Like many teenagers, my oldest daughter has a boy band fascination with a five-member group called Why Don’t We. Admittedly, their music is entertaining, their wardrobes are totally influenced by the 80s and 90s (to which I give a thumbs up), and they are cute and funny, at least when I watched them on the Late Late Show with James Cordon and their brief concert on the Today Show, surrounded by—who else?—screaming girls.
My daughter could tell you so much more about them than I could ever know or would even want to. One of them doesn’t like chocolate; one of them is from Virginia; three of them have girlfriends, etc, etc, etc. In fact, she has gone far beyond liking the band; what she has cannot be reasonably described without using the word obsession. She even started a fan club on her Instagram, currently with 700 followers. Yes, 700 people are following my daughter to see what she will post about Why Don’t We. (I’ve already approved her for employment when I get my book published to create a fan page to attract followers–$1 per ten followers. Yes, you may call me shrewd. I prefer that to devious.)
On Saturday, this boy band will be singing a few songs, signing their newly released books (because they have so much wisdom to share within its pages), and they will be enchanting what I anticipate to be hundreds of impressionable girls one hour away from where we live. At first glance, I thought: maybe. If the weather is crummy and we aren’t going to the corn maze as planned, maybe we could drive up to Tyson’s Corner Barnes & Nobles to get a book signed. Maybe I could browse the shelves and buy something worthwhile for me, and we can be home for lunch.
Ha, ha, ha, ha.
Let’s read the fine print. The doors open at 10 a.m. An undisclosed amount of wristbands will be given on a first-come-first-serve basis (cue tossed halos for devil horns). Those without a wristband will be shuffled behind a roped area for a spectacular view of the back of people’s heads and outstretched phone screens. Those with wristbands will be escorted to the area where they can hear/see the little concert and get their purchased books (gotta buy a book) signed by the band members. The event itself doesn’t start until 2 p.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. At the bottom of the information page, for all those zealous fans, for all those loving parents who think this is a brilliant way to indulge their daughters, it says: do not begin a line earlier than 6 a.m.
My daughter would not flinch about getting up at 4:30 a.m. to leave our house at 5 a.m. to get to Tyson’s Corner mall by 6 a.m. and wait in line for four hours until the doors open for the CHANCE that a wristband might be obtained, then wait four more hours for the event to start, sacrificing an entire day for a scribble on a book and a smile from these boys. She would also promise hours of chores, sacrifice her Christmas gifts, offer her firstborn child—anything to be able to go.
I went online and read several articles about boy band obsessions (starting with the Beatles) and girls waiting in tents and stampeding a mall to see One Direction. My daughter is not alone; she is normal; and according to some sources, this is also a healthy expression of teenage behavior and self-identity (!?!?!).
Now, I almost understand. I think. I may have been willing to do that for Harrison Ford back when I was about thirteen. I had a short-lived obsession with him (although it was really with Indiana Jones), and the only way I could get over it was to promise myself I would meet him one day. I haven’t done that yet. I am sure my parents would not have sacrificed an entire day for me to do that. But, really he was old enough for my mom, so maybe I could have convinced her . . .
As a teen, the closest I came to waiting to see a celebrity was going to see Jason Priestly and Jenny Garth from Beverly Hills 90210 on stage at the Detroit Auto Show. I forgot how long we waited, but it wasn’t all day. And my sister and I got to wave at them from the audience with about twenty rows of fans between us and them. Hi, Jason! Hi, Jenny!
Thanks to my mom, my girls did get a chance to meet an actor they liked from the Teen Beach Disney movies a few years ago. Given that the actor, Garrett Clayton, was from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, he came “home” to put on a play at a high school near my parent’s house. We stayed after for about an hour and a half for a chance to meet him backstage. Yes, memorable and cool. No, not life-changing. Sorry, Garrett.
And sorry, Hannah.The boy band will have to come and go without signing your book. Mama has her limits—and it is well under the fifteen hour commitment for a five-second fantasy. For any of you parents who were suckered into that on Saturday—you have my sympathies, but really only for five-seconds, the rest of the day is yours–or not, depends on how you view it.
So, readers, any of you wait for hours to see a celebrity? Fight crowds for an autograph? Which celebrity would be worth it?