I know that I am not unique when it comes to being a girl child of the 80’s that carried a torch for The Bangles. They were beautiful, they had great hair, they had cool clothes, they sang songs that I could sing along too and (hurrah!) their songs were on the radio all the time.
I used to make mixed tapes by holding my Casio boom box up to my tv and recording songs directly from the afternoon Mtv lineup. One of the first tapes was Walk Like an Egyptian six times in a row. Oh I know you are impressed! (what do you mean that isn’t a mixed tape?!! I was in the 6th grade I had it all figured out.)
Every year my elementary school had a talent contest for bragging rights, yearbook fame, and a plastic trophy. In the fifth grade I won first prize for lip-synching Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All. Yes. Yes I did. I was a total Kid’s Incorporated/ Puttin’ on the Hits prodigy and I knew exactly how to lip-synch a power ballad.
So for sixth grade I knew that I had to go big or go home. I convinced my two best friends that year Penny ___ and Susan ____ to join me in a showstopper routine of Walk Like an Egyptian with dance moves (oh God yes), makeup (woo!) and black spandex. We were going to bring the house down.
Except at the last-minute (the night before!!!) both Penny and Susan backed out. They were too afraid, too worried that people would make fun of us, they didn’t have the desire for stardom that I had. They wished me well and hoped we could still be BFF’s.
The day of the talent show I felt like I had a brand new kind of flu. My friends wouldn’t make eye contact with me and kids from the lower grades kept coming up saying how excited they were for my big number. It was horrible. When showtime rolled around I had made a choice – I was going to perform.
Obviously I couldn’t do Walk Like an Egyptian because I didn’t know all the parts and even if I did it would just look like a hot mess to even attempt to pull off. The next song on my mixed tape would have to do. I would sell it. I would OWN IT. I would make the entire elementary school see my star power!!
I began Lionel Richie’s Say You, Say Me in earnest. Thirty seconds in I could hear the snickers from the bleachers. Then the unmistakable sound of disinterest. I had lost it. No magic. No glow. I think I started crying, which probably gained me a bit of interest, but in the end it was an absolute wreck.
Ten years later my life was totally different. I had chased an acting career all the way to NYC and then to LA where I let it flit away. In LA I decided to find work on the other side of the industry in film and I started working at a production company based at a major Hollywood studio. You name an A level or B level star from the mid to late 90’s and chances are I met them, spoke to them, or worked with their assistant. You learn very, very swiftly that people are just people. (well some people are people and some people are assholes – but THAT is another story.)
I never got starstruck, there just wasn’t time when time was money. So a big movie star decided to take a nap in my office for a few hours, no biggie. So some other big wig wanted to gossip on the phone every time he got a manicure, whatever. Seriously.
Three years into my job my boss asked me to walk over to a nearby production company and meet a producer and bring him back to the bungalow. The guy was a new hire, new to the lot, and had NO idea where anything was. When I heard his name I literally stumbled.
His last name was Hoffs.
You know where I’m going with this, right? No?
So I shake some sense into my brain and walk over to meet this guy rehearsing my “hello” speech in my head. Which, wow, I never had to do that before. I find the guy in a suit lost in a parking lot and greet him, “HI!! Mr. Hoffs!!!” We shake hands, we start to walk back to where my boss’s office is, I can not breathe.
“So Hoffs. That’s like The Bangles, right? Like Susanna?” (gasp, gasp, gasp, gasping for air as I walk)
I pause. No wait. I stop. Which caused him to stop and sort of look at me all purple and blotchy in the face. I am rendered speechless. Exactly????? WHAT???!!! EXACTLY??!!!! OMFG!!!!!!!!!!!!
We walk up the steps to the bungalow and my boss is standing at my desk going through things (ahem). He looks at me all flushed then he looks at Mr. Hoffs. My boss suddenly remembers that I am a girl and thinks that I am wickedly crushed out. It’s awkward as fuck. Seriously.
And no offense to this guy but my reaction was based entirely on the Kevin Bacon-ness of the moment. One degree, baby. Meeting this guy meant that I was possibly ONE DEGREE from Susanna. The 6th grader in me was going bananas.
So here is what is totally crappy. For a solid month (ok, more than that…much, much more than that) I was convinced that this producer guy was the brother of the lead singer of The Bangles. HOWEVER everyone I worked with just thought I had some stupid crush. (I guess they had no way to explain why I would flush scarlet every time he called or stopped by.)
Later (much, much, much, much later) I found out there was no relation. At all. (News flash: Will Smith and Kevin Smith are not brothers either.) So my only starstruck moment in Hollywood was utterly wasted and I continued to carry a Bangles shaped hole in my “want to meet them” area of my heart.
A few weeks ago I found out that they are playing a gig in Philadelphia.
Tonight is the night and I am all a flutter like the 6th grade again. This message from the super awesome @JoeyFortman might be giving me a heart attack: