The first celebrity I remember being obsessed with was as standard as they came in the ‘90s, and that’s JTT. Who didn’t love the ‘Home Improvement’ star back then? Of course, between JTT and the boy band craze of the late ‘90s, a few other famous faces got my prepubescent heart racing; Luke Perry’s Dylan McKay on ‘90210,’ Benny from ‘The Sandlot,’ and the yin to JTT’s ‘90s teen heartthrob yang, Devon Sawa. Then, one evening during MTV Live, I saw a video that would change the course of my hormonal development.
Backstreet Boys had already made their presence known overseas but in the states, things were simmering when I fell enamored with “As Long As You Love Me.” I’m not sure how much time passed between that moment and hanging up my first poster of them from Kmart, but as soon as I tacked it up – things went from casual crush to outright obsessive, and it was mostly in part to the group’s youngest member, the blonde cutie with the nasally voice, Nick Carter.
There was something in the water then because if you were a boy with hair parted in the middle, I was yours – and Nick Carter had that and then some. Comparing him to the other Boys, for me, was no contest. At 10, how could I not think Kevin was just someone my mom’s age? Granted, I’m a hell of a lot older now and can fully appreciate the fine wine that Mr. Richardson is. Howie? Next. Brian? Although I thought he was cute then, he’s since fallen out of my range of existence for supporting a certain former reality star that went on to win a presidential election. Then there’s AJ. Always a solid number two who has since risen in the boy band ranks I keep in the back of my head for…reasons.
Alas, Nick Carter was the reason I begged my mom for any and everything that had their faces on it. I’ve since lost them all to legit desert rats, so if you ever find yourself on eBay and want to warm my heart – send me an old magazine featuring BSB. Anyways, back to the good ol’ days when I could walk into the mall and see a sea of BSB and with $20 in hand walk out with anything from a new tee, a stack of notebooks I’d never write in, or a Nick Carter-shaped CD. That, that I still have. Some things you just don’t leave for college without.
Since those days my love for Nick has been held onto because he wasn’t just some random crush. Hell, no. This one has weight to it as it’s more like a foundational crush. Nick Carter and Backstreet Boys are such a defining part of my life that to toss aside how much they meant to me as a kid, and how many great memories I’ve made as an adult due to this teeny-bopper obsession…would be criminal.
Having a boy band crush isn’t just about the guys you fall for, it’s about the experiences along the way. The love of decorating that is formed hanging up and rearranging your bedroom throughout the year to match your current obsession, that first concert experience that sets you up for a lifetime of live music appreciation, the friendships formed over silly pop songs…I go over that, and more in this week’s episode so stay tuned for that, and until next time…go and listen to Backstreet Boys however you listen to music whether it’s streaming or on a boy band member-shaped CD.