytes of homemade glitter, braiding-twisting techniques and cupcake-in-an-ice-cream-cone serving suggestions.
The site, which is still in beta, has been live since mid-June, and prospective Dudepinners currently must enter an email address to request membership, according to co-founder Szybalski (who goes by the nom du Internet of "K Dude"). Although he won't divulge the exact number of members signed up to date, he offers some insight. "We don't have tens of thousands of users yet, but we do have thousands of users," he said. "And we've got a couple thousand people on our (request) list." And it's at least popular enough for the start-up to announce that it recently recruited a chief technology officer from San Jose, Sohail Suleman, to help take things to the next level.
And just how did two cross-border bros hit on the idea?
"Honestly -- and I'm not overexaggerating -- we were sitting on Colin's (a.k.a. C Dude's) balcony in Vancouver having Scotch and a cigar," K Dude explained. "We started talking about Pinterest, and we figured out that men really can't use Pinterest. Well, they can, but it's not built for them. So we decided to throw together something that caters toward dudes and men to see if it would fly."
Catering to that dude demographic meant a few rules. Posting of male-oriented content ("dude stuff") is encouraged, and "dude stuff" is defined at the Dudepins website as: "something that injects enough testosterone to tickle your sub-cockles."
K Dude is less oblique: "We're strictly about cars, cigars, Scotch, style, man caves, bacon -- all the good stuff. And we don't allow women on our site."
No, dude, K Dude so did not say what you think he just said. He's not hanging a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the door of the virtual tree fort -- the site actually has several hundred female members, which is totally A-OK with K Dude. What he means is that, despite what you might expect from a man-centric, photo-driven social media website, images of naked women and scantily clad bikini bodies are verboten.
"We don't allow any women or nudity because our users have told us they can't look at it at work if there are naked women on the site," K Dude says. "And men won't want to look at (the site) at home if their wives think they're looking (at those kinds of sites)."
But that's not 100 percent accurate, since a quick check of the site turned up some tasteful "pinned up" pictures of a tank-topped Marisa Tomei, a bikini-bottomed Hope Solo and Anne Hathaway clad in a curve-hugging Catwoman costume. (They've all somehow managed to helpfully congregate over in a category called "Hot Chicks," presumably to ensure no dude runs afoul of his boss or lady friend.)
In addition to the pinboard montages, there's a Dudepins blog and a Dudepins forum, as well as a Dudepins Facebook page.
If you sniff and turn up your nose at the idea, dismissing it as some kind of inevitable "bro-tastasis" of the Internet (the way Evite begat Manvite), feel free to wade among the e-scrapbookers hoarding their Instagrammed shots of shrimp scampi, calla lilies and earring trees. But K Dude and the dude army have had enough. And they're not going anywhere but up.
"Our next step is to increase the traffic to the site and grow as large as we can. This is not a one-off, and we're not looking for a quick exit. We're looking to make this a big website."
Got that, dude?
-- Adam Tschorn, Los Angeles Times