So, how to best articulate what happened next with Mr. Crush? The last post described how the fan club enjoyed a boom and a sort of creative nirvana. Things moved along swimmingly (always wanted to say that). Mr. Crush (and his wife) took a sporadic interest in the club. We seemed to go from strength to strength as we traveled to London several more times to see him two more plays and lunch with him. However, underneath it all, things were unraveling.
The reason why brings me to my first axiom of fandom:
Do not learn too much about your crush.
Crushing intrinsically carries a certain idealization of subject. You know the person is human with foibles just like yourself, there is still a sense that this person may be more special than the next. When the veil between subject and fan is pierced, the allure, the specialness dissipates in the face of the person’s frailties. It can be illuminating, interesting, even titillating to learn whether your crush is worth the admiration, but there is such a thing as too much information. Granted, it isn’t always easy to tell how much is too much; by the time you learn that one fact that may be a deal breaker – it’s too late.
In our case, we got to know Mr. Crush all too well. He was not nasty or sarcastic or caustic like my previous crush. Mr. Crush was an affable, likable man but two aspects of his personality wore down the inner circle of which I was a part. First, he was a flake extraordinaire. He wasn’t deliberately rude; he simply marched to the beat of different drummer. When we flew to London for an arranged meeting with him, he stood us up, seemingly having forgotten about us. A few days later, he called the organizer wondering where we were. He arranged a Q &A on his own initiative and then failed to follow through. He was so unreliable, he became a joke and an annoyance in the inner circle. We didn’t tell the rest of the fans although they were aware that events seemed to evaporate. Personally, I was anNOYed. I abhor a flake and would never have one for a friend. But I enjoyed the camaraderie of the group. The club continued, almost in spite of him and then two big things happened.
This brings me to my second axiom of fandom:
Know what qualities you can and cannot respect in a crush.
If certain qualities would leave you appalled, it’s time to walk away. Here is where the telling gets tricky. Let’s just say that Mr. Crush, who touted himself a family man, made an unwise choice at a convention which led a few of us to surmise that he was being indiscreet. A short time later, his wife venting her spleen on Facebook indirectly confirmed our suspicions. Our club blew up. Those who had not twigged were either deeply shocked and left, or sad but resigned. Personally, I had lost interest over the flakiness but the cheating was beyond the pale for me. Ordinarily I consider a person’s private life private. But once I learn things, I cannot un-know them. I cannot condone partner beaters, serial cheaters, bigots, and child molesters to name a few, and cannot admire a person I cannot respect. I could no longer respect Mr. Crush although what he did privately was his own business.
The inner circle was done too. The club limped along for a long time before the listmom jokingly changed its name. The list still exists today but only as token to the past I suspect. Somebody might post once in a blue moon. Upon reflection, it is likely things might not have disintegrated had we kept ourselves blissfully ignorant, more detached and not known Mr. Crush as well as we did. But then again, who knows. Today, I dig just enough to discover whether a person is worthy of admiration (i.e. not a creep as listed above) and stop. As for the rest, I don’t need to know or want to know. I prefer the fan innocence. After all, my purpose in fandom is to have fun.