There’s a lot I could say about #AlexFromTarget.
I could ridicule him for being another weak, chunky link in a long, trendy chain of attractive, seemingly talentless, young, white males teenage girls christen as #totesadorbz. I could speculate that his unfathomable fame stems from two vital elements in any modern teen girl’s life — the lethal combination of Target and cute boys. Or I could rant about the societal implications of his rise to fame, the all-too-common breach of privacy and doxing at the expense of his girlfriend and family.
But all of that seems totally irrelevant in comparison to the real issue at hand — what really grinds my gears, what gets me going and scorches my insides like a piping-hot pumpkin spice latte.
What REALLY gets my cotton day-of-the-week fairy-print panties in a twist is that fangirls these days have it so damn easy.
The modern-day fangirl can and will literally fangirl over anything with a pulse and a good head of hair, with #AlexFromTarget and his minimum-wage mall pals — #SteveFromStarbucks, #KieranFromTMobile, and #MattFromRedRobin — as prime examples. (Can we make #RosemarieFromDailyCal a thing? Maybe not? OK.)
Back in my day, we didn’t have the luxury of plucking a random pretty face off the web and making him our Hunk of the Month. You had to choose your fandoms meticulously and dedicate your adolescent existence to an allegiance of adorableness. And believe me, these decisions were life and death.
*NSYNC or Backstreet Boys? Nick, Joe or Kevin? If this month’s issue of Tiger Beat had a fold-out Zac Efron poster with a Taylor Lautner on the other side, you would probably have to call in sick from Saturday morning piano lessons because the emotional turmoil of choosing one printed face over another was too much for your young heart to handle!
Being a modern-day fangirl is so much more accessible. All you have to do is sit idly behind a screen, hit “like” or “retweet” and suddenly you’re the expert, number-one fan who “literally can’t even asdfghjkl; xD!” You have every bit of information about your idol at your fingertips within seconds and can flit from fandom to fandom with a quick Tumblr search or a well-made YouTube montage.
Back in the olden days — circa 2006 — there were no Twitter Q&As or follow sprees. If you wanted to interact with your favorite star, you had to wait at your desktop computer for three hours while a blog.tv livestream buffered on your Dell family computer, slurping instant noodles while popping in and out of spam-ridden chat rooms for the chance of a shout out from your favorite boyband.
There were no Instagram meetups or Tumblr gatherings to help foster a community of crazies who adored the same twinkling smile and puppy dog eyes you did. I once forced my family to drive nearly two hours to the Roseville Strawberry Festival in the scorching April heat to pay $10 to see the Jonas Brothers perform for 45 minutes, and I cried on the way home because my mom wouldn’t donate $20 to some charity so I could get a photo with those beautiful boys. I still resent her for it.
You wanna talk dedicated fan? 2006 Rosemarie would fight your 1-D-loving, #AlexfromTarget adoring fangirl any day. Did you ever have 84 posters of your favorite band up at one time? Did you download the .mp4 file for every grainy YouTube clip onto your iPod Video? Did you spend hours penning the perfect JoBro fanfiction for your creatively crafted MySpace fansite?
Being a fangirl used to be hard work. It used to take up all your time, all your parents’ hard-earned money and all the frustrated preteen hormones churning beneath your Limited Too training bra.
Now, all it takes is a few select screen taps and you can deem yourself a Professional Fangirl and even buy a t-shirt to make it official. For a modern-day fangirl, the struggle may be real, but they will never, ever know the real struggle. Ugh, totes unfair.
Rosemarie Alejandrino writes Monday’s arts & entertainment column on popular culture.
Contact Rosemarie Alejandrino at [email protected].