It was the spring of 1984. I was 12, the clothes were Esprit, the hair was bi-leveled, and the night was sultry. (Or maybe it wasn’t. I was in the basement watching Suburban Cablevision for most of it, so I can’t say for sure.) John Taylor, Simon Le Bon and the rest of Duran Duran were the reigning MTV Friday Night Video Champions. It was during this reign that my middle school bestie Rachana and I became obsessed with the band Tiger Beat and BOP used to call “The Fab 5.” Ours was to be an unrequited love story that would span three pathetic decades and media from vinyl to cassettes and CDs to iPhones. Chuckle away. But you will never convince me that “Rio” isn’t one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.
A few years in, Duran Duran paid a visit to Z-100 and listeners were invited to call in with questions. What this really meant, if you were lucky enough to get through, was that for a few seconds, John Taylor and Simon Le Bon would know you existed. So I redialed and redialed and redialed and got only a busy signal. I was devastated. Trying to console me, Lew said, “You never know. One day, you could just be walking down the street in New York and bump right into them…” And it is those words — that tiny possibility — that still gets me through my darkest days. I don’t know why, but I never got over this obsession. They are my first loves. They taught me nothing I know about eyeliner. And when you have loved something as long as I’ve loved them, even without a shred of personal contact, they kind of become part of your psyche.
Cut to 2012. Rachana and I are 40. The clothes are J. Brand, the hair is flat-ironed, and the night might or might not be sultry. But it doesn’t matter, because John Taylor is signing copies of his new memoir in the city on October 16th. Dressed in our finest skinny jeans, uber-stylie fall tops and shiny new booties, Rachana and I planned to hit the bookstore, experience the nirvana that is John Taylor, capture the whole thing on our iPhones, then enjoy a delightful ladies’ lunch as we analyzed our interactions
For some reason, I pictured this going down at the famed Fifth Avenue bookstore Rizzoli. Rizzoli hasn’t actually been on Fifth Avenue since 1985, and the book signing is really taking place at a non-descript Barnes and Noble in a midly depressing part of town. Tuesday is also supposed to be way too warm for booties. I might have to meet John Taylor in … GASP … ballet flats. Since my other long-running friend, Nicole, lives in Germany, she’s obviously not coming. That feels wrong. Then came the big blow. The signing starts at 12:30. The store is opening at the inhuman hour of 7 am to accommodate the massive line of screaming ninnies expected to show up. Most likely, I was told, those who arrive much later than 7 will never make it to the front of the line. This seemed like the gods of childhood dreams playing a cruel trick on me. Really?! I had to choose between sleep – my most beloved body function – and JOHN TAYLOR? REALLY?! Thankfully, this disaster was averted when Nicole’s sister Rebecca suggested I pay someone to hold our spots in line. I hadn’t known this was a thing, but apparently opera fans do it all the time for tickets. Brilliant!
Yet with so many of the details unraveling, I started to question the whole thing. Assuming we even make it to the front of the line, it will take him two seconds to sign his name. Photos might not even be allowed, and if they are, I’m entirely confident I’ll look grotesque and cross-eyed in mine. There is no possible combination of words we could conjure to leave any kind of impression in that situation. He probably won’t even look up.
But what really concerns me is the end of the fantasy. What if he’s a total douche bag? What if he looks like a sad, washed up Happy Ending Sundae Story? I don’t want to meet that version of him. I want to meet him in 1984. I am so used to looking forward to this – how will I feel when I have to look back instead? When the thing I’ve waited for all these years has happened, will I be happy about it? Is it better to have the hope than the memory? Is this a really bad idea?
Maybe. But fuck it. We’re meeting John Taylor on Tuesday!!!