I am a John Taylor fan. He is my favorite. I’m wiling to bet that you probably don’t even know that. I’m not one to shout it from the rooftop or anywhere else. Why is that? I suspect it has to do with something Rhonda mentioned last week on the blog. There are a lot of John fans out there. I’m one of a million. Rhonda implied that the competition over John is a fierce one and one that she is glad that she is not a part of. I get that. I think it is part of the reason that I’m rather shy when it comes to my admiration of the Bass God.
Like many Duranies out there, I became a John girl in the 1980s. In fact, I would point out that it was the video for the Reflex that did it. At the time, I was super young. Like nine. Less than a decade old. My best friend at the time also decided that John was the one for her. I have later learned that we were weird, super unusual. Why? I guess that most friend groups in the 80s were such that no two friends could have the same favorite. It was like there was an unwritten rule based on the idea that we would all grow up to marry this man of our dreams. Since that was the case, there could only be one Mrs. Nick Rhodes. You cannot have two Mrs. John Taylors. So, people had to pick a unique choice. Now, I’m uncertain how friend groups decided who gets what band member as their favorite. Loudest friend got the first choice? Most popular? First person to pick? No clue. Anyway, my friend and I did not do that. If I had to guess why, I think we were just too young. While we learned that we should be thinking about the man we were going to marry, we didn’t learn that we should compete over that guy, if necessary. So, it was cool to us to both like the same guy. In fact, I might even say that it was reassuring to me to like the same guy as my friend. It meant that my taste was “right” or “good”.
Now, though, I’m no longer 9 years old. I am well aware that women are subtly taught to compete for men. I could argue that the reason that I don’t shout about my favorite is because I don’t want to compete against other women. While part of that is true, for sure, there is more to it. It has more to do with me. I really don’t compete because I believe that I will lose so the best plan is not to play at all. I think this belief of mine plays a pretty big role in how I express my fandom beyond not shouting about being a John. It definitely affects how I express my fandom on social media.
So what do I mean by “cannot win”? What does winning look like on social media amongst Duranies? Good question. I don’t have a good answer but one could say that winning would be being well liked. How do fans become well-liked? I, at one point, thought it was that you knew a lot. I don’t think that does it unless what you know proves you know a lot about the music (to the fans that really dig this aspect of Duranland) or it is that you have insider info or can give news alerts. I do know a lot about Duran history but I cannot tell you details about who produced what track or what different remixes are out there. I have no insider connections and don’t have time to give every little piece of news. How else could people become well-liked on social media? From my observation, another means is to be witty, funny or make cool Duran references. Sometimes, I am okay at that but usually I have to be really comfortable with the crowd around me first. Social media isn’t going to cut it. I am assume that I don’t have anything super interesting to say so I don’t say much at all.
Does this attitude include responding to “official” people’s posts including DDHQ? I sometimes think about responding and then literally the next thought is, “What would I post that would offer something of interest or substance?” Then, I realize that I would just be repeating others and not in any cool way so I don’t. This feeling was ten times worse when John Taylor was on twitter. What the hell would he care what I have to say? Though, it is funny that I don’t have the same concerns when I post about things that I feel very competent in (history, politics, education). In those settings, I rarely shut up. But for whatever reason I hold myself back when it comes to fandom and the subtle competition that exists. (I know…some will deny that social hierarchy exists. Those comments only reinforce what I know about fandom and social hierarchy.)
Two questions emerge. First, does this make my fandom or love for Duran and John any less? Second, do I wish to change this situation? As for the first question, my fandom is not any less than any others even though I don’t show it in the way that many others do. I do write this blog after all. They must matter a lot to me. My love for John Taylor hasn’t really varied since my 9 year old self fell for him more than 3 decades ago. Do I wish to change this? In some ways, yes, and in others…I’m okay. Do I wish that there was less competition in fandom? Absolutely. Would that make me feel more comfortable? 100%. It is part of the reason that I blog, plan events, etc. The more fans come together, the less competition exists. I definitely wish that there was less judgement. In saying all that, I acknowledge that I’m not perfect in those areas and must work on them myself. Do I wish that I responded differently and be less worried about being accepted or liked? Sure and I can work on changing some of that, too, while I push to make Duranland a happier place.