Sunday, November 9, 2008

NKOTB anyone?!


Yesterday was a strange sort of crossroads for me. I spent the day moving into an apartment in which I will be on my own, paying rent, worrying about heating bills and "did you lock the door, did you turn off the lights?" and all the other ridiculous questions that my mother used to ask that I rolled my eyes at. And later that night, I went to the New Kids on the Block concert. Yes, New Kids on the Block.
I'll hold up just short of calling in the best night of my life, I mean the last 25 years have included proms and graduations and moving into and out of college and all of those other normal things. And still Guster and Barenaked Ladies' concerts are my favorite pop culture events. But I swear something strange happened as I heard the opening lines of "You've Got The Right Stuff". bum bum ba da dum, bum bum ba dum... bum bum ba da dum the right stuff....First time was a great time second time was a blast... and there I was 7 years old, sitting on the cloth bench seat of our Plymouth voyager van with my black Sony walkman, singing along to the most awesome boys I had ever known!
I loved the New Kids as much as I'm sure every woman who is now between the ages of 20 and 30 did. We were all going to marry Joey, Jordan, Donnie, or Jon, and felt sorry for the girls who got stuck liking Danny. If you don't think I'm serious, walk up to whomever you know is around that age and ask the simple question, "who was your favorite New Kid?" If they don't have an answer to that i can almost guarantee that they'll have an answer to "who was your favorite guy in New Edition?"
Boys, you can laugh at us all you want, and think the New Kids are lame. As New Edition alum Bobby Brown would attest, that's your perogative. But let me just say, judging from last night, the New Kids will definitely have the last laugh. They played to an absolutely packed house and, well for me, I felt the same way I felt when I watched their VHS concert all those years ago. As soon as Joey started singing I screamed like some abandoned hyena puppy.
See, I was never able to see them way back in the day and pretty much never forgave my mother for that. I clearly remember being in JC Penney's and their front display was an AWESOME leather New Kids on the Block tour jacket. It's all I wanted. My mother turned to me and said, "Marissa, if anyone's getting a leather jacket in this family, it isn't going to be you." I was resigned to the smaller items in the New Kids treasure trove of merchandising. I was never able to win that game of having the MOST New Kids stuff. I didn't get the bed sheets or the sleeping bag, but man did I love my Joey Mac keychain and the charm of those giant buttons has never worn off (I purchased 2 more last night).
What last night proved was that, although love may fade, true love never disappears, and in fact, at moments it can transport you back in time. There were moments where I swear, I wasn't watching present day Donnie, but I saw the rat-tail and the ripped jeans. Joey wasn't always the pulled-together, handsome man he's turned into, but the 16-year old kid who wore the cut out hat and the smiley t-shirt, and for a while I didn't feel like I was on the verge of taking on all the responsibilities of an adult.
Although, I have to say, time has been good to some of our boys. Danny is pretty great on a second look, and he's got some kickin' dance moves, so bravo! Donnie has proven to be far more employable than most of us thought he would be after 1993 (i'm pretty sure most of us thought there might be some hard time in store for the second most famous Wahlberg). However, time doesn't change all things and that's comforting too. I still love "cover girl" and wish Jordan wouldn't hog so much of the spotlight.
Anyway, I now feel a little bit more complete and prepared to become a grown-up, having accomplished the feat that wasn't possible all those years ago when I used to watch the New Kids cartoon on Saturday mornings. So here's to the intersection of trips down memory lane and looking forward to the future, and there's only one thing I know for sure. If you want to be guaranteed the young female demographic in an election, I think a 3rd party ticket of McIntyre-Wahlberg is pretty much unbeatable,with a built-in fan base. Excuse my while I watch my 1988 New Kids VHS and pack some stuff for this new apartment!




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