Here’s the thing. I miss you guys. Hyperbolically, mostly, because I don’t really know many of you. But I miss the idea of community that we have. And yes, this is a big ol’ mess of pandering nonsense because I haven’t had enough attention this week, but that doesn’t mean there’s no sincerity to it. It’s been too long since there’s been a “New Kids Happening” and I’m in withdrawal. Big time. So this isn’t an event recap, because there are no events. But I needed to write something.
We all have one major thing in common, and that thing lets us relate to each other on a level that’s different from other people in our lives. I have best friends I’ve known since I was 10 years old, and they side-smile and shake their head a little when I talk about this fandom. Not with malice, but because they’re not in it. We’re a tight-knit group with a common goal and way of thinking. And other things that sort of describe a cult without ever saying cult. Because we’re not creepy like a cult. I’m doing too much with the word “cult”. Moving on.
Of course, the thread that holds us all together (aside from NKOTB as a whole) is the one and only Donnie Wahlberg. He throws us Twitter-breadcrumbs to keep us occupied in the off season, and those breadcrumbs lead us out of the forest of our everyday mundanity. I’m not a huge fan of white guys, as a species, but this one is different. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Donnie is the best dude I’ve ever met. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. You’ve heard the My So Called Whatever podcast. They have merch spouting this very mantra: We Are All Donnie Girls. And we are. Most people, myself included, can’t even manage to be nice to the people in their office. Somehow Donnie has the wherewithall to be nice to thousands of people all at once, ALL THE TIME. It never ends for him. He’s always bombarded with outstretched hands, pleading for a tiny morsel of his attention. Thousands of Oliver Twists. I got 3 Facebook messages yesterday and I had to actively try not to be irritated. And these were messages I genuinely needed to answer.
But the thing is, when he does give you a piece of his attention, it’s sort of addicting. He has a way of making you feel like he genuinely likes you as a person. And maybe he does. Maybe he’s literally Jesus. Or like, whatever the modern, bedazzled, bubble-butted version of that would be. But most likely, he just understands people. He understands what we need from him in the brief moment of interaction and he delivers.
Now, maybe I’m projecting my own experience onto the global “us”, but I doubt it. I’m pretty intuitive. At least that’s what I tell people when I make sweeping generalizations in my standup comedy. But Donnie is somehow everything I should innately distrust in a person (a straight, white male in his 40s who has a lot of money), and my very favorite person. I think he’s a witch. Donnie will say, “I just love you” to me (in the way where it could easily be substituted with “you’re ridiculous” and a smiling head shake) and sure, I’ll get a little nervous and say something dumb like “back atcha”, but he doesn’t sound creepy or contrived. It sounds like I want to be his foster kid. Sure, I’m 33 years old. But I’m not like, an adult adult. I could use some supervision.
At first, all the positivity on his Twitter feed made my sarcastic soul roll its eyes, but then it started popping up when I was having a shitty day, or a shitty attitude, or just being a shitty person in general. And I realized that’s why he posts it. For the one person who might need to see it in that moment. Not because he’s sitting cross-legged and meditating in his own good advice for 5 straight minutes (*cough* Joey *cough*). He has this celebrity thing figured out, my dudes. He really does. I’m still skeptical about people who are just genuinely good. But I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Or sit down with a vodka/redbull and a list of interview questions. Because I’m a journalist, dammit. And a hopeless fangirl.
One time he said the phrase, “before we knew each other” to me, and I almost forgot that we’ve literally only spent about 3 solid minutes speaking to each other. I jokingly refer to him as my BFF, but I’m not opposed to making it official. I have room in my life. In the words of Mindy Kaling, “best friend is a tier, not a person”.
So, Donnie my dude, let’s be besties. I could use some of your “good guy” vibe. We all could.