celebrities and rock stars are funny. they are, it's been documented, real people, but there's something about them that is quite surreal. some of them seem to have a disdain for the very thing that allows them to do what they want to do and make lots of cash while they do it, that thing called fame; others seem to not be able to convince themselves that they'd continue to exist in the absence of it. some are humble, others are arrogant, and some act humble but really, you get the feeling that they want to be perceived as being humble but are in fact incredibly self-absorbed and snooty. trying to figure out which one is which can be entertaining. you know, if you're bored or just a nerd like me.
one of the first things i realized, when i got into the music business, was that it is imperative that you act totally nonchalant around celebrities and rock stars; if you geek out or reveal your fandom, it is understood to be very unprofessional. but come on, how realistic is that? how honest is that? it isn't - i'm a HUGE music fan! that's part of why i even wanted to be in radio - i love music and the people that make it fascinate me with their talent (and their luck). it is respectful, though, to NOT geek out when you meet a celebrity or rock star, under the assumption that they shouldn't have to deal with people freaking out on them and their radness when they are "working". at first i tried to be nonchalant around them, and i'm sure i WAY over-acted the part in an effort to be taken seriously: oh, james hetfield's here? i need to go make some photocopies. meanwhile, i'm running to the bathroom, because when i get nervous i have to pee. i'm not making photocopies, dude, i'm totally freaking out! james hetfield! no. way.
after a while, though, i figured out a way to be around celebrities and rock stars that felt far more honest to me, but also felt professional. when they come in for an interview or something, i'm polite, i try to talk about normal stuff and i ask them about their work, their families, regular small-talk. and if i'm a big fan and the opportunity arises, i lick their face and start dry-humping their leg when no one's looking. or, i just tell them i think their work is awesome, and leave it at that. that way, i'm being honest about being a fan, but i force myself to reel it in and try to just act like it's another day. kinda ridiculous, but i feel like it's what i gotta do.
after 17 years in this business, MOST of the time, i don't freak out as much and i run to the bathroom far less. there have been, over the years, though, times when i've said "screw this!" i've definitely had moments of throwing all caution to the wind and just going for it - sometimes, i just want to shake someone's hand just to do it, because it's SO surreal. and because hey! this wackadoo celebrity is two feet away, and that is SO TRIPPY! perry farrell! ed mcmahon! suze orman! ashley simpson-wentz! coolio, for god sakes! sometimes, i have no shame. i'm always extremely brief and courteous, but dude! if coolio was standing there in front of you, would you act like you were thinking about the square root of 176 or would you shake his hand? just because you could? i tend to shake, if i can get away with it.
lately, though, something has changed for me, just a little, deep down where the sun don't shine. while it's still thrilling to be near someone whose work i'm a fan of or someone who has dated natalie portman, that urge to shake their hand just because? it's fading away a little bit. part feeling like i'm 36 and really, shouldn't i be able to show a modicum of self-restraint? part now that i'm a mom i don't have time to care that much anymore and my underwear is probably on inside out because i hardly have time to get dressed in the morning anyway, part who knows? maybe it's the realization that they really are real people. maybe i'm too busy googling "twilight" because wow, i started book one and just thinking about r-patz gives me a thrill. whatever it is, it feels pretty good to me, like i'm on the right path here, like, maybe i am growing up? moby was here at the station yesterday, and while i think he's interesting and intelligent and i've been a fan of his music for a while now, i quashed that urge to bug him. he was in an adjoining studio - i could see his bald head and glasses and serious face, and it would have been ok to walk in there and shake his hand, but i didn't. and it felt good, i felt mature or something, like i'm not that little fangirl anymore. oooh, that made me kinda sad, writing that! maybe i really am growing up! who knows. but, hey, moby? this little bout of self-restraint? this one's for you.