Adventures in Fangirling
Could there have been a better day? I think not.
Fangirl Friend (hereby referred to as FF) and I got an early start thanks to a very, very good friend who was willing to take both my girls for the entire afternoon. FF and I got to our destination, caught up with each other and just killed some time. Then it was time to go meet more fangirls. They had arranged to gather at a restaurant, and we were joining them.
We soon realized we were minor league fangirls. They had the shirts. Bumper stickers. And glow sticks. The glow sticks were of the utmost importance. Some had come from the tippy top of the state, and this was not their first concert. They were diehards. Several were also quite a bit older than us. Maybe that’s what happens when a group is publicized only on public television.
Off to the venue. FF debated whether or not to get a program, and ultimately decided to go for it. We gazed at the images, studied the song list, and waited patiently for the concert to begin.
The concert itself was not what we expected — it was better! Their singing was even more amazing live than it was on the DVD! We laughed, we squealed, we woo-hooed, we sighed dreamily. We also learned that at least one member wears smiley-face boxers beneath his kilt.
After the concert, what were two fangirls to do? We knew the group was meeting those who paid a pretty penny to get up close and personal with them, so we decided to mosey around the building. You know, maybe see if we came across any tour buses…
We walked around the arena. The area around us just kept getting darker. I looked down a very wide alley. FF hesitated. I pointed and said, “That looks like a bus.” We trekked on. Passing us were those we’d heard talking about the meet and greet at the restaurant — a good sign.
We approached a gated area and saw not one, not two, but three buses. I looked down the sidewalk and smiled. Jackpot! Creepy stalker people. (Not really. Because they were a lot like us. And we’re not creepy at all.) I dragged FF along to join them.
We were in the company of several others, and we struck up a lively conversation with a mom, her daughter and her daughter’s friend. (Cool mom, letting the girls stay up to stalk like that. I hope I’m that cool when I grow up.) As we laughed and chatted and waited peacefully to catch a glimpse of the group, up walked some rent-a-cops. “Time to go,” they announced. “They won’t be coming while you all are here.” They pointed across to the other side of the buses, and we walked over… But no one really left.
FF looked a little concerned. She was a few feet behind me, standing very still. She was worried about disobeying a direct order — security had asked us to leave, and I wasn’t showing any signs of compliance. I couldn’t. How could we leave when we were this close to where they had to go before they left??
A large portion of the group had moved up closer to an exit near the equipment truck. There was some commotion. I squinted toward the dimly lit area that the people were beginning to cluster around.
“IT’S RYAN!” I exclaimed.
And indeed it was Ryan Kelly, outside greeting the fans. I turned and waved FF forward — we were going to see him. Possibly even touch him. I pulled out my camera to prepare it for having my picture and FF’s taken with Ryan Kelly.
That was when the little red battery popped up on my display screen. Then the screen went black. Not long after that, I remembered I hadn’t put the extra set of batteries in my purse. Disappointment flooded my soul. I was even more crushed when Paul Byrom and Keith Harkin came strolling out, merrily signing autographs and posing for pictures, just as Ryan was.
Then I realized where I was. I was up against the little barrier that the security personnel had put up when they figured out that the fans weren’t leaving, and that the objects of the fans’ affection were going to be gracious and spend time with them. It didn’t matter that my batteries were dead, they were coming our way. FF got out her program. I prayed that I wouldn’t pee my pants.
Ryan had a Sharpie marker in his hand. FF asked for an autograph, he signed her program, and then posed for a picture that I attempted to take of them with her phone. (You can see their pearly whites pretty well, and that’s about it.) Then I looked at him. No camera to take a picture. No program for him to sign… No problem.
FF and I also each got a hug from Ryan. Hugs. From Ryan. FF could only blink in awe and wonderment.
Paul was next. Paul, who is strikingly good looking up close and personal. Paul, who is also funny and charming. He signed FF’s program. He used. my. pen. Mine. He touched it. He hugged FF. He hugged me.
Along came Keith, his shaggy blond hair still soaking wet from his shower. FF, who was regaining her senses, asked him if he’d gone surfing earlier that day. “Yes,” he replied. “Where?” she asked. He replied that he’d been a mere 20 miles north of us. FF had a conversation with Keith.
My camera showed signs of life, so I attempted a picture of FF and Keith, but the screen went black again. I got my hug from Keith, and then asked him to hug FF since the picture hadn’t worked out. He obliged. He also stood for many pictures with several teeny fans. Adorable.
Then they were off. We had the opportunity to speak to the producer who put the group together, and we waited a while longer to see if the other two members were going to come out, but really… We were quite content with what we had! Autographs. Clothes that carried the scent of three talented and good-looking Irish tenors. Amazing memories.
Good times, good times.