A glistening smile, a twinkle in your eye

Well, I can smile like that, just give me a try

And I’ve traveled around just to hear you

And your songs don’t leave my mind

So tell me what should I do, to get you to say “hi”

Toby Lightman – “Don’t Wanna Know”

 

Fan – (noun)     1. An enthusiastic admirer of a celebrity or public performer    2. Same as fanatic (noun)  –  a holder of extreme or irrational enthusiasms or beliefs

 

One day, while hanging out on my Facebook page, I noticed someone had sent me an I-M.

Fangirly: “so umm.. Hi, this is so and so, we met the other night at Canal Room, do you remember me?”

Me: “of course I do. We were introduced by whatsisface” (Hence the reason I accepted her friend request)

FG: “Yeah, so umm.. how close are you to whatsisface, I mean, like, are you two, you know, together, cause, like, you seem pretty chummy”

Me: “No. We’re just friends.’

FG: “Oh, cause, I think he’s hot”

Me: “Umm yeah, he’s a good looking guy.. I guess, I just don’t look at him that way”

FG: “Really? Cause I think he’s  HAWT!”

This chick then begins to go in to detail exactly how HOT he is.. and what she’d like to do to him.. prompting me to ask her, nicely, to please stop as he is a good friend, and I find the images she was conveying to be disturbing. And then I unfriended her.

Seriously, I understand liking a performer, whether it’s a musician or an actor. I get the whole ‘fantasy’ thing – I mean seriously, we all have our fantasies. I even get the whole wanting to discuss, among other fans, any particular fantasies one might have. I don’t disparage that at all. What I DON’T get is full on obsession, or the absolute craziness that some fans have where they believe the object of their, shall we say, affection, might in any way respond or make the fantasy reality.

Take for example the woman who, while I was walking down Bleeker Street , with one of my musician friends after one of his shows, propositioned him. The guy, trying to be nice without alienating the fan, turned her down. She proceeded to offer him fellatio, right there, practically getting down on her knees, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET, to prove she was serious.

Really?

How disgusting, never mind degrading!

Once upon a time, I joined a fan site. Now realize, it wasn’t a fan club. I mean I’m a member of the Dave Matthews Band Fan club, but hey, for $35 I get first dibs on seats, and am never in the nosebleed section. What I’m talking about is a site, devoted to one artist.

I had never been part of a ‘fandom’ before and was taken aback, at some of the craziness I witnessed there.

As a disclaimer, I will say this was ONE site. I actually was convinced, after running away from this site to join another one, where the fans were more like me. They liked the guy. Some were a bit overboard, but the crazy was quickly squashed by the sane there – but that first site? Wow. It opened up a window to insanity I never even knew existed.

Exhibit A:

One evening, bored, I decided to wander in to the site’s chat room. There weren’t many folks in there. Just me, and about four other folks, three of whom I had become personal friends with (and am still quite close to today). In wanders one of the ‘crazy’ fans and posts a phone number and writes: “This is his number, anyone dare to try it?”

Two of my friends, not believing this crazy person, tried it. It was the artist’s actual phone number.
I immediately started fearing for this guy – And, hoped he had the sense to change his phone number (he did, thankfully).

Exhibit B:

The lady who swore she was destined to be with this guy because a) her cat shared his birthday and hair color, b) she and her boyfriend broke up the same day she first saw him sing, c) he was really nice to her when she got to meet him – she SWORE he was giving her the eye…

Exhibit C:

The lady, who after meeting the artist, decided that he has to be gay because he didn’t come on to her in her chest revealing, leopard print blouse and too tight jeans – I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the dude’s lack of sexual desire for the woman had nothing to do with him being gay (not that there’d be anything wrong if they guy were – it’s just, that, well, he’s not) rather, it had more to do with the fact that this woman was older than his mother – and she looked more like a supersized ‘Snookie’ than, say, Demi Moore.

Exhibit D:

While on that site, I befriended a group of ladies who had become friendly with the artists’ former band members. They were friendly enough with the band to have been given permission to set up and promote a few shows in the area. Because actually setting up these shows required contracts being signed, arrangements being made for travel, accommodations, etc.. the ladies who were setting up these shows couldn’t divulge information freely until all ‘I’s’ had been dotted and ‘t’s’ crossed.  This, however, was not quick enough for some of the folks on this board. The folks running this board were promised the information would be posted there as soon as all was finalized. One of the moderators on this board decided to publicly denounce these ladies as liars, stating that they didn’t know what they were talking about and were taking the whole board for a ride. She continued to threaten these ladies with all sorts of stupidity and proceeded to spread her ridiculous accusations on other boards.

What proceeded next was a week of hair pulling, name calling and cattiness unlike any I’d ever had to endure before. This was effectively what sent me running in the first place. I mean, as a friend of these ladies, and as someone who was going to be helping out at the events, I did have some knowledge of the work they’d all put in to making these events happen. The folks on the board knew that and in addition to attacking these ladies publicly, I was sent some of the nastiest, idiotic E-Mails decrying my own sanity, stating I was naïve to believe these women and to not come crying to the board moderator once I’d realized I’d been played for a fool . The sheer ignorance of some of the people on this board, folks who would call up potential venues essentially trying to insert themselves into situations they had no business inserting themselves in to, trying to discredit people who were working on creating an event for THEM to enjoy, was horrific. If memory serves my final post on that board was basically me telling them all to kiss my ass.

Now while that experience was bad enough, at least it was, well, virtual. The up close and personal experiences tend to be even more ludicrous. For example, standing with one of the band members, and having him show you a Face Book E-Mail from some chick who’s calling you and your friend “groupies.” Him laughing about it and saying  “Really? Cause neither of you have tried offering me what SHE was offering me the other night – which I declined, by the way. I mean I have standards!” Or, watching your friend get the stink eye from the less attractive fans as they whisper and point to you both because they’re pretty sure one of you is going after the object of their affection (again, wrong).  Or even worse, folks KNOWING you’re friends with an artist and them walking up to that person and saying “I’m friends with Meerkah” in an attempt to either discredit you, or to use your name to get them to maybe befriend the person (what these folks don’t realize is the phone call/text I then get in an attempt to confirm said ‘friendship’ and my immediate response of ‘stay away – stay VERY FAR AWAY’).

I guess, because I don’t see these guys that way, or even when I DO, initially, see them that way, once the fantasy is broken, and I meet them in person, I tend to just see them as the human beings they are. I mean yes, they are very talented people who perform nightly to an appreciative crowd, but sometimes I wonder if the fans themselves don’t expect a bit much from these guys.  They all have personal lives. Their job is to entertain, but once they’re off that stage, shouldn’t their lives be all their own?

Seriously, I’ve seen entire fan groups  have a collective heart attack at the mere mention that the object of their affection might have a girlfriend, or might be getting married and all I keep thinking about is “what? You REALLY thought he was going to marry YOU?” That’s the part I DON’T get. The part where fans seem to think they own the right to dictate the artists’ life.

I’m not going to say that I haven’t been guilty of fantasizing – of COURSE I have. But at some point you’ve got to realize that a fantasy is just that. At some point, you’ve got to realize these are real people, with real lives – Lives that they should be permitted to live in peace without some crazy stalker jumping out at them from the bushes while they’re trying to have some time to themselves; or lives where, if they’re out having dinner with friends, they don’t have to stop mid-bite to take a picture when you know full well, you’ll get your chance later that evening at the show they’re in town for; or lives where their girlfriends don’t get stalked to the point where they give up because your fans are insane.

I think my point might actually be made better by a note that was posted by a fellow fan of one of the artists I follow during one of the crazier times on one of the crazier sites. While this note was originally geared towards one artists’ fan base, I feel it relates to many ‘fandoms’ I have witnessed since then. I am reposting this, with permission, deleting the name of the artist and anyone associated with him that might be mentioned:

Perhaps the saddest reality, is that each and every person here has wasted an inordinate amount of their life on this whole bullsh*t parade.

Herein lies the truth. 99.9% of you will never be able to call “the artist” your friend. (Well you can claim it all you like, but being #23,452 on his MySpace page ain’t gonna make it so!) Hell, I’m going to go so far as to say that another 99% of you will never even have “crew and band members” think of you at all. That’s the real deal folks.

Facts are facts and you can all (and I do mean ALL of you) cry a river of outrage if you want. Friends are made when you actually care to know a person for who they are, not because of what they do or what (scary) you think they are all about.

Fact: “The Artist” is a great artist. Fact: He is actually kinda sweet and does some really great things for the underprivileged around him. Fact: He is a business person and appreciates you as fans who support his music and allow him to do what he loves to do. Fact: He has had girlfriends in the past. He will have them in the future. Not one of them is, or should be your concern. Sorry.

Grimmer reality: Even the “band and crew members” of the world need you for one purpose and one purpose alone. Buy the ticket – take the ride. That’s all folks! We all have a job to do. They sell stuff and make it so that you all have an escape to the lives that clearly aren’t what you’d hoped they’d be. That is all they owe you. They are not here to sleep with you or make out with you or put you on their top ten friends to make your life worth living. In fact, I am quite certain of this. If you happened to have a “lucky” (and I use that word loosely) encounter with any of “The Artists’” extended posse, well good for you (I guess) but ask yourselves the real reason you tried so hard for that “precious connection.”

That goes for all of you who sit here and bash one another. You all struggle to find the thing that makes you special and to have others look upon you as worthy of praise or jealousy. Look inside yourself and realize what is really important. It’s not the cyber-fame that will be with you when you need a friend the most. It’d be those around you who you actually have stood the test of time with.

Trust me on this, fame is fleeting – and by fame I mean real fame – not this crazy board hysteria. When real fame is gone, guess who is left? REAL FRIENDS. That’s who will be there for “the Artist” and every other celeb-du-jour when their star dims. They know this. That’s why they don’t waste time in these cyber palaces of the unholy. It’s why you shouldn’t either.

All of these women being bashed are clearly in need of some good ‘ol self esteem. Yes, it’s sad, yes, it’s more than sad. It’s devastating to those real people in their lives who have lost them to this nonsense. IT’S BEEN TWO YEARS PEOPLE! Get over the insanity, step away from the keyboard and go outside! It’s flippin’ nice out. No excuses! “The Artist” is on vacation and so you all need to take one too – a vacation to the land of Normal, and a return from the land of the loony where you have existed for way too long.

Leave “The Artist” and his friends and employees alone to do the only thing that is relevant. Make the music.

I hope you all manage to get some perspective sometime soon. Sadly, by the time that happens, “The Artist” will announce the next tour. Then I can see the backbiting, eye-gouging and dart throwing shall begin again, just to grasp that 43rd meet and greet pass!!!!

Ok, I have now clearly wasted way too much of my time on you all already, but I thought I’d remind you what reality looks like, as its been way too long a respite for most of you. I’m going off for a run and a nice dinner out with friends. You should try it sometime.

Best of luck to all of you trying to grasp the golden ring of computer coolness. Try not to fall off the horse.

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