I went to bed last night feeling quite pleased with myself for actually proceeding with this experiment. Just as I drifted off, my mind decided it wasn’t quite done and directed a few stomach flip-flops. “Are you sure you want to talk about being in fandom?” it asked. “Because people will know.” This touched off a bizarre feeling; you know, the one you get when you’re arguing with yourself and think you just might have finally gone around the bend. “People will know WHAT?” I thought furiously. This transpired in my head and not out loud, so don’t worry.
Blogging about fandom will be an official acknowledgment of being a fan. I’ve always been the reluctant variety with only a few like-minded people aware of my particular hobby horse. I once was a fan of a particular actor (a mystery man!) and found an outrageously expensive autographed framed photograph of him. Anxious to break out of my careful predictable mindset, I decided to take a spontaneous risk and buy it. (Trial and error and a lot of sleepless nights over other actions later taught me that spontaneity and risk taking did not mean what I thought it did.) As soon the squeeing stopped, I wondered what to do because I didn’t want anybody but close friends to see it. So this costly piece of foolishness lived in the closet, literally, for years because I might be fingered as a fan.
This is probably a generational fear. I grew up during the heyday of the Trekkies, the biggest fandom at the time. These followers of Star Trek had a reputation for being rabidly devoted and a bit bonkers. They were known to ask actors on the show impossible questions: “In episode 4 of season 2, when you fought that Klingon while being taken over by a Vulcan parasite, what were you thinking?” This image was widely publicized by an infamous skit on Saturday Night Liveskit where a total dork’s ridiculous questions sparked a rant by William Shatner to “Get a life!”
I dreaded being perceived as being like That Guy. I couldn’t be taken seriously in my profession if people thought I was That Girl. Of course over time I discovered this was a stereotype and fans ran the gamut of enthusiasm and sanity. Now days, easy internet access has caused an explosion of fandoms. There are many magazines, websites, and entertainment programs dedicated to celebrity watching. The cult of celebrity is huge. People readily talk about their favorite show or person. Nobody cares as long behavior is kept within a reasonable parameters. So, I won the argument with, erm, myself. It’s okay people will know. I’ve done nothing for which I should be ashamed. I’m not running for political office. It’s no big deal.
Last year my sitter came to watch my dogs while I was away. In my haste to leave, I forgot remove a picture of another actor (another mystery man!) from my desktop and turn a large picture calendar to the wall in the den where she would be staying. I noticed when I returned that the calendar had been turned to the wall. ‘Oh,” I exclaimed in embarrassment. ‘Hey,” she said. “That’s a nice picture but I had to turn it around. Every time I looked up from the bed, there he was staring at me!” That was the beginning and end of it. So much for her knowing.
I’m considering leaving a picture of RA on my desktop to see what she thinks. Notice the smooth segue. I might become good at this.