This is a detailed account of my high velocity decent into a world of music where the sugar coated ballads are generated by a computer, coveted by tweens, and sung at alarmingly high pitches by angel-faced-man-boys. This is how it took a week and a half to completely erode my semi respectable taste in music and turn me into a raging, swooning, full on fan-girl.
Believe me, I never meant for this to happen. My addictive personality makes me abnormally susceptible to trends, fads and crazes. Having come to recognize this in myself, I am extremely cautious when it comes to anything that could potentially end up with its own doll, or on the front of a lunch box. So, as the grumblings of a second coming of boy bands began, I censored myself and limited the amount of information I took in. In an attempt to maintain my relevancy, I got a peek here and there of the boys, caught a couple of their names but made a point to avoid analysing how long it might take them to style their hair or squeeze into their skinny jeans. I revelled in my strength and even permitted myself to watch their Saturday Night Live appearance. Nothing special; potential crisis averted.
That is until I received a text from my friend Jen. Jen recently earned her Bachelor’s of Business and has aspirations of running a non-profit organization. She always remembers to turn the stove off when she is done cooking and knows better than to accept a ride from a stranger. Despite the fact that she is an intelligent, self aware and bright young woman, Jen is not impervious to the charm of a boy band and a British accent. So, she messaged me saying that she has an extra ticket to this concert and needs a friend. She assured me that I did not have to share in pandemonium or even pretend to enjoy myself. I just had to be there to make sure she didn’t get trampled by preteens or their overbearing mothers, and to remind her to hydrate in between songs and fits of hysteria. I, reluctantly, agreed.
I make the commute from my office to the venue feeling strong. We join the throngs of people gravitating towards the concert like zombies… eerily perky zombies. Complete assimilation is impossible as our weather appropriate outfits and lack of body graffiti betrays us and reveals our true age. The ear piercing shrieks and mile long line to the bathroom ensure that I remain sour and the opening acts make me feel like I am at an elementary school talent show. I make eye contact with a couple of Dads as we collectively scour the grounds for a beer tent, without success.
The stadium begins to rumble, the tension and excitement becomes palpable as 16,000 hormone crazed fans can no longer stand the suspense. They’ve spent their babysitting money and they are ready for a show. The rhythm starts slowly, effortlessly teasing and titillating the crowd. It is a matter of seconds before I feel my heart beating in my ears, in sync with the roaring chants and in time with the music. Five bodies materialize on stage. They are perfectly styled, perfectly suave and perfectly legal (I checked). Their first song, like all their songs, is rich with clichés and oozing just the right amount of corporate-calculated lust. It takes exactly one hip thrust from the curly-haired one and I come undone. I am shocked, mostly at my quick unravelling, but also at how gracious and surprisingly talented they are. Their charm seems to come naturally and pairs well with their boundless energy. In the absence of my self restraint or a beer tent, I drink the Kool-Aid. And I like it.