Between yesterday’s Black Friday shopping trips and Thanksgiving leftovers, I was gleefully scrolling through Twitter to follow the social media smack talk between current reigning Brit boy bands One Direction and The Wanted. It’s not that I’m a rabid fan of either. Okay, so I’ve had One Direction’s Take Me Home on repeat for a week and Max from The Wanted could totally get it. (I mean…) BUT. I don’t know all their names or birthdays or favorite movies. My investment was almost purely nostalgia-driven. After all, there was a time not so long ago when two American five-member boy bands tangled daily over the top TRL slot and the hearts of fangirls all over the world.
If you were a kid, pre-teen, or teenager in the late ’90s/early aughts, you had two choices:
You were either a Backstreet girl or an *N Sync girl.
Guess which one I am.
Here in 2012, the rivalry has cooled off to the degree that me (*N Sync forever) and Kim (Backstreet Boys 4 lyfe) can actually hang out and run this blog together. Our friend Angel, that powerful musk ox, knows which side of the boy band fan line we each stand on and suggested we each write a post defending our choice. The point of this exercise is to share our never ending love for our chosen boys and not to bash the competition. Because we are ladies, goddammit, and will conduct ourselves accordingly. Look for Kim’s Backstreet post later today.
I didn’t choose *N Sync. *N Sync chose me.
While the rest of the country got hammered on the VP Debate drinking game (“Every time Biden says ‘Malarkey,’ drink!” “Every time Biden makes a Jim Halpert face into the camera, drink!” “Every time Ryan says something completely insane about beans or whatever, drink!”), I was slowly making my way into Radio City Music Hall, behind streams of be-sequined college students. Being an amateur anthropologist of and willing participant in teen fandom culture, I wasn’t surprised by any exhibited behaviors: painfully loud group singalongs, taking countless selfies with marquee, “Omg, is Demi here? What was her last tweet?” The excitement was palpable. The Jonas Brothers are back, ya’ll.
Hi everyone. I’m Sage, I’m 29 years old, and I love the Jonas Brothers.
You remember them, right? Former Disney darlings, beloved by the First Family. Nick, the youngest – a serious-minded prodigy. Joe, the middle – goofy/swaggering frontman. And Kevin, the oldest – earnest and endearing. I started fangirling them during their period of ubiquitousness: late 2008/2009. Luckily my roommate felt the same way and our DVR quickly filled up with talk show appearances, performances at awards shows, and more Disney Channel than anyone should ever watch. I think they’re funny and good-hearted. Their music is catchy, and has clearly grown and developed with each album. They work incredibly hard and kill it live. Oh, and fine. They’re also pretty cute.
They’re all in their 20s. Please don’t call the cops.
If we’re IRL friends, then you probably know this about me already. I refuse to be embarrassed about liking a band just because I could have babysat every member. Isn’t that also true of my peers and every boring-shit, indie outfit out there?
Is it because we’re girls? Because we’re girls who sometimes like to dress sparkly and singalong to pop love songs? The extreme hatred of bands like Jonas or One Direction and the people who love them has always had the whiff of misogyny. And the most common “insult” thrown at these guys is usually, ding ding ding!, you guessed it: “THEY’RE SO GAY.” We don’t begrudge you your toys and comics and video games and formulaic, juvenile action movies. They’re a callback to your childhood, right? And something you share with your friends? Fucking great then! Enjoy, with my compliments. I came to last night’s show straight from New York Comic Con, where it warmed my cold, dead heart to see so many fanboys and girls in their element. Real life very often sucks. Even if I don’t get it, I support your escapism, wherever you find it.
The Jonas Brothers played for nearly 2 straight hours last night. New songs, old songs with new arrangements, covers, mashups. With longtime band members and new ones. My ears are still ringing. And for that two hours, I was blissfully unaware of my problems and in the moment. And if you have a problem with that?