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Fangirling is good for you

This is a response to a discussion about a celebrity worship scale which was discussed at the C19 forum, which I happened to sign up to today. They’ve got all sorts of goodies there, like book and history discussions and Jane Eyre fanfic – squee!

I was thinking… there is a condition called “erotomania”, which is essentially, crazy stalker syndrome. They’re the ones who are infatuated with someone (celebrity or not), and truly believes their love is reciprocated. Saw a documentary about it, it was rather unsettling. But that’s a specific thing, and everyone’s a fan of something to a certain degree, and most of us can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and most of us (I hope) know how to behave toward the person we are a fan of. I mean, while we might think that we would get along pretty darn well as a couple with certain celebs, as we seem quite similar in many ways, we know it’s never going to be, and we would never do anything stupid like become a stalker and convince ourselves that he’s the perfect man for us, he just needs to get to know us to realise it… because in my book, that would be over-stepping a whole lot of boundaries.

I’m quite happy to be a fangirl, boring my friends to tears by rambling on and on about whatever I’m fangirling over at the moment (currently, Richard Armitage and Gisborne – occasionally interrupted by Mr. Rochester and Sam Neill or Ken Olin) and do things like buy their films on DVD, signed photos on eBay and drool over pictures online. When we went to London a few months ago, I went to a wine merchant and bought a couple of bottles of wine from Sam Neill’s vineyard, as they’re the UK importer and it’s one of those things which you “have” to do as a devoted fan. If there was a fan convention to go to, I’d go there, but I wouldn’t go lurking around people’s houses.

In fact, in 2001, I went to Germany to attend a fanclub party for Thomas Anders (singer of Modern Talking – another thing you might hear me squee about). Every year, there’s a “party” organised by the man himself (or, his people, rather), which you can attend as a fanclub member, and meet him in person, have your picture taken, get an autograph, ask questions and hear him sing and such. I’ve been to two and it was great fun! Anyway, some other female fans and I were walking around town, and one of them knew where the guy lived. It was a place which I had passed with one of them earlier that day. We just went past the apartment building, going “squee, this is where he lives!” when all of a sudden, his wife comes out to walk the dog. She’s obviously used to seeing fans hang around, as she told us he would not be coming down to greet us, because they had friends over and he had a bit of a cold. My reaction (and luckily, at least two of the three other women in the group) was that of “Huh? Wait a minute, waiting? o.O We’re not waiting for him to come out at all. We were just passing! We’re actually off to have dinner somewhere, if we can find a decent restaurant!” She was quite happy to talk to us and even suggested a few restaurants which we could visit, and seemed so relieved that we weren’t the usual group of clingy fans. I dunno, it just stuck with me.

I feel quite strongly about the whole stalking business. It doesn’t matter if I feel like I’m someone’s biggest fan – it doesn’t give me the right to trespass! If I am not personally acquainted with them, I have no right to hang around their house all day and night, to knock on their door, lurk in their garden or anything like that. It’s wrong! Not just that, I would absolutely HATE it if someone was to follow me around! Some of the fans I’ve met, while they’re very nice, I still feel they push it, by appearing at every public place where their hero might be. As it happened, I went to the little town where TA comes from, first time I went to Germany. Very friendly people there, and they took me to see the even smaller part of town where he actually grew up, and showed me the house where his parents still lived. They asked if I wanted them to take a picture of me outside the house, but I declined. I was uncomfortable enough just stopping outside to take a picture! And even then, I only have that picture in my photo album – I didn’t put it on my fan page (which I of course had ;)), because I thought it would be a bit too intrusive.

I’m a worship from afar kinda gal. If I were to bump into a celebrity out on the town, I might go and say hello if I could pluck up the courage to do so, and if it’s someone whose work I really enjoy, and if it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing. I mean, if I bumped into RA, for instance, I would HAVE to say hello and ask for an autograph (but by golly I’d be embarassed to do so!) just so I could ask if he can do a Northern Irish accent. *cough* But yeah… I’d be reluctant do go up to him or anyone else, and if they seemed in a hurry, I wouldn’t want to disturb them. I’m too embarrassed to even write a letter to anyone to say thanks for the work they’re doing. I mean… if they’re like RA, they’ll probably appreciate it, but it’s just… it feels weird to even think about, and it would be too weird to actually type it out, let alone mail it off!

A dose of fangirling does no harm, not to the celebrity or the fan in question. I mean, I get very happy and cheerful with watching pictures, reading interviews, watching fanvids or DVDs and that sort of thing, and surely that’s a good thing? 🙂 No need for medication here!

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on. Might get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

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