Voyeur Eyes Only

Guys Give It Up While the Whole World Watches

Finding three horny gay guys who are willing to live rent-free in a Webcam-rigged Chelsea apartment is easy. Finding the right three guys—now, that's tricky.

'It's all about casting,' says Andy Fair, the brain behind apartment21.com. Fair's scheme is the latest manifestation of the Webcam craze—a site which, as of January 15, will feature three roommates who spend six months of their lives (and have lots of sex) in front of the cameras. Voyeuristic subscribers will pay $14.95 a month. A new threesome will be chosen every six months for as long as people are willing to pay. "Hopefully forever," Fair says, a bit too earnestly.

A sampling of recent contenders included a bisexual 19-year-old who says he masturbates two to three times a day and had sex with his babysitter when he was only 12. Then there was the guy Fair speculated was an in-the-closet drag queen who had red lipstick stains on his boxers and a dildo in his pocket; a just-sprung ex-con who never made it from the waiting room to the interview stage; and the former escort, who had washboard abs and said he likes to fantasize about gang bangs. He was lucky enough to receive a quick blowjob in the bathroom from the apartment21.com videographer immediately following his audition, for which he stripped down and masturbated in front of the Webcams and two photographers. The guys claim it's the only time such an oral exchange has taken place—although Sean, the photographer, admits he sometimes needs to masturbate in the bathroom after shooting a particularly arousing audition.

Apartment21.com creator Andy Fair shows off the oh-so-groovy pad coming to a computer screen near you.
photo: Michael Sofronski
Apartment21.com creator Andy Fair shows off the oh-so-groovy pad coming to a computer screen near you.

But it was baby-faced Nate, with his fantasy about being bent over and pummeled roughly by a cowboy, who was everybody's favorite of the day. After all, he got hard with anticipation even before his audition began, told a great story about a bisexual orgy he had in college, and confessed that he had never actually had anal sex—perfect gimmick material that could rival the alcoholic, bisexual antics of Real World Hawaii's Ruthie.

Welcome to Fair's world—a surreal place where brainstorming sessions about the psyches and top-bottom preferences of contenders are blithely discussed over turkey subs, as Fair's sweet boyfriend, Rob, sits off to the side, knitting a blue-and-white-striped sweater and occasionally throwing in his two cents.

"I liked the first boy," says Sean, working on his sandwich. "And his dick was hard."

"What about the one last week? You could've talked about your fucking grandmother and he would've kept going," notes the fellatio-giving videographer, taking a drag off his cigarette.

Fair worries aloud that Nate might not be good in a crowd, withdrawing if he's not the star of the show. And that fantasy! "Who has cowboys nowadays?"

Fair, 33, a brainy, cherubic-faced guy from Westchester, studied film at SUNY Purchase and did production work on some movies, most notably Todd Haynes's Poison, before landing a gig as the producer of the Hedda Lettuce cable show several years ago. Connections there led him to people who were making the transition from phone-sex lines to the burgeoning world of sex on the Internet. He kept hearing the same complaintsóthat the sites were run by clueless, mostly straight guys who kept reusing old photos and didn't include enough gay material. Fair had found a niche. "I thought, 'Hey, I know guys who will take their clothes off,' " he recalls.

He enlisted a photographer and started dickmag.com and guycds.com, two sites that sell gay pornographic images wholesale to other porn sites, and nycguys.com as well. The idea for apartment21.com—so named because "all the good names were taken" and the number 21 "sounds young but legal"—evolved naturally, Fair explains. "The live-camera thing is really what was working for people," he says.

A business partner whom he doesn't identify rented the apartment21.com space in a secret Chelsea location. The office for Fair, Sean the photographer, the video-camera operator who doesn't want his name printed, and Albert, the all-around assistant, is located a few steps away. It's an airy space with an exposed-brick wall painted electric turquoise, matching the three iMacs and the small table at which interviewees get interrogated about their fantasies and fetishes. Curious contenders were lured in by ads in local publications and by palm cards bearing a photo of a guy in soaking wet tightie-whities and the challenge: "What would you do for free rent in NYC?"

"They will literally put out," is what the jaded Fair says he learned. "It's pretty stunning how willing people are," he says. "The balls that it takes to do any of this is so not who I am." But he had a feeling there were at least a few exhibitionists out there. "I knew it would work, but I didn't think the response would be as high as it was." Over the course of four Saturdays and one Tuesday, he says, about 50 men came in to answer questions about their sex lives and submit to a "screen test," which involved disrobing and masturbating in front of a still photographer, a videographer, and, of course, the Webcams.

Fair believes that if the response to apartment21.com indicates anything, it's the state of the rental market in New York city.

"Straight guys call up. I tell them it's about having sex with men, and their response is, 'How big is the apartment?' They're thinking about it."

The Chelsea space houses the soon-to-be-infamous apartment—two bedrooms, a soothing blue retreat for one person and a sexy crimson lair for two; a living room with two purple sofas and a zebra-patterned rug; and a small kitchen and bathroom. They started with a total of five Webcams mounted throughout the place; now they're up to seven. Fair says they keep thinking of new spots that need one. "The idea is that you really can't hide," he says. There are two cameras in the bathroom, one on the shower and one pointed at the toilet ("Not in the toilet," he explains. "That's for straight people").

In the office area, at the bright blue table, a recent stellar interview with the polo-shirt/khakis-clad Nate has made him a strong contender for a spot in the first six-month round. During the question-and-answer period, they touched on everything from his job (temp worker) to his relationship with his father ("very tense") to details of his most recent exploit (mutual blowjobs with a guy in the bathroom at Pyramid) to his masturbation patterns ("Well, it's been about three days . . ."). Why did he want to live in the apartment?

"It's intriguing," he said, raising his eyebrows and giggling devilishly (that'll play great on camera). "I have two sides," he told the mesmerized interview duo. "There's Nate the good boy, but then there's another side of me that I like to explore."

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