“I wish I was as dedicated and loyal to ANYTHING in my life as you are to the Backstreet Boys.” – Former Co-Worker
Whether she meant it as a compliment or not, my former co-worker expressed a sentiment shared by many colleagues and friends in my life. And, as with most foreign concepts, there is a lot of curiosity around what it means to be a Backstreet Boys “fangirl.” Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions from people outside the fandom and my best responses (feel free to adapt and recycle where appropriate!).
Q: How many Backstreet Boys concerts have you been to?
A: The answer is complicated, depending on what you define as a Backstreet Boys concert.
Actual BSB shows in arenas/stadiums linked to albums? 37. Including solo adventures, music festivals (where they were the headliner), cruise concerts, etc.: 51. My official answer: I don’t know; a lot, and I’ve loved them all.
Q: How much money have you spent going to see them? (Yes, this is a FREQUENTLY asked question.)
A: This is not an inexpensive hobby. But outside of my husband, nothing in this world makes me happier than traveling the world with my friends and going to Backstreet Boys shows/events. Nothing. So, I don’t know how much I spent in 2019, let alone over the past 24 years. But if I can go, I’m going.
Q: Do they know your name? They HAVE to know your name.
A: NO. These five men see thousands, if not millions, of faces every single day they’re on tour. Sure, they see some faces more frequently than others- and they are GREAT about letting us know that they know we are loyalists. But, no. Zero Backstreet Boys refer to me by name when I walk into the room. **My two favorites do, however, make it very clear that they know who I am, even if not by name. This is more than I could’ve ever hoped for as a fangirl.
Q: So, you see the exact same show more than once? Why would you want to do that?
A: BECAUSE IT IS AWESOME! Why does anyone repeat any habit or behavior? Why do we have any hobbies at all? Because they bring us joy. If you want to see me as my most authentic self, come with me to a Backstreet Boys show. There is no way for me to contain my euphoria. (And why would I want to?)
Q: When will you outgrow your boyband phase?
A: I wouldn’t consider 24 years a phase, so… never? And it isn’t ALL boybands, it is just one. Loving music that provides the soundtrack to your life isn’t something one simply “outgrows”….
So, to all of you who have a Backstreet fangirl in your life:
You don’t have to like Backstreet Boys music. You don’t have to come with us to shows. You don’t even have to understand why we do what we do. But, PLEASE, for the love of Howie, be happy for our happy. And know that we hope that you find something — ANYTHING — that makes you as happy as these five Boys make us.