Like soulless Wall Street brokers, despotic politicians or Brett Michael’s bandana, fandoms can seduce you with good looks, fast times and the promise of a retirement funded purely through action figures. Sometimes, though, as good as those looks are and as fun as those fast times can be, we end up regretting our fandoms, wondering what could have driven us to pay 30 bucks for a signed “Charmed” script off eBay or stand in line for hours at a convention just to shake the moist hand of Gil “Buck Rogers” Gerard. At the time, though, those actions don’t seem crazy. It’s only in retrospect that we perhaps come to regret what we’ve done and vow never to speak of it again.
Unless of course you’ve got a nerdy blog.
I’ve made some poor choices in my lifetime. I wish I could chalk them all up to youthful indiscretions, but that would be disingenuous. Plus, I don’t think when I was watching “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” as a junior in college I could still be counted as “youthful.” If only...
Yes, poke around in the dark recesses of my fangirl past and you’ll find several Menudo cassette tapes -- in both Spanish and English. I was in middle school and, quite possibly, the only suburban white girl in metro Detroit with a passion for the world’s first boy band. (Slightly cross-eyed Roy was my favorite. Dumb as a post but he looked good in glitter.) Although I was alone in my fan-ness, the upside was that I could stock up on Menudo action figures at a shockingly discounted 90 percent off at the local Meijers. The dollar ninety-seven investment hardly seemed worth it, though, when I realized their pants were glued on. I was kind of a weird kid.
Go back even further and we can mock me for a serious love of “Buck Rogers,” although even as a nine-year-old I sensed that a man with thinning hair and a poor relationship with spandex unitards was perhaps not “all that,” as the kids of the future would say. I believe my passion for “Buck Rogers” simply filled the void created by “Star Wars.” Movies only came out every three or four years. “Buck Rogers” came on every week and there were talking robots and space ships...and um, shoddy graphics and...a bird man...never mind.
Then there was The Monkees. I wasn’t around for the original incarnation, but boy, did I get Monkee fever when they made a comeback in the late 80s. Looking back, I try to justify my fervor as a simple appreciation of The Monkees' special brand of cultural satire, but really, I think I just liked Peter Tork. I blew hundreds of bucks of allowance money on concert tickets, magazines (including an issue of “16” that had the best line ever from a washed-up musician, courtesy of Mr. Tork, who said, “I used to be a heroin addict but now I’m just an alcoholic”) and pins. I probably could have bought myself a car or, you know, popularity but I squandered it on ill-conceived memorabilia. I was blinded by the fandom. Naughty fandom!
Which is my long way of saying, do you have any fandom demons in your closet? Things you regret, be it ownership of the entire boxed set of “Xena” or a childhood spent in “Spiderman” underoos? Think of this as Fan AA. We’re all friends here...