People just assume I’m an extrovert because I crack jokes all the time. I must be the most entertaining person to hang out with. Oh, you have front row tickets to a strip club? Yeah, I’m not your girl. I realize that my regular readers are probably tilting their heads at the screen in confusion, much like my dog does when I ask if he would like me to get him a pet sloth.
I like strippers, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not the girl who wants to be dragged on stage, or for that matter, have her hand jammed down your thong. I don’t dance, I don’t like the spotlight, and I definitely don’t want someone like me properly hiding in the back to be making fun of me. It’s sort of a curse of the trade… the knowledge that there is always someone making snarky comments at you.
For being a fan of many artists and athletes, I suck as a fangirl. I was recently reminded of this in my Facebook writer’s group, when someone added hot poet Tyler Knott Gregson to the pack. What ensued was a frenzied storm of hormones and cabernet as 20 women contemplated whether this meant we would get to touch his hair if we held a retreat. Of course, if I ever did meet him, I’m sure all I would be able to say is, “Hi. I like words. You good at words. Hair. Horny.” But online, I got game.
One of the worst fangirl experiences was when I was newly married. Go figure. My ex, Dick (not his real name but it may as well have been), took me to Montreal for my birthday to see my Detroit Red Wings. I knew that visiting hockey teams always stay at the Marriott in Montreal, because I’m a stalker, so that’s where I booked us. Sure enough, as we were heading out to dinner, we saw several players in the lobby. Dick wanted to go say hello, but I refused. He wanted to wish them luck the next night. I wondered why the hell they would care what some suck-up lawyer and his wife had to say when surely they were heading to a strip club or steakhouse or Roots. Dick insisted, so as he started walking, I ran and hid behind a pair of topiary swans. He pointed over in my direction and the players waved at me. I stuck my hand under the swan’s neck and waved back, before bolting down the stairs into the parking garage to hide, and hopefully to die by carbon monoxide asphyxiation.
The humiliation didn’t go away. By the time we returned from dinner and were waiting for the elevator, my shade of scarlet had faded to a slight barely-ripe strawberry. The elevator doors opened, and standing in front of us were Stanley Cup champions Chris Osgood and Martin Lapointe in the elevator. Dick started to step on, but I froze like a deer in headlights and my mouth dropped. I ran for the garage again. Dick told me they started laughing at me. That didn’t help my fragile psyche any, but then again, Dick never did.
After I got divorced, my psyche recovered a little bit. My next close encounter with a hockey player was at a tapas bar I frequented with my fellow divorced friend Meghan. I had developed quite the go-to pick-up line, but never had the guts to actually use it. Meghan had no problem, because she was the ideal wingperson. We were at the bar in our usual corner location when a group of hot, athletic-looking men came in. My Swedishdar was triggered, and Meghan picked the beefy blond to ask, “Excuse me, are you Swedish?” No, half-Norwegian. Close enough. But sadly, he was surrounded by a few woman 10 years younger and wearing 10 inches shorter clothing. While I sat and drowned my sorrows in my 5th Beck’s, I overheard a French accent next to me. Meghan asked where he was from. “Montreal.” Oh, hello! You have my attention now. He was a hockey player, and looked very familiar. We started talking hockey, and I said I was a Red Wings fan. He said he played for Detroit. Still, stupid me, thought he was just being a player and didn’t get it. Later that night, I Googled and realized, I just met Mathieu Dandenault, two-time Stanley Cup winner from Detroit. I had no idea he was playing in Connecticut so it didn’t make sense to me. I saw him there several more times over the winter and he always said hello. Eventually I apologized for not recognizing him, not that he cared. I even got a kiss on the cheek from him. A Red Wing. Suck on that, Dick. Of course, I ruined it one night when I was really drunk and decided to walk behind him and grope as I walked by. Not subtle. No game in person.
In the five or so years since then, I shut down my social life. I’ve barely dated. I lost my wingperson to marriage and family. I gained too much weight to keep my self-esteem in the place where I could grope former idols. I pretty much keep to online stalking.
This past July, I went to the Tennis Hall of Fame tennis tournament in Newport, RI with my friend Carly, as I usually do. This year they were inducting the sexiest man to ever play tennis, Marat Safin, into the Hall of Fame. The reason tennis porn (see here) exists. The Dirty Russian himself. I will pause now, so you can admire him:
It was the hottest, most humid day ever, which was fitting. It usually is very humid, so I dress for comfort at this event, not for attraction. When the ceremony ended and before the two matches started, we ventured into the Hall of Fame itself, which is the only air conditioned part of the grounds. After a grueling 3 hour drive in a convertible in traffic and 90 degree heat, plus alcohol, I was ready to pass out. Later on, I almost did, but that’s not relevant. We walked through the museum to cool down and to use the nice non-portapotty bathrooms. I stopped to pose like I was groping the photo of Marat, which was at the top of the stairs. We tried about 35 takes to not get me looking fat or ready to spontaneously combust, but it wasn’t working. A Japanese tourist and her boyfriend stopped to watch me, because surely she thought it was a great idea. She did seem annoyed that I was taking so long to molest his photo. Next thing I knew, someone came running up the stairs to my right, shouting “I need AC! I need AC!” And there, in a rush of sweaty pheromones and stale Russian cigarette smoke, was Marat. Rushing past me (Russian past me..a pun!) and laughing at me because it was so obvious what I was doing. And I’m not a twiggy model, so it was more pathetic than amusing. I give you Exhibit A, taken right after this humiliation:
I’m not sure I’ll ever get over this feeling of insecurity at being acknowledged as a fangirl. I suppose if there’s ever a day I get famous enough to do a book tour, someone may want to touch my hair. Or more likely my boobs. Yes, they’re real. But I still think it’s weird.