It was 1997.
Having been a late adopter with Friends, I was rocking the Rachel do, except, because I was an awkward almost-teen, I didn’t know how to style the thing so it looked like more like shaggy than chic.
It was a Saturday morning. I was at my friend’s house. TV Hits was playing in the background where pop hit after pop hit was played until there it was, the unmistakable guitar riff, the syncopated beats that to this day no one can seem to cover, and the sweet vocals of the one and only Taylor Hanson.
How does a angsty teen feel when they hear Mmmbop for the first time?
Like they’ve stumbled across the jackpot.
The mother ship.
The epitome of pop.
I wanted to move, I wanted to sing along, but first, I wanted to know if the main singer from this band I’d never heard before was a boy or a girl.
Because I was ready, right then and there, to declare my very first crush and simultaneously launch my career of obsessing with boy bands into the world.
But before I could declare that I was in love with Taylor, I had to make sure that he was, in fact a boy.
Let me tell you, there was a good solid confusing minute before my discovery.
With his beautiful long blonde hair, pink pout, and sweet and high pitched vocals, we couldn’t be sure.
After debating with Rose, my best friend, and flicking through Smash Hits! magazine searching for clues, because Internet, huh? I was relieved to find that he was a beautiful man-child and I was ready to get crushing.
It was time to head to Sanity in hunt of their CD. If I was going to go all in with becoming Hanson’s biggest super fan, I was going to do it right.
I took the CD out of the plastic case and cracked it out of the plastic teeth that held the CD in place. I carefully unfolded the sleeve which had all the lyrics and pinned it above my desk so I could learn them all while pretending to do homework.
I raided the news agency down the road, buying up all the magazines with Hanson on the cover, or with an article of Hanson in them, including those expensive imported US ones.
I had posters for days and a dilemma.
Our house was newly painted which meant posters were a no-go zone. Instead of stashing my posters away, I sat at my desk with a blank page and pencil and started writing out all the reasons why my parents should let me put these posters on the wall, including my strategy of how the walls would be left flawless. That was the first taste I had of selling myself, and getting what I wanted in return.
My walls were covered in Hanson posters.
My journal was covered in scribbles of Elizabeth Loves Taylor, Taylor Loves Elizabeth, with a dedicated section that if I should die, my only wish would be for Taylor Hanson to know how much I loved him.
Heading to school the following Monday, I was ready to declare my full blown love for the three brothers who made up Hanson, only to realise that I wasn’t on fleek with my crushes. Besides 3 other girls, the entire class snickered and laughed at me while playing Silverchair and discovering Metallica.
And the girls looked at me like I was kid, with their Dolly magazine’s instead with Josh Hartnett as their latest crush.
Even though I played piano and violin and flute and voila (I mean who plays voila?!), I became an outcast overnight.
This one time, at regular old school camp, I took a framed photo of Hanson with me (thanks Smash Hits! for the free blow up frame with your latest issue).
Someone took it and threw it out in the rain.
Kids can be so lame (me).
And such assholes (them).
Ya know what happened to me?
I didn’t budge.
I didn’t change.
I didn’t care.
I dried off that photo and frame and put it back on my bunk bed.
I still stared into Taylor’s eyes that night.
I still had conversations with the 3 other girls at school.
I still got made fun of.
I still didn’t give a shit.
Of course, over time Smash Hits! was replaced with the How Embarrassment section of Dolly, and Hanson was replaced with *NSync, but I was still the lame ass kid who fell for dudes in boy bands.
So, what does a kid who lived on a healthy diet of Hanson and *NSync growing up turn out like?
Someone who’s still lame but gets the last laugh anyway.
Someone who still gets sucked into boy bands like One Direction.
Someone who fell in love with a boy in an actual band.
Someone who still doesn’t give a shit about the status quo.