Hashtag, ch. 1
Troy downloads the Facets app and opens up a world of possibilities.
Troy was ready to move onto his friends. The lean young jock had tested the app enough to at least be mostly secure in the results. It wouldn’t be a perfect science, but he knew that going in, and the chaos would be half the fun. “Friends” wasn’t the most appropriate label, either. He knew Lance and Duke through his roommate, Blane, but he’d never been fully accepted by the trio. On the surface, he was every bit the fit, handsome jock they were, but as the only gay guy amongst them, he was treated more as a curiosity than as a peer.
It didn’t matter that he’d always been respectful of their comfort level. Troy had never been flirty or handsy with the group, even refraining from the standard “horsing around” that the guys got up to, lest his intentions be misinterpreted. No one else could tell him apart from the rest of the pack just by looking, but instead of helping his case, their similarities only seemed to make it worse. Since no one could make the distinction on appearance or behavior alone, the other three were constantly going out of their way to remind Troy and everyone else that they weren’t like the muscled blonde. None of them were ever violent or excessively cruel, but Troy constantly found himself the butt of jokes and would have his sexuality announced for him whenever they met someone new. And when he wasn’t being mocked or ridiculed, the other three treated him like their surrogate girlfriend, always asking for his advice on fashion, dating, and other stereotypically gay aspects. All of this despite the fact that he wore the same tank-tops and gym shorts that they did, he hated shopping, he didn’t dance, and he’d been mostly single for the past several years. Troy had nothing at all against more flamboyant guys; he just wasn’t one of them.
Unfortunately, he’d never been able to get Lance, Duke, or Blane to see that. As far as they were concerned, he might as well have been a limp-wristed queen in rainbow trunks. Blane went a bit easier on him than the others since they lived together, but the lean brunette was still always on guard. If they caught each other in their underwear in the apartment, Blane could never let it go without making a defensive joke or telling Troy how lucky his timing was, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Troy’s sculpted frame carried more muscle and had a significantly thicker bulge in his boxer briefs. Blane also didn’t appreciate the double standard of having multiple pictures of Duke and Lance’s dicks on his phone. Those were just jokes, “boys being boys,” something Troy wasn’t allowed to be part of even though he couldn’t get away from them. Much to his constant annoyance, the trio was always hanging out in his and Blane’s apartment, not one of the other guys’.
He was fed up. Troy had actually been online looking for other apartments when he stumbled across the app that was about to make everything possible. It started as a small corner ad on one building’s website, but he kept seeing it wherever he went. Small at first, then larger and larger until he was getting full screen pop-ups for some photo sharing platform called “Facets”. He’d never heard of it, or “HB&L”, the company that owned it, but the tagline about each lens creating a new reality was weird enough to catch his attention. The site itself did the rest. Scrolling through the sample feed on the webpage, the photos were almost exclusively of men, and they were men like Troy had never seen before. While some of them were traditionally attractive, others had features and proportions that should have been impossible, and regardless of their size or shape, a general lack of clothing was the common denominator. It was free so Troy figured he’d give it a try, thinking it nothing more than a niche snapchat clone that catered to gay guys. He told himself the warped proportions were clearly just filters, and though he enjoyed jerking off to the feed that first night, he mostly forgot about it. It wasn’t until the following week, when he was riding the train home from the office, that he actually thought to take a picture with it.
The man sitting across from him was stunning. The young stranger had jet black hair, olive skin, a lantern jaw, perfect stubble, and a body that looked like it was chiseled from granite. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, and the man’s thin, blue polo clung to his sculpted torso like a second skin, accentuating every inch of his broad shoulders and prominent pecs. With the stranger’s attention focused on his tablet, it was the exact kind of candid pose that Troy had seen over and over again on the Facets app. Being as subtle as possible, he snapped the picture, hashtagging the photo with “#chestdayeveryday” and “#muscletits.” He still hadn’t figured out how the filters worked but he thought the dark-haired stud was hot enough as is, so he hit the “done” button and posted it anyway.
Troy had to stifle his laugh when the photo loaded in his feed, now showing the man with an absolutely enormous set of pecs. The muscled globes were so large that the altered hunk’s stubble covered chin practically rested on them, obscuring the view of his tablet and everything else below the muscular shelf. Seeing the difference firsthand, Troy was legitimately impressed by the level of detail on the filters. Instead of just magnifying areas of the picture like a cheap photoshop, everything was fully rendered. He could actually make out a pair of inflated nipples poking against the thin material, and see the straining lines in the fabric as it stretched near to bursting across his inflated chest, even as it lifted up and away from his tapering waist, exposing a patch of hairy, olive abs.
It stopped being funny when Troy looked up and saw the altered man from his photo now sitting across from him. The handsome stranger had a wide-eyed look of panic, his granite mountains rising and falling quickly as he gawked at them. Troy was equally stunned. It was impossible. He rubbed his eyes and blinked, looking back and forth between his phone and the shocked, top heavy stud that had suddenly appeared. Even more confusing was how the warped man didn’t start screaming in horror as Troy expected. He was clearly aware that something had happened, but his reaction was much calmer than Troy’s would have been, and neither of the people sitting next to him were acting as if anything had happened at all. The train reached the next stop before Troy could think to do anything other than stare, and he watched the man stagger upright and vanish with the crowd, his pecs looking even larger as the oversized mounds bumped into passing commuters.
At first, Troy was horrified. He didn’t touch his phone for the rest of the night, feeling sick with guilt over what he’d unintentionally done. He kept telling himself it wasn’t his fault, that there had been no warning, and that it shouldn’t have been possible in the first place. He didn’t understand how a person’s body could just change like that, and how no one else acted like anything had happened at all. He started to worry that he might be losing his mind. He wondered if the stress of living with Blane and dealing with the constant harassment had finally pushed him over the edge because he didn’t know how else to explain a man’s chest suddenly tripling in size. After a sleepless night, and not knowing what else to do, Troy went back to the app for answers.
With his recent experience, the ripped blonde viewed the pictures in an entirely different light. They weren’t fun photoshops anymore, they were people whose lives had been irrevocably altered. Looking at a burly man walking down the street in nothing but a pair of panties, his overly petite cock a tiny bulge in the red lace while his plump cheeks hung exposed, Troy didn’t know how to feel. The picture still turned him on, but knowing that it was real, that at that moment there was a burly older man walking around somewhere in public in women’s underwear and no one was even batting an eye, was more than he could wrap his head around. The implications were dizzying. Troy started wracking his brain, wondering if he’d passed someone who’d been targeted by the app and he just didn’t realize it at the time.
That question led to more questions. If the world really did change along with the men in the photos, were the people who took the pictures doing anything wrong? And if everything was so fluid and easily altered, what did concepts like “right” and “wrong” even mean? If something as supposedly concrete as reality itself turned out to be a lie, if there was no foundation to build from, what were the rules? It was too big for Troy. He’d majored in business, not philosophy. He needed things that were practical and tangible, not ethereal concepts of morality and the fabric of the universe.
He eventually settled by convincing himself that If he was willing to accept that Facets was real in the first place, then he didn’t need to feel bad for using it. Clearly other people were and the world kept turning, and looking at the photos in the feed, none of the men seemed to be getting hurt in any way. Troy kept coming back to the idea of the world changing to adapt. If what they photographed became reality, then all they were really doing was taking a picture. The fact that their hashtags directed the changes didn’t matter, so long as the end result was a world that accepted them as fact.
Troy started studying the feed to try and get a better sense of how it all worked. Whatever was happening when someone took a picture, it didn’t appear to be an exact science. Going back to the beefy man in the lace underwear, the photo was tagged #microdick, #allpantiesallthetime, #butchqueen, and #showitoff. Whoever took the photo didn’t include specifics about the color of the underwear, or specifically what they meant by “micro” or “butch,” and yet the end result spoke for itself. Was the man beefy, hairy and bald before? Or did that fall under the label of “butch queen”? Was it based on the photographer’s definition of the tags, or some larger, culturally accepted understanding? And without knowing the man, did his attitude change to match the “queen” part? There was only one way Troy could find out. He surprised himself by how quickly he’d gone from horrified to thrilled at the thought of what he was about to do, but he didn’t stop to think about it for long. He was already too busy planning.
As soon as he’d made up his mind to go through with it, Troy knew he wanted to use Hank as his test subject. He’d never been able to stand his smug coworker. Though they were the same age, Hank acted like he’d never left college. The fit, sandy-haired young man was every bit the stereotypical jock. In the time they’d worked together, Troy had never heard Hank talk about anything other than drinking, fucking, or sports, usually peppering all three topics with a variety of homophobic and misogynistic asides. On top of all that, though he did little more than show up every day, Hank strutted around the office like he owned it, kissing the ass of every manager he could while simultaneously harassing every woman below his position.
The only thing Hank had going for him was his looks. He’d been a baseball player in college, and it showed. With his shaggy mop of golden-brown hair, dimpled chin, and brawny, muscled body, the arrogant young jock had no illusions about how attractive he was. Troy had seen just how impressive the obnoxious hunk truly was in the locker room at the company gym, hating himself for enjoying the view of the other man’s solid, ample rear, powerful thighs, thick arms, and chiseled, hairy torso. Unsurprisingly, Hank was one of those guys who liked to strut around with the towel over his shoulder after a shower, giving everyone a view of his girthy package before casually pulling his boxers on. Covered as he was in a thick layer of curly brown hair, Hank always gave Troy a hard time about his naturally smooth skin, constantly joking that the sculpted blonde hadn’t hit puberty yet.
Troy was all too willing to put the app to the test. He had to be strategic when he took the picture as he couldn’t just walk up to Hank and snap a photo, so he lingered near the breakroom and seized the opportunity when his groggy coworker went stumbling by. Hank was dressed in his usual outfit of tight khakis that showed off his solid rear and a button down shirt that was about a size too small, though soon it wouldn’t matter. Troy was disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to witness the changes happen firsthand, but it would be easy enough to discover if the tags worked.
He hurried back to his desk, his hands shaking as he pulled up Facets and loaded the photo. His cock throbbed as he thought about what was coming, and Troy felt a drunken giddiness wash over him when he started typing. He held the image of the desired results in his mind as he tagged the photo with “#briefboy, #cuteundies, #allundiesallthetime, #manscapedandmoisturized, #gay, #outandproud, #nodrama, #chirpchirpchirp.” Troy had thrown in the last part on a whim as payment for all the puberty jokes, hoping the results would be as ridiculous as he imagined. He held his breath and hit “done,” his heart racing.
The picture that came back was better than he ever could have hoped. Instead of his business casual, or even his standard boxers, Hank now stood in nothing but a pair of small, pale green briefs. The tiny underwear was so thin that every inch of the burly jock’s meaty package was outlined in detail as it was thrust prominently forward, while the back left the top third of Hank’s now-smooth cheeks on display. Every trace of the brunette’s former carpet was gone, showing off his athletic body’s ample definition as he was left entirely smooth from the eyebrows down. More than just smooth, his skin looked soft even in the photo, glowing with the kind of pale radiance that only came from excessive moisturizing.
Troy couldn’t wait to see it in person. He caught his breath and quelled his aching cock, trying to look casual as he hurried across the office. He took it as a good sign that he didn’t hear any shocked or panicked outbursts, his sense of triumph growing when he heard a squeaky, unfamiliar voice coming from Hank’s cubicle. Turning the last corner, Troy was greeted with the nearly-naked man from the photo, and instead of his formerly deep, resonant tone, the exposed jock now had a high, cracking register as he blinked up at Troy with a confused grin.
“Heeeeeeey Troooooyyyy,” Hank had said, drawing out the two words as he gave a flamboyant wave. He’d been in the middle of an animated conversation with the women on either side of his desk, people he normally didn’t talk to unless he was hitting on them.
Troy was speechless. He was having a hard time looking away from Hank’s stuffed, barely-covered bulge and the smooth, meaty thighs on either side. And when he did look away, it was at an unfamiliar cubicle that was covered in rainbow and pride paraphernalia instead of the sports flair the other man used to have. Like with the man on the train, no one was acting as if Hank sitting in his briefs, or his cracking new chirp of a voice, were out of the ordinary.
Troy’s excitement grew throughout the day whenever he passed the cheerful jock. He’d hoped the “no drama” tag would change Hank’s attitude and it clearly had, merging with the “out and proud” to leave the nearly-naked stud as friendly and flamboyant instead of smug and cocky. It was overwhelming, watching everyone interact with the underwear-clad man as if everything was perfectly normal. Even when Hank was walking around with a semi-hard tent, something that would normally be obscured by his khakis, no one said a word. But the true victory came the next day, when Troy saw the new Hank saunter in wearing nothing but his shoes and a pair of lavender bikini briefs that were little more than two tiny patches of fabric. He still had his smooth skin, and he was still chirping cheerfully away with his altered voice about the new face mask he’d tried the night before.
It was the final confirmation Troy needed before he could move on to Blane and the others. His roommate would be first, but it wouldn’t be long before the whole trio had an entirely new outlook.