Monday, May 25, 2009
When Your Celebrity Crush Finds Out
I first met my friend Rebecca after posting about "the Kohl's Guy" (aka Kevin Rice) last fall. She's a huge fan of his so of course she had to introduce herself. In the subsequent months Rebecca has done a bang-up job being a fan, sharing plenty of photos and entertaining content on her blog and also creating a Facebook page for Kevin. I've really enjoyed watching her go down such a path for the first time, having myself blazed that trail ridiculously often.
Recently, through the people who have signed up on Kevin's Facebook page, many of whom are his friends, it became clear to Rebecca that the man had most certainly at some point read her musings about him. Yes, she experienced the "OMG My Celebrity Crush Has Read My Stuff" Moment. There's nothing quite like it, that feeling that is the perfect blend of "oh yay he knows I exist!" and "oh god, he has to think I'm some insane stalker."
Rebecca reacted as all intelligent, well-adjusted, sensible people do when this occurs: She laughed at herself. I've certainly made fun of myself a number of times on this blog for my own romantic ravings about celebrities from whom I have the hots. It's a much healthier and more reasonable reaction than panic or shame. Certainly any celebrity who has run across fan commentary such as this merely smiles, is fairly pleased, and in the case of the humble ones, shakes his head and says, "If only you knew me, honey, you'd find out I'm just a guy."
Still, I know from experience that Rebecca is having the occasional panicky moment of shame. Well, shame is too strong a word: it's really more just embarrassment. I think that springs from the fact that when one writes or blogs about a celebrity crush, one's thoughts are in another world. We interact with our crushes in the realm of imagination. It's not like we filter everything we do and say in that place, keeping in mind that the actual man may someday read it. As much as it seems ironic, when we are most intimately and vividly engaged with our crush, the real fellow is quite far from the picture.
So when suddenly the flesh-and-blood guy pokes his head into the scene, looks around at what we've created, and reacts...well, it can really freak one out.
During my vacation this weekend, I made a pilgrimage to a comic book store in Minneapolis that is a favorite hangout of Neil Gaiman. For one thing, I do like stores like that, and wanted to see this particular, renowned one. DreamHaven is a very cool place in its own right. But my other purpose for the visit was to drop off for Neil a copy of the comic book I wrote, which includes reference to his inspiration as a comic book writer, and a copy of my collection Soulful Sex: The Darker Side which was dedicated to him.
This isn't the first time I've given a celebrity a book dedicated to him...I actually hand delivered my book Living Beyond Reality to the then-famous hockey player to whom it was dedicated. That was a scary and thrilling time. Meanwhile, I also sent Les Stroud a copy of the book that contained my story dedicated to him ("Spacewrecked with Joel Fennimore," Soulful Sex: The Science Fiction Collection), and it's weird to think he's read it.
The funny thing about this situation is that I'm not at all sure these books will ever be cracked open by Mr. Gaiman. For one thing, it would involve Greg (the owner of DreamHaven) actually remembering to give my package to him on a future, rare visit. And for another, it would require Neil to take the time to open it and look. And gifts from fans arrive in his hands every day, I'm sure.
So to be honest, I really simply went through the motions of this delivery in a ceremonial way; that is, just to go through officially with the dedication of the book. I certainly have no expectation of someday getting an email from Neil or even Greg about the matter. Which is fine with me.
Still, I can't say I haven't gone through the exercise of imagining Neil stretched out on his couch, reading my book by the amber light of one lamp, saying to himself, "Wow, I like this!"
That's just the kind of thing dreamers like me and Rebecca do. Much to our occasional, good-natured embarrassment.