Yesterday my one-night stand from college followed me.
No, not in person, and not even on Twitter. This guy is checking me out on Pinterest.
If it were any other site getting as much buzz as Pinterest is right now, I wouldn't be surprised. But much of the press this visual and social wonderland has gotten recently has focused on its popularity with women. A Gizmodo headline declared, "Pinterest Is Tumblr for Ladiez" (never mind that the Ladiez use Tumblr plenty, too) and one in TIME announced, "Men Are from Google+, Women Are from Pinterest." A fantastic infographic created by Mashable tells us that of Pinterest's 10.4 million users, 87 percent are women, whose ages are evenly spread between 25 and 54. Since these women generally make anywhere between $25,000 and $100,000 a year, Pinterest's users have some serious buying power -- which primarily lifestyle companies and marketers are starting to take note of in droves.
And still, there it was, the email informing me that a dude I slept with four years ago -- and have hardly spoken to since -- will now be have access to all of my inspirational (read: aspirational) pins, which primarily consist of beautifully tailored blazers, apple crumble recipes I'll never get around to making and home design ideas better suited for the space -- and budget -- of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" than my small Manhattan apartment. (Case in point: the $300 dress form from Urban Outfitters I recently pinned.)
Though they may be a small demographic, it seems that (some) men have officially arrived on the Pinterest scene. Yesterday Mashable reported that even Barack Obama may be taking advantage of the platform for campaign purposes -- though since Pinterest doesn't verify accounts like Twitter does, it's unclear whether it is actually his official account. This Obama account has yet to "Pin" or "Like" anything, but yesterday it seemed to be following a #BroPin board. As of today, that board has been removed from Obama's profile, though it does have 972 followers. Is this where all of Pinterest's male users have been hiding out?
Maybe ... or maybe they've just been running into the arms of some of Pinterest's man-centric competitors. Pinterest knockoffs that attempt to woo dudes away from the aesthetically pleasing, lady-dominated site over to more "masculine" endeavors have been cropping up lately, bearing names like Gentlemint and Manteresting. Gentlemint is self-described as "a mint of manly things." Said "manly things" seem to consist solely of black and white photographs of men, fighter planes, landscapes, cars, guns and the occasional Cameron Diaz beauty shot. Manteresting claims to be a site where users "get inspired by awesome content" and "share manly things with the community." Manteresting's content looks to be a bit more diverse than Gentlemint -- more sports photos and home decor. But all in all, except for the brand "manly" and the fact that they were created after Pinterest was, there looks to be little difference between these sites and the original.
Gawker said it well when it urged dudes to ditch their Pinterest-phobia -- and their Manteresting/Gentlemint log-ins:
Men: You can do all this on Pinterest, with the added benefit of not appearing so insecure with your masculinity that you fear just creating a profile on a social network that's largely female will cause breasts to sprout on your chest and lust for expensive thigh-high leather riding boots to fill your heart.
After all, if men from Obama to my one-night stand are doing it, there's no going back. (In fact around 50 percent of UK Pinterest users are male.) Men want nice clothes, bigger apartments and delicious food just as much as women do, so I imagine it's just a matter of time before more guys decide to get on board. (Just make sure you don't accidentally follow all of your Facebook friends when you do.)
Do you know a dude who's a proud Pinterest user? If so, let us know! We want to hear what he likes about it.
Follow Emma Gray on Twitter: www.twitter.com/emmaladyrose