Every fan girl has to start somewhere. Usually a Disney show or a teeny-bopper, bubble gum band. You may count me among the latter; you see, I was taught the finer art of fan girldom by none other than the New Kids on the Block. Stop snickering… if you are over 30, you KNOW they were king shit back in the day… back when I was in middle school. God, I can’t believe I just wrote that line.

It was way back when the world was young– late 80′ and early 90’s. Bush the first was in office, and the fan girl confessor was a lowly little student at Taft Middle School.  I hadn’t really discovered the power of music or the social and emotional pull performers can have ( I was pretty oblivious back then), but all of my friends had. They’d go down the hall singing their songs, giggling and sighing at all the little articles they found in Teen Beat, Tiger Beat and Bop magazines, talking about the concerts they were going to and trading every known New Kids item they could get their fan girl hands on.  I always felt a little left out because I couldn’t really join in the conversations; but thankfully, that feeling didn’t last too long.

I guess I should thank the Marshall twins for officially introducing me to New Kids. We were at lunch and they were talking about the band. One of them– Dawn, I think– asked why I don’t talk about the band.  I told her the truth… never heard their music. Thankfully, I was not ostracized for this confession. Instead, I was loaned “Hanging Tough”… and a true-blue fan girl was born.

I loved the music… the beats, the rhythms, the harmonies. Most of all, I loved–no, LOVED– the guys. Oh, to my little pre-teen heart, they defined what men were: suave, debonair,  a little bit bad and absolutely A-DOR-ABLE! You had all the types the girls love : The tough guys (Donny and Danny), the boy next door (Joey), the cool guy(Jordan)– and my personal favorite– the quiet one (Jonathan… sigh).

Yes, Jonathan was my favorite.  Handsome, older, almost shy.  Oh, that spoke VOLUMES to me,  considering I was always pretty quiet around other people.  It always disappointed me that he didn’t get more solos; but I listened to the ones he did have overandoverandover again.  I took what I could get.

Once the band was discovered, the natural progression turned to the magazines. Oh, I had magazines… I had pictures.  ALL.FOUR.WALLS. covered from top to bottom with posters and pictures. THREE.FOLDERS. full of pictures that I couldn’t fit on the wall.  Their videos, their comforter, trading cards, and -ah, yes- the dolls. Yes… I had the damn dolls.  My parents HOOKED ME UP! The only things I couldn’t get were concert tickets… we never had enough money for that. I still rank that as one of my major regrets of life. I wanted that experience so many of my friends were able to have. Oh, well….

I loved being a part of something so many others around me enjoyed. It gave me a way to belong; gave me a taste of a world outside of Marion, Ohio.  I loved having something to look forward to talking about and reading about and sharing with others.  They gave me that, and I followed it until the tides changed and everyone moved on.  That’s life, isn’t it?  People move on… grow up and find new things and people to cling to. New things to go all fan-girly over.

I admit, I followed them some after the band broke up the first time. I had to see what they were up to. Helped me keep some nice childhood memories alive.  I was extremely happy when I discovered that they got back together in 2008 and started touring.  Brought all those founding fan girl feelings back to the forefront… and brought a smile to my face.

Now, instead of magazines and pictures posted on my wall, I have the internet with its fan girl arsenal of Facebook, Twitter and web sites of various size and quality. I DID complete my NKOTB collection for Twitter… I daresay I enjoy the stories they tell.  I am sending them all a link to this article, with a note:  Thank you New Kids for being a part of my pre-teen and teenage years. Thank you for showing me how much fun it is to be your fan.