Yes, you read that right. I, Elizabeth May Eulberg, am a fan of New Kids on the Block. I’m aware that there will be two types of people reading this blog. Type A: O.M.G. I TOTALLY love the New Kids too! Who’s your favorite? To those people I say, welcome. My fav is Joey. Hands off! Type B: What? But Elizabeth you have such awesome indie music taste, say it ain’t so! I know… But I was twelve once.
I remember watching Nickleodeon back in the day and a video came on for the song “Please Don’t Girl.” And I remember thinking, um, who is this cute boy with the blue eyes singing to ME! I then bought the “Hangin’ Tough” cassette tape, but kept it a secret. I wasn’t a very secure kid so I wouldn’t really advertise if I liked something because I was afraid that someone would judged me. Then one day my BFF since I was three, Tara, came up to me in gym class and mentioned that there was this group on Arsenio Hall last night called New Kids on the Block (I realize I’m totally dating myself here). I was all, “who are they?” and Tara said, “I like them.” So then I blurted out, “I have their tape!”
And then the obsession began.
There isn’t a lot to do in a small town when you’re twelve. But NKOTB not only gave Tara and I something to do (go to Book World every weekend to buy the new Bop! and Tiger Beat magazines, watch everything they were on, decorate our rooms floor to ceiling with posters, etc.), it helped solidify our friendship. (Thank goodness Tara’s a Donnie fan, because I don’t know if our friendship would’ve survived if we were both fighting over the same guy!) Even though we’ve know each other since we were three, NKOTB came around at a time when we were transitioning out of our small Catholic grade school and migrating to the public high school, which meant new friends, new cliques. But we always had NKOTB to keep us together.
Fast forward to 2008. Tara and I are not only still close friends, we both live only 30 minutes away from each other (how crazy that we both went from Wisconsin to NYC!). I had major shoulder surgery at the beginning of the year and was staying at Tara’s to recuperate when we found out that the New Kids were reuniting. I knew then and there that I would do whatever it takes for us to finally meet them.
See, back in 1988 Tara actually won backstage passes to meet NKOTB when she was visiting her grandmother in Maryland. Unfortunately, the concert was when she would be back in Wisconsin and our parents wouldn’t let us go to Maryland by ourselves. Something about us being too young. Whatever. It was not a pretty scene in the Eulberg household back then. No way would I let this happen again. Not only do I have to live out Twelve-Year-Old Elizabeth’s fantasy, it was really about time I forgave my parents for DESTROYING my dreams. (As I said, it was not pretty.)
I do not like asking people for favors. Forget the fact that people ask them from me all the time. I just don’t like putting people out, but I swallowed my pride and worked a couple connections. I couldn’t believe it. I did it. I got us backstage.
The day came. Tara and I were ready. I was obsessed with getting a good picture for my Christmas card since I knew it would totally crack people up. Because twenty years later, I was finally willing to admit my love for NKOTB. And now I present to you, the greatest photo ever taken:
I don't mean to brag, but I’ve meet my share of famous people in my life. I’m usually pretty cool about it. Yeah, but none of those people were basically my wallpaper throughout my entire adolescence. After the picture was taken I turned to Joey (again my fav) and started fangirling out. I can’t really do it justice in print, but just picture me twirling my hair frantically and saying in a valley-girl-on-crack voice, “We’ve been waiting 20 years for this moment (I then tell the above story), Joey I saw you Off-Broadway years ago, Oh My God, you were awesome, I can’t even tell you…” And then I pretty much blacked out. Probably best because I’m pretty sure I was making a complete fool out of myself.
But the Experience of a Lifetime award goes to Tara. While I was blabbing Joey’s ear off, her fav Donnie started to hug her and then took her behind the curtain in the photo. That’s right, he took her behind the curtain (leaving me alone with the rest of the guys so I continued to embarrass myself). Relax, nothing major happened (Tara’s married with two kids), he just hugged her and kissed her on the cheek. So basically Tara’s childhood crush hit on her. It. Was. Awesome.
Since that magical moment (and yes, I called my mom afterward to tell her I have finally forgiven her…oddly enough, she wasn’t even concerned about it), Tara and I have seen NKOTB twice as adults. And this Sunday we are seeing them yet again, this time with the Backstreet Boys. You might judge me for my excitement about this, but I can’t wait. Because it is going to be fun. Because I get to totally impress 12-year-old Me (“You’re at a concert without a family member? And Tara has her own car? You are SO cool!”). And because sometimes a girl just needs to dance and sing along like a fangirl.
I’ll be lovin’ you forever, Elizabeth