I’ve Always Wanted to be in a Boy Band
by Andrew Gauggel
There’s something amazing about a blog that examines life through the lenses of man-hood, moustachery, and mis-adventures. I am truly honored to write this week’s FDF and for my first post on the Bro Journey I thought I’d give you a little something special: my own rocky rise to stardom in the rough and tough music industry. Bear with me as I expose to you the inner workings of a man.
As any kid who grew up in the 90s can tell you, boy bands were the shit. OK, I know the typical stereotype of a boy band audience is a bunch of pre-teen girls screaming their braces off, but who is standing next to those girls? The awkward boys they came with. For a young boy who wouldn’t feel comfortable in his own skin until college, the boy band represented everything I thought I wanted: fame, friends, talent, sex appeal, slicked hair, and fans that worshipped them like they were made of gold and shaped like cows.
Israelite 1: Are you sure this is OK?
Israelite 2: Yeah dude, God wouldn’t have given us this all this gold if we weren’t supposed to worship it…duh.
So how do I become an object of worship?
Step 1: Record Deal. (Dear Younger Readers, American Idol premiered in 2001, that was unfortunately not an option in my get famous quick scheme)
Step 2: Get on TV.
Step 3: Bask in the glow of adoring worshippers.
As a young boy of 10, the world was mine for the taking. I stood at the end of my driveway, under the tattered net of my father’s shattered sports dreams, and scanned the block for talent. In my later years, in an E True Hollywood story, I might relate: “Those were the days of unfocused passion, where the rubber met the road on the highway to my dreams.”
But I didn’t really feel like walking that down road. Essentially: I had a small love affair with a girl on my street, we pretended to form a band, and we broke up. Just your typical story of guy meets girl; girl takes over band; guy breaks up with girl in her basement amidst obviously fake sobs. Band over.
My next foray into stardom came in the 8th Grade musical—FINALLY, a chance for my talent to shine. Our big production was School House Rock, Live. Jr. and I was ready to make it big. Singing along to that cassette tape, I immediately realized I had much to learn. I sang such riveting numbers as “3 is a Magic Number” and “I’m Just a Bill” to throngs of Adoring Fans! (Also known as, parents and teachers, but it was a start.) Most notably I learned my 3s (3 6 9, 12 15 18, 21 24 27, 30) and that bills sit on capitol hill discussing whether they should be a law or something. Riveting stuff. I did receive a positive review from my fourth grade homeroom teacher who said: “who knew you could sing!” and I was addicted. How could I NOT let everyone see and appreciate my great talent? I was more determined than ever.
It took 3 years, but junior year of High School I stood alone on stage while the orchestra played the overture. It was opening night and I could hear the packed house rustling about in their seats. Everyone was quiet off-stage and I was desperately trying to calm my nerves. I was the opening scene. It was just me in my “office” while the audience watched every move. I had landed the lead in Bye Bye Birdie and I stood alone in my stardom hoping I’d remember my lines. What I hadn’t realized about fame was that the audience, while adoring, is filled with strangers. I wanted people to love me, but I didn’t realize I wouldn’t love them back—I couldn’t love them back. What I loved was the craft, the spoken work, and the soaring notes sung over strings, not the people. What you love in the theatre is the moment and you search for it forever.
I had my moment. But one day you wake up and you’re in school for Architecture and you haven’t sung anything in years—the curtain falls and you’re in the audience instead of on stage. How can I go on? Where is the awkward boy with his braces and big dreams when I need him? My friends, he is still there. He was waiting for one thing: One Direction.
Yes, the latest in British Pop, American sounding, clean cut teen music. All about love and the search for that “one thing” that makes someone special. Notably, they are a Boy Band tugging on the strings of my youth. I’m obsessed, and probably more than is appropriate for an “adult.” Whatever. Haters gonna hate.
Come on, they’re lovable.
So yes, I will always love movies and shows like: Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Smash, Glee, High School Musical, and Coyote Ugly (especially Coyote Ugly). Not so much for the musical numbers or absurd plots but because they remind me to have hope in something. But of course what interests us is not the end of the movie, it’s not the happily ever after. It’s the struggle, searching for those moments of feeling alive.
Ultimately, the journey is where all of us are, running the race. We see little bits of success in many flavors, but those moments leave us and we look for more. In search of something else that might make us feel complete. So if life is a journey, what more could you ask for on the journey than a couple of friends to share it with! This is the glory of the boy band. These guys represent what it is to achieve at a high level and bring your friends along with you. What kills a boy band? Just ask Justin Timberlake or Beyonce or John Lennon. When one member stops seeking the good of his friends and stabs them in the back, the group is over. And yeah, maybe I’m glad that Destiny’s Child doesn’t exist anymore, but if you want to live life to the fullest, you need your dudes to back you up.
Example: you are probably not having more fun than these kids. Watch this video and then tell me you don’t covet their life just a little bit…
Bros, I urge you, find your own Boy Band. Find something that makes you have hope in the journey, that it ends somewhere amazing, and then find some dudes that share your vision and work for it together. That’s true success. After all, where would Aladdin be without Abu, or Jafar without Iago, or Timon without Pumba? And where would Matt be without Max? He’d probably be without a place to live and without a cool blog, started by their unified desires to grow a mustache and be men.
Stay manly my friends. Thanks for reading.