I have a general rule of never meeting my heroes. This isn’t because I’m worried they will disappoint me, but rather because I’ll say something stupid or dumb or offensive or creepy. Why ruin a perfectly good one sided relationship by making them aware of my existence? Why?
This whole HELLO INTERNET BOY project is based around the conceit of meeting people, of forcing a real life relationship. I think in this case it’s been overwhelmingly successful, but I feel like meeting people or celebrities or artists that you admire has so much more that can go wrong. I think because it’s inherently awkward, and there’s so much pressure on the more famouser person to do something, to perform or be witty or at least say something, while the other person waits with hungry, expectant eyes. At least that’s how I always imagine it – I think the reality is that far more gregarious people than me are easily able to carry out conversations with people they like and not make it weird. Bully for them.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mallory Ortberg, writer, creator of The Toast and just one of my absolute favourite writers in the world. She is so incredibly absurd and hilarious and talented, that when I got the chance to meet her, and it wasn’t a surprise thing where I jump out, slavering and with things for her to sign, but that she was actually prepared and keen to briefly say hi to me, I realised I had to take the chance. It’s all because of my excellent sister, by the way, nothing that I did. A day or two before, we were discussing Gilmore Girls via text message through the intermediary of my sister, and male/male erotica books, and when I got to the Opera House, she’d signed a copy of her books, with an inspiring message to my dogs.
And it was lovely – we saw her excellent talk at the All About Women Festival, and then we waited backstage and drank champagne and ate free food, and then she came back, we showed her lots of pictures of our dogs, discussed her starting a Dear Prudence only for pet issues, and then I think I explained what Wollongong is, and then it was over. I wasn’t funny or witty, but really, who is compared to Mallory? So that’s fine. I didn’t make an enemy, so I’ll chalk this up as a win. Not making enemies is a big concern in my life these days.
This post is generously supported by the Thiel Grant for Online Writing, and is included in a 50 part series called ‘HELLO INTERNET BOY’ ranging from March 2015 – March 2016.