The current TV ad for Boy Butter, a personal lubricant targeting gay customers, is dubbed “The first gay infomercial.” This amusing infomercial-style ad presents a shirtless guy standing in his kitchen wearing only an apron while raving about “the wonder of the product,” complete with a demonstration of a cucumber engaging in an unseemly act with a laundry sock.
The man behind the Boy Butter brand is Eyal Feldman, a 37 year old Israeli from New York who decided to take on the embarrassment and stigma surrounding sexual lubricants, and for him the secret is the packaging. “Boy Butter packaging is meant to evoke that traditional down-home American butter containers found in every super market and grocery store,” Feldman says. “This is my schtick, adult products in food packaging, because no one is ashamed of buying food, it’s just visually more palatable.”
The comic infomercial that followed seemed like a natural step. “We came up with the idea because it would make people smile, and if you use humor it can be very effective,” Eyal explains. “For right now we are airing this commercial in our two largest markets, NYC and Los Angeles on LOGO and nationally on OutTV in Canada during the next 12 more weeks.”
Born in Israel in 1977, Eyal’s family moved to America in 1980 to join relatives in the US in one of the major waves of Israeli emigration to the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, which today has one of the highest populations of Israeli expats in the world. “I was growing up speaking Hebrew and English at home,” Feldman recalls. “My father and his partners found success in the manufacturing of custom picture frames with a factory that catered to individuals, casinos, museums and galleries worldwide. My sisters and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel almost every summer with my parents for up to a month to Israel for camp, outings and family visits, especially with my grandparents and cousins in Ramat Gan and my large extended family living throughout the country.”
At 16 Feldman came out as gay, and two years later he left home to study at the University of California in San Diego. He entered the “gay industry” in 2000, shortly after he moved to New York City, when he started to work for an alternative fetish-oriented clothing brand, “Nasty Pig.” After noticing a trend in the personal lubricant industry he came up with the idea for Boy Butter and decided to go for it. “I’m employing a tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy,” he says, “this food theme of Boy Butter allowed for a wider reception in the marketplace to women and beyond. With a little investment, I was able to obtain the original formula for Boy Butter, and branch off into other formulas like You’ll Never Know it isn’t Boy Butter, Boy Butter Clear and still others. Twelve years later we have released dozens of different products, sold all over the world, including in 300 Walgreens stores around North America and we keep churning the butter out.”
Feldman is celebrating 10 years with his partner in April. They share a home with two cats right now but are open to the idea of having kids in the future. Despite his busy schedule, he also considers himself an outspoken advocate for Israel, and dedicates himself to educating people about his homeland. “I attend street rallies by myself or with friends and other supporters of Israel,” he says. “On the streets, in marches, carrying signs and making my voice heard. I will even don a suit and tie, travel down to Washington DC, attend AIPAC conferences, study, research and debate the issues pertaining to Israel, lobby my congressman and senators to help keep Israel strong.”
Feldman also makes sure to visit Israel at least once a year, and being a gay man, for him it’s much more than just keeping in touch with the family. “Tel Aviv has an excellent gay scene, a strong sense of community, a lot of visible gay families,” he says. “Their events like Gay Pride are legendary and can compete in many ways to the best parties in NYC, or Europe. The gay nightlife sometimes makes me feel like that is what New York used to be like in the 70’s: young, energetic and hip. The thing I miss most is being close to my family in Israel, I always miss the beach, the food, and the good energy, the smells in the air and the instant connection to the deep and long history we have to the land.”