The last several days have been intense. So intense, that for the first time since creating this diary, I have the story falling out of my mouth, my fingertips, even my eye sockets. Where in that I typically wait for the experiences to percolate in my head for a week or two, finding humor I hadn’t seen in the moment, and adding the written form to the backlog of blogs scheduled to be posted randomly at later dates, this one wants to be published NOW.
I have never experienced the sensation of “Star Struck.” I can’t tell you why. When I stop to think about it, I have, in fact, met a sizeable number of celebrities (across a spectrum from small local to A-list Hollywood types). Now, take this with that big fat grain of salt. I live in Reno. It’s not as if they are all walking around like I hear they do in L.A. or N.Y. or where ever. My situation is a bit different. So the relative number of encounters is really a bit perplexing.
Two and a half weeks ago, I met a musician for my favorite rock band. I sincerely can’t rave enough about them. I genuinely think the music they create is incredible. We flirted, we drank, he asked for my number. I liked him. I sincerely LIKED him. At 6’1, he was lean and tattooed, bearded and had sparkling blue eyes. He was passionate and affectionate and engaged with me and our silly light-hearted conversations. It never felt insincere. And trust me, I’m a professional when it comes to men and their games. This one wasn’t running a game. When he wanted something, he just asked me outright.
I did not have any expectations that he would make efforts to keep in contact with me. Why would he? We were in the moment and enjoyed it, and he would be off to the next moment of his exciting life. I was grateful to have had that moment for myself.
SHOCKINGLY. Shock.ing.ly. he did stay in touch. He sent flirty messages and Snapchats. And when he called me a week later, I tripped over my own feet and face planted into the counter top while trying to fumble with my phone to answer. (Note, I lost my balance over THIS MAN that was calling, not the fact that some famous musician was calling. Whenever I looked at the situation as the latter, I felt sick to my stomach.) After a few minutes of me rambling on incoherently about god knows what, he says he’s flying me to Austin while the band is on a break from tour.
The next week was a rollercoaster. Seriously. You know how they talk about the 7 stages of grief? Well…..I’m pretty sure there are at least 7 stages of excitement. My coworkers pointed that out to me as I came to work everyday in a completely different emotional state. (Giddiness, panic, insecurity, overwhelm, dread, self pep talk, FUCKING RALLY BITCHES!)
So my departure date comes. I did my best, working with what I had, to be sexy and pretty, and hopefully charming. I packed a few bottles of my favorite vodka and tequila to offer to the house. And my phone was blowing up with sweet little messages of excitement from my bass player.
The most unexpected thing happens when I land at the Austin airport. I’m waiting by myself at the baggage claim when Matthew McConaughey and his associate sidle up next to me. I had to be the creeper and stare for a few minutes to figure it out. This man had dark blonde hair, curls sticking out under a black snap-back turned backwards. His face was scruffy and tan. He was wearing a dark blue button down and cargo shorts with a worn out backpack. He was just standing there typing on his phone, chewing bubble gum. Blowing bubbles and popping his gum……. Is this really the famous actor??? But then he spoke to his friend, and that voice is as distinctive in real life as it is on the movie screen.
FUCKING CRAZY. Well……it’s only me here. Why not just try to say something, right? I went up and asked if he would mind a picture. His response was “Nah, no thanks.” But he smiles and extends his hand, “I’m Matthew. What’s your name?”
We chatted for a just a few minutes. I told him it was really great to meet him and then I stepped back to my side of the baggage claim as the rest of the passengers started to file in. I texted my sister. That little bitch has never called me so fast in our entire lives. I think I hit the send button on the text, and BOOM, her picture is on my screen DEMANDING to be answered.
<SHUT THE FUCK UP. SHUT THE FUCK UP. Seriously?? You MET him? SHUT. THE. FUCK. UP. I can’t believe this shit. I get married and all the cool shit happens to YOU! I have two important questions for you. 1) Is he as dreamy in real life as he is on tv??>
Wellll……eh….He’s still very handsome. But he’s just a man…..
<2) Does he smell? There’s a rumor that he doesn’t wear deodorant, and that he smells?!>
Hahaha. No. I did not notice any unfavorable smells while standing there.
At this moment, it clicks with me. The sky did not part and shower him in angelic light. The uncontrollable urge to lick his face or to kiss his feet never came to my mind. My baby making factories never went into high alert. My life had not been forever changed.
If Matthew freaking McConaughey can’t do it, then I believe I will never feel star struck. Somehow, I see through that glamour screen (unwillingly, unconsciously) and see the real people on the other side. I’m grateful for this, I think this means that I won’t make any more bad decisions than I do on a normal day. So I wonder…..what is it that creates that screen in the first place? (I learned the answer to that question 48 hours later.)
I finally get to the house with the band and their crew. My bass player looks every bit of handsome and excited as I had hoped. It was great.
The next day…..not so much. He started to pull away and check out. I still don’t know why. It just felt like I had disappointed him. Perhaps I wasn’t what he thought I was and therefore just wasn’t into me. I tried to make the best of the situation regardless of how much this feeling sucked.
At this point, I figured I had two options. One, do nothing, follow him around like an annoying pup and pout in the corner. Or TWO, I could make efforts to befriend the others in the group and do as the Romans. Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m awkward. I ask stupid questions, and make terrible jokes and the natural sarcasm that is married into my voice tends to make the act of befriending anyone rather difficult. But I think I did it. The last day I was there, I had a lot of fun with them.
And when I finally felt I had found my sliver of a temporary spot in this whole situation, I started to see so many things that I hadn’t expected to see.
I saw a lot of insecurity.
I saw these guys compete with each other in ways that were outright silly from my perspective (such as making sure that one did not know more about the anatomy of the human ear). But from their reactions, these ways were not silly to them at all. I just can’t imagine how stressful it must be to feel that you have to constantly match or one-up the people with which spend all of your time. And again, from my sliver of a perspective into this dynamic, it appeared that the only validation they could get was from the women they met while touring. By the way… the women in the green room after this particular concert are NOT a source of validation for anything. Seriously. I have NEVER felt so un-threatened in my entire life. That’s HUGE coming from a woman who hyperventilates at the thought of wearing a bikini with her own girlfriends at a fucking BBQ.
There was definitely some diva action going on backstage. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. I had just spent a few days with them, and these goofy, funny, playful guys were suddenly drinking the Beyoncé kool-aid. Since all of this appeared to part of their pre-game ritual, I found the one woman in their crew to hang with at the merch table. (Thank god for her.)
The band comes on stage, they get into their element. And what I see is pure magic. Everything clicked. It was like the biggest deja vu I’ve ever had. Also, I saw the source of that glamour screen I had mentioned earlier.
I saw very imperfect, pain in the ass men, jump on stage and create something so big and so powerful. I saw this bass player who I had really wanted a connection with, who had rejected me, get on stage, and into his element. I could separate the two sides of this man, isolate the personal interactions from this performance. And I could slip right back into the role of a fan, and embrace what I loved about the music.
Part way through, I remembered a comment of his: he always becomes so self-conscious if he messes up during a song, or that he won’t be as energetic as he wants while on stage. I sympathize with the self-criticism. I am very, very hard on myself with almost everything that I do. And I don’t hesitate to beat myself up when I fail to perform to my own expectations.
FUCK, what a head trip.
The imperfections of this live performance was what made the experience so powerful. I am not a musician, so I wouldn’t know if anyone had messed up anyhow. But I also know, that if they had come out, stuck to a choreographed script and had been PERFECT, it wouldn’t have resonated with me. I mean, isn’t this why we like live performances? Because we see the human side? Isn’t this why we like rock music over popstars? It takes you to those dark, vulnerable places. IT’S REAL. Never the cookie cutter robot, choreographed and commercialized, manipulated to create vapid, mass appeal music. Mainstream music has it’s place, it’s catchy and has that feel good shit going on, and most importantly, it will be forgotten in a few years. But the good rock music never goes out of style.
I enjoyed the concert. Even more so than I had a few weeks earlier because this time I had friends to enjoy it with.
I was not fortunate enough to part ways with my bass player on good terms. He’s not an asshole, he didn’t do anything to warrant nasty comments, it just one of those things that happens when two people don’t click. But perhaps down the road, I will reflect on this experience with a better understanding of why it happened.
As of tonight, the lessons that I do walk away with: 1) I suck at being a groupie. 2) My inner perfectionist is about to usurped from her lifelong reign.