Mausoleums and Zac Hanson – response to a fangirl’s confessions, from another fangirl.
The thing is, I’ve touched on this. I’ve touched on it, fluttered over it, shat on it and tickled it. I’ve been ultra cool about it. Kind of like that way you walk by a guy you like with feigned swagger as if you’re the enigma he’ll never have, even though the force of the infatuation you’re suppressing could destroy a small village. I’ve used it in simile form, and haughtily as an ironic reference. By “it”, I mean my ex-Hanson fandom. By fandom, I mean obsession. By ex, I claim to refer to my teenage years, but what I really mean is current. Adult. Present. Now. … that’s not entirely true, but then again nor is the way I dismiss my Hanson fandom as a prehistoric reference point, good only for cutesy throwbacks and self-aware one-liners. Today, I stumbled across an article written earlier this year by the brilliantly honest and funny Jenny Zhang. After divulging the beautifully gory details of her Hanson fangirl days, she hit a curiously tender nerve that got me thinking. It never goes away. It can’t, you see. That was when the nostalgia hit and the butterflies popped a hole in my tummy. I charged to my room and rifled through a box labeled “old shiz”. I found gaudy adolescent love letters (stay tuned; they’re going on blast at some point), souvenir mane tufts from ponies-past, and photographic evidence of the time(s) I sported “grandpa pants” at music festivals. But I was really just looking for a stack of floppy disks and a single VHS tape (kids: VHS tapes are the USB stick’s pungent grandpa, and floppy disks are frisbees). I guess a former shame-ridden version of myself pre-empted this very moment and opted to banish them to the big green bin, because they were nowhere to be found. Those floppy’s were fully loaded with countless chapters of Hanson fan-fiction: stories I composed, starring me as the soulmate of, like, all three of the Hanson brothers. The A-story was generally some kind of love tussle between Zac Hanson and yours truly. The (missing) VHS was a self-tape of me letting Hanson know that I’d be in the USA soon on a family holiday, and, no pressure, but if they wanted to catch up for lunch or whatever I could totally make that happen. Upon reading Jenny’s artful letter to Hanson’s parents, I was both devastated and relief to find that I hadn’t been alone in my deviously manipulative approach to forcing a Hanson brother to fall in love with me. It wasn’t just the crafty VHS either. At concerts, I’d employ mysterious behavior in attempts to procure an invite backstage and into Zac Hanson’s life. I recall surrendering epic spots in the audience just so that I could stand a few feet away from the crowd. Isolated like this, I’d obviously appear disinterested, enigmatic, ethereal… I would love to be able to tell you that this is all a hazy teen memory to which I no longer relate as a cool adult, but it’s not nice to lie. I created this dreamscape myself, and though I abandoned it for more practical living spaces as I grew up, it’s still like the treehouse in the backyard that never got knocked down. The bubble was never burst. I never met them, and never saw for myself whether or not they were real/regular/breakable people. Zac never personally told me that I wasn’t his soulmate. The sliding door of fantastical possibility therefore never closed. My entire fangirl impression of “Hanson” was embalmed and stored in my mausoleum, which is a fancy word for memory, and you do not fucking burn down mausoleums. See, if Zac Hanson came up to me in a bar today (yeah fantasy world, I’m back) and told me over a casual beer that he was single and totally at peace with that, I do think I’d pop a blood vessel. I’d then employ my best efforts to appear sweet but nonchalant, cooing that my little sister used to be a fan so I’d “heard their stuff here and there”. Whatever it took to maximize chances of becoming his girlfriend immediately. I’d do this shit. Currently. Today. Now. I’m not over it. I do not think that I’d be a cool cucumber if I met them, and I know this because I secretly attended to an event they ran in LA not long ago called “The Walk”. There. I said it. I’m even pretty-sorta-definitely sure there’s a teeny-tiny part of me wondering, what if this very article becomes the raison d’etre of my future marriage to Zac Hanson? I still hang out in the mausoleum from time to time, you see. Not every day, and not with the same glass-shattering intensity that I used to. But once every few months, including right now (thanks, Jenny), I dive back in and swim around in the nostalgia of my teenage longing. The imagination’s fictional creations are fascinating and illuminating, especially those of a developing teenage mind. Of course, the onus is on us to make sure we spend most of our time on the outside looking in, rather than the reverse. But there’s something kind of beautiful (albeit objectively fucked up) about it the embalmed shadows of a teenage obsession. My fangirl mausoleum is beautiful and shiny and I wouldn’t know how to begin to burn it down, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t.
Originally published on The Peach.