I am pretty open about my Duran Duran fandom. Sometimes, I question whether or not this is a good thing or not but most of the time, it just feels right to declare my Duranie-ness. People I work with know that I’m a Duran Duran fan. Friends certainly know. Heck, even my students know. As a student of fandom and this fandom, in particular, I’m always surprised by the reaction I get when people find this out. I almost always prepare myself for some negative comment or an assumption that I must be a groupie (not that the person saying that really knows anything about that term). At times, that preparation comes in handy as I know exactly how to defend against a negative stereotype. Lately, though, I have had the opposite experience.
Right before I went on winter break, I was struggling to get through. My kids were working on intense projects, adding stress to the usual gig. One of my assistant principals checked in on me and to ask about a particular student. At some point during this conversation she turns to me and says, “You know when I first met you, I was pretty intimidated by you.” This statement surprised me since she is my administrator. She can evaluate me, not the other way around. I know that I can be pretty serious and often spend a lot of time observing before I interact, which some may perceive as “intimidating.” Obviously, I had no idea how to respond to that. As I tried to figure that out, she follows it up with, “But then you appeared human to me.” She explained after seeing my puzzled expression, “Yeah, when I found out that you follow your favorite band around, I realized that you weren’t so scary!” Fascinating. The only interpretation I had was that she saw that I was passionate about something and someone. I wasn’t just about work but had other interests. Weird.
Then, the other day at work, my trip to Vegas came up in conversation. Did I talk about it with my colleagues? Friends? Not really. No, it came up during the Gender Equity (a student organization that I advise) meeting. In the beginning of the meeting, we always do a check in. This time, we focused on what we did over break. Before I could even share, the other advisor to the club and friend of mine mentioned that I went to Vegas to see Duran Duran. One student immediately popped up with, “Can they still walk?” Clearly, she thinks that they are older than dirt. Smart ass kid. What was funny is that I did not have to defend them. Other kids jumped in to say that they weren’t that old and how they had relatives a lot older than them capable of doing a lot. This quickly led to an apology. Of course, I was not mad at the comment as I figured that the student just wanted to tease me, to give me a hard time. I appreciate that as I seek any and all means to give the kids a hard time myself so I figure that I’m fair game in return! It also makes me feel good that students feel comfortable enough with me to be able to give me a little grief.
The last situation happened last night. As I stopped by my parents place, they talked about what they did on New Year’s Day when they went over to a neighbor to play cards. During that time, my mom mentioned that they had been cat-sitting and why. The neighbor’s reaction? According to my mom, it went something like this, “Duran Duran?! I love them. They are great!” Mind you. This neighbor is probably 65 to 70 years old. So, clearly, all generations know of Duran Duran and how great they are. Did this person ask my parents why I would travel to see a band? Nope. Did they think it was weird? Not at all. Apparently, they were all cool about me expressing my fandom in this way.
These experiences have given me some hope that there is less stigma over being a hardcore fan. It is either that or the end of the world is near. In all seriousness, I love that multiple generations seem to have an appreciation for them. It makes me think that I’m all right in being so open with my Duranie-ness.