Ruminations on Being a “Fangirl”

xfiles

www.dictionary.com defines being a fangirl as:  A person obsessed with an element of video or electronic culture, such as a game, sci-fi movie, comic, music, etc; a person obsessed with any other single subject or hobby.

I have been a fangirl since the early ‘90’s and the days of The X-Files.  Among other things, I attended conventions with my friends Chrystal and Lauren, had an X-Files screen name for my AIM, and named my black cat Scully. Any magazine with Scully and or Mulder on the cover had to be mine:  No question.  I may have also written some fan fiction during this time, too.  Shush, don’t tell anyone. Oh, and in case you were wondering, I was a “shipper”—I wanted Mulder and Scully together in the worst way!

Later on, I moved on to Hercules:  The Legendary Journeys and Xena:  Warrior Princess.  Again, I hit the convention circuit hard, collected memorabilia, and gathered with “my people.”  I even organized a pre-convention breakfast at one time, and a group once had a marathon viewing/sleepover.

Both of these fandoms helped me meet people during a time in my life when I was almost painfully shy, especially in high school.  I felt like these were people who somewhat understood me and didn’t judge me just because I was quirky.  Remember, this was before Zooey Deschanel made being quirky cool again.

Now, as an adult, I have gotten in the whole Twilight fascination; although, that is the one fangirl thing that I actually mildly regret.  I mean, the books were quite enjoyable, but the horribleness that ended up being the movies kind of killed it, as did all the people obsessing over “K-Stew” and “R-Patz.” However, I was hugged by Kellan “Emmett Cullen” Lutz at a convention, so I’m pretty sure that made it all worth it.  That, and the fact that, again, it brought me enjoyment and bonded me with a couple of friends, so my regrets are minimal.

kellanlutz

And that’s just it.  Being a fan girl has brought me endless pleasure and helped forge friendships.  Now, there are plenty of people out there who think being hard core into something like The X-Files, Twilight or whatever is bizarre or even a waste of time.  I argue that anything innocent that does what being a fan girl has done for me cannot hardly be considered a negative thing (unless, of course, you count the occasional effect on my bank account balance).

Manners—Only YOU Can Prevent Their Extinction!

manners_cartoon

I’ve been noticing something for a while now:  When I say “please” or “thank you” to someone helping me at a store or restaurant, or address an elderly person as “Ma’am” or “Sir,” I often get the strangest looks!  I’ve even had people comment on it, or say that my parents must have raised me well (and they did).  People look at me as though this is something they are not expecting, and I suppose they might not be.  This is what’s sad about the situation—people honestly don’t expect manners anymore.

I’m not trying to imply that I’m the politest, more perfect person in the world.  Far from it.  I can be as moody as the next woman when I’m tired and cranky.  However, I was raised to show basic courtesy towards people around me.  I am also of the belief that it’s a lot harder to be rude and mean than it is to be polite.  As I look around me though, I’m not entirely convinced that this is something shared by a majority of people nowadays.

Think about how amazing the country would be if people made it a habit to use simple pleasantries!  Imagine doing something for someone and ACTUALLY being verbally appreciated for it!  Think about how great you’d feel if you knew the person walking into a store ahead of you would for sure hold open the door until you got through.  All of a sudden, your daily routine isn’t quite as hard to make it through.  Right?

Of course, I’ve been told that some people are afraid that being “overly nice” will result in being taken advantage of. In all honestly, I generally find that it has the opposite effect.  People tend to want to go out of their way for you when you offer a simple “please” with your request.  When you use a reasonable and respectful tone of voice, others tend to respond in kind. I can safely say that my politeness has rarely had the result of me being taken advantage of.  As long as you know when to draw the line and not allow yourself to be taken advantage of, you’re all good.

Now, it might be that you won’t be the beneficiary of the other person’s good will, but perhaps they will be tempted to be kind and or helpful to someone else later in the day.  That’s a bonus, too!  Just a little something to think about.

Why Rex Reed Deserves the “Jerk of the Week” Award

Melissa+McCarthy+18th+Annual+Screen+Actors+KzmnidLn3dDl

Why do I have a feeling the “Jerk of the Week Award” will be a regular staple on here?

Last week, in his review of Identify Thief, Rex Reed decided that he felt like slamming Melissa McCarthy’s physical appearance.  Did he slam her acting in the film?  Not really.  He just lobbed insults about how overweight she is.  Phrases such as “cacophonous, tractor-sized Melissa McCarthy” and “Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success” have been earning Mr. Reed some much deserved vitriol over the past week.  The Twittersphere and other online avenues for venting have been ablaze with critique of Reed’s review.

First of all, Mr. Reed, does Ms. McCarthy’s size have anything to do with her talent?  No, it really does not.  If she is funny and makes people laugh, then that is what really matters.  If you thought she did a poor job with that, then, by all means, you would have the right to call her on that; it would be your right as a film critic.  However, you didn’t do that.  You panned the film, which wasn’t surprising.  I haven’t seen it, but the trailers didn’t really make it look too amazing.  However, I did not read one single line of your review where you commented on whether or not her comedic chops were up to par.  Had you done that, I would have more respect for you.  Not a lot more, but more nonetheless.

Second of all, why is it that being overweight is still something many feel is grounds for making fun of someone?  It’s not as if over-eating is the sole reason that someone is overweight, obese, etc.  Genetics, metabolism, hormones, etc. can and do play a significant role in whether or not someone becomes overweight or obese.  I have known many people in my life who would fall into that category, and they weren’t really big eaters—actually, they tended to eat less and better than I do.  They just had various (serious) health conditions that honestly prevented them from being more slender.

Oh, P.S. Dear New York Observer: Really classy to let this run. Isn’t the job of an editor (and I was one in college) to make sure that trash doesn’t get published? Granted, my college newspaper specialized in scandalous, but still…we were classy about it.

PPS. Now I kind of want to see the movie–just to support Melissa and piss of Reed.

Here’s the review in its entirety.  It is still posted on The New York Observer’s website.

http://observer.com/2013/02/declined-in-identity-thief-batemans-bankable-billing-cant-lift-this-flick-out-of-the-red/

Two Women in Entertainment Who Are Rocking My World

zooey

I decided to dedicate this blog to two women in entertainment who are currently rocking my world.  They would be Zooey Deschanel, of The New Girl fame, and Lena Dunham, the creative force behind HBO’s Girls.  They are both awe inspiring in their own rights.

Zooey Deschanel is inspiring because she seems so comfortable being who she is—quirks and all.  I used to think it was some degree of lame to be odd, still into things from my childhood, and into being a girlie girl.  I would feel the need to hide that I still got a kick out of Full House and that I sometimes felt like a little girl in a grown woman’s body.  I have come to learn, thanks to Zooey, that this isn’t lame at all!  It’s cool to embrace who you are and say to the world:  Yep, I’m quirky!  It takes a confident girl or woman to back what she likes and who she is and not concern herself if everyone, or anyone for that matter, around her agrees.  Also, Zooey is hilarious in her comedic prowess.  Her voice, facial expressions, huge eyes, etc make it impossible not to laugh along with her.
lena

Lena Dunham.  What can I even say about her?  Her unbelievable bravery is pretty much evident in every single episode of Girls.  She’s not a size 2, and she doesn’t seem to particularly care (I’m basing this on the fact that she’s very naked in almost every episode).  She rocks her curves, and I back any woman who has the courage to do so.  She puts her flaws, and those of women like her, out there for the world to see.  That makes women watching take a step back and think Hey! So, it’s okay to not be perfect?  Really?!  For many women, that completely goes against everything we’ve come to believe. Plus, her writing is brilliant, even as it’s making you, the viewer, uncomfortable. 

If you haven’t, take the time to check out The New Girl and Girls.  I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

The New Girl airs on Fox Tuesdays at 9pm.

Girls airs on HBO Sundays at 9pm. 

Why I Still Love T.G.I.F Goodness!

tgif-300x223

(previously submitted and posted to www.hellogiggles.com)

When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, my weekend kicked off in the best way ever, every single week. ABC had their T.G.I.F line up of shows that included, at different points, Full House, Boy Meets World, Sabrina: The Teenage Witch, Family Matters, and Perfect Strangers. Now, it might seem dramatic to say that I lived for these Friday nights…but I lived for these Friday nights. I loved the ritual of it all. My Dad would bring home dinner from my favorite Chinese restaurant, we’d all eat, I might read some Baby-Sitters Club, and then I’d curl up for some T.G.I.F. goodness. I loved the ritual of it so much that I got seriously, almost violently, annoyed when my younger brother wanted to watch with me. Okay, I didn’t actually get violent, but I thought about it.  Then, I thought about what Danny Tanner would say.

Recently, the shows have seemed to undergo a resurgence in re-runs being shown on cable. I swear, it seemed there were years and years that went by where I could not find a single channel that would feed my love for Ben Savage. Where was my Uncle Jesse fix? If I didn’t find a way to catch me some Salem Saberhagen action, I wasn’t going to know what to do with myself! However, they suddenly started coming around again! There was Sabrina talking to a black cat just like mine and trying to deal with being a teenager…and a witch! There was Topanga, who was a role model for us all with her brains that were Yale-worthy and hair that I still can’t get no matter what I do. Oh, and the sweetest boyfriend ever (side note: Ben Savage once Tweeted me back, so I’m practically his girlfriend now). At any rate, life was good again because I could fall asleep to the sounds of “How rude!”

That’s the thing: I find myself watching these shows at night and spending Saturday afternoons watching them while getting ready to go to brunch at the age of 31 because I still want to watch them! There’s something about the wholesome goodness of it that is so satisfying, even after all these years. It seems like no matter how messed up the world around me gets, I can go back to these shows and smile again. Problems will be solved in 22 minutes (or 44 if it was a “to be continued” episode). Cory and Topanga might break up, but they’d get back together a handful of episodes later. Libby might taunt Sabrina, but then she’d be turned into a puzzle. Balki would annoy Larry, but they’d still end up doing the dance of joy. Oh, and it would all be done to a totally cheesy laugh track, too. In other words, in the end, it was all good. And it still is.

How TLC’s What Not to Wear Changed my Life

what-not-to-wear-stacy-clinton

It’s a hard lesson: Learning to love yourself.  Some people spend their entire lives trying to master this particular lesson.  Personally, it didn’t take me my entire life, thank god, but it did take several years of my adult life.  In all honesty, I must give some credit to a reality T.V. show.  Yes, a reality T.V. show. I know—I can’t believe I’m saying it any more than you can believe that you’re reading it, but it’s true.  That show is TLC’s What Not to Wear.

In case you have never watched, here’s what the show is about (in a nutshell).  People can nominate a friend or family member who is in desperate need of a makeover to receive $5000 worth of new clothes, as well as a new hairdo and makeup tips.  Sometimes, it’s someone who is dressing too young.  Other times, it might be someone who just doesn’t know how to dress herself.  The hosts, stylists Clinton Kelly and Stacy London, ambush the young woman who has been nominated, and she must agree to surrender herself to them and their advice in exchange for the money and everything else.  They are constructively critical, and they genuinely seem to be in it only to help people.

So, you might be wondering how this show has changed my life.  A fair question. Well, I have not always been the most confident person in the world.  I used to be shy growing up.  I’ve also always struggled with self-image issues.  I’ve always been critical of the fact that I’m not the size 4 that I typically see on T.V., movies, ads, etc.  However, on What Not to Wear, Clinton and Stacy stress that one does not have to be skinny to be fashionable, confidence, and good looking.  In fact, they often comment that most women are not a stick figure: They have curves!  They show the women on the show how to dress to flatter whatever figure they have, and to me, that was revolutionary.

I started taking some of their tips seriously.  I started accentuating the smallest part of me, which is the natural waist.  I would look for dresses that had some type of seeming or detailing there that would focus people’s attention on that narrowness.   I also looked for dresses that made the most of my curves and used them to my advantaged.  As I started putting together a wardrobe that made me feel good about myself, my confidence level went up. Instead of shopping sending my into a tailspin of depression and desires to be a size 2 or 4, I started feeling like I genuinely loved my curves!

Oh, and let’s not forget makeup artist Carmendy!  She taught me what eye shadow colors would make my green eyes pop, how to do a smoky eye, and what color eye liner I should wear for a “day look.” She also taught me that you shouldn’t necessarily put on makeup for OTHER people:  You should do it for YOURSELF!  You should do it to make yourself feel amazing about who you are.  I started seeing it as just another tool in my arsenal of ways to feel good about myself.  I also came to realize that it was another outlet for creativity.

As a result of spending much of last summer immersing myself in reruns and utilizing what I learned, I started feeling more comfortable in my own skin.  I stopped seeing nothing but flaws when I looked in the mirror or tried on clothes.  For that, I would love to give Clinton and Stacy a hug someday!

New Kids on the Block…on Tour Again

New-Kids-on-the-Block-285x285

I still remember being in love with New Kids on the Block “back in the day.” Oh yes, I feel asleep in the arms of the boys via my official New Kids sheets. I debated cutting off my Jordon doll’s trendy ponytail because, even then, I hated it (hey, there are some things that aren’t cool even when they are trendy, and mullets and male ponytails were definitely among the top 10). I cried and cried when a new CD came out, and my parents said I had to wait a few days until they got paid. At the time, I’m sure I screamed variations on “You suck! How could you do this to me! You’re ruining my LIFE!”

When I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade, I got to go to my 1st live concert. My very tolerant Mom took me to see the New Kids on the Block, or NKOTB as they were then known, during their Face the Music tour. They were well past being considered cool by my peers, but not by me! I had the most amazing time imaginable at the show because I was with my people. The only thing that brought me down were the scathing reviews. I remember writing and rewriting several letters to Seventeen Magazine defending them. Oh, and I had to hide the fact that I still loved them from anyone at school.

Somewhere along the way, they went from being supremely uncool to being retro and nostalgia! Back in 2010, when they toured with the Backstreet Boys, my friend Michelle scored 10th row seats from a radio station, and we sang and danced our hearts out the whole night. By the way, so did the sold out Staples Center crowd. I felt young, dorky, and in love again. That night, Donnie ripped off his shirt, and my heart fluttered like I was 12 once more.

The-Package-Tour-900-600

Therefore, I was obviously beside myself when I heard last week that they were going to be touring again this year! My boys (now men) are coming back to the Staples Center in Los Angeles this July. When I read the news, I immediately texted Michelle and told her she was going to be my date again. We’ll sing along to all the words we still know decades later, and then we’ll put the CD on in the car on the way home and rock out some more. Let the young ones have their Justin Bieber and One Direction; for me, it will always be NKOTB!

560193_10151412142814464_1758174803_n