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Another Fandom


Laura T.

I'm not a Starsky & Hutch fan. Oh, I like the show; it's good, I enjoy watching the show. But I can't say that I'm a fan of the show.

So, of course, you're asking yourself, why is this chick writing for a con-zine, much less attending SHareCon?

Because I want to be an SH fan.

You know how some shows just hit ya? You start watching a series, and maybe two or three eps into the first season, you think to yourself, "Damn, I don't need another fandom!" And one commercial break later you're thinking, "He's so cute! They've got great chemistry. You know who'd love this series? (Insert fanpair name here). I need to show her this." Before you know it, you're checking out the ratings every week, writing the network and sponsors to keep it on the air, and lamenting the fact you weren't smart enough to tape the first three episodes on SP. Yup. You've got another fandom.

Other fandoms are slower. I call 'em Pusher Fandoms. Another fan takes you under her wing and slowly immerses you into the mythology of that specific fandom. You've all had it happen to you. "This is a really important ep because this is the one where most fen think he realizes he loves his partner." or: "This is the one with the Betrayal. Their relationship is never the same after this. Fen go through hoops trying to explain how this could have happened between them." or, my personal favorite pimping line: "Just look at the expression on his face here! You can just see the love on his face there." You go through about two marathons and five zines, join the listserv and are invited to that fandom's party at the next con. Next thing you know, you've got story ideas floating around in your head, songs on the radio are talking about your guys, and characters from your previous fandoms are having whole conversations with the 'new ones' in your head. You've got another fandom.

So, I've had an interest in SH fandom since Taya got into it. (On an aside, does everybody know how that happened? For sheer cuteness value, this incident should go down in SH history. Hurt-comfort, indeed!) Taya loaned me her copy of Linda M.'s tape. Everybody's seen this one, right? Five of the hurt-comfort-iest eps in Sh fandom back-to-back. A good start, but I needed back-up. Show me more of the show, the important ones for the mythology, the funny ones, you know! After all, you guys are the fen! But Taya and I just never seemed to find the time for SH. Flamingo, (who had offered to pimp) and I just too busy with our respective jobs to find a good marathon weekend. Before I knew it, six years had passed. Fandoms had come and gone. (Cupid, we hardly knew ya!)

I don't know why I can't get into it by myself. After all, I pimped myself into Xena before I found out the rest of fandom had discovered it. And I had a box full of eps on video that I borrowed from Taya, I just never watched them. Maybe some fandoms are group events. The fannish juice just doesn't get flowing unless you're with a group of like-minded fen. (How do you think I got into Babylon 5?)

Actually, come to think of it, aren't most fandoms group events? I mean, sure, sure, we like watching the episodes at home alone when we can freeze frame and rewind to your heart's content. But fandom is not a solitary activity. If It was, we wouldn't be jumping online and on the phone to our friends to talk about the latest episodes, and ohmygod did you hear the latest rumor? Conventions, like this one, would hold no appeal because the stars aren't here. Obviously, we've turned this little weird hobby of ours into a Grand Social Event. I think that' about 60% of the difference between us and the mundanes. (That other 40% is a different essay.)

I guess I'm really asking if we're here because of the shows, or are we here because of the people. I can hear you saying, "It's both." Bullshit. I'm here because of the people. I'm specifically at Sharecon because SH fen know how to party, they do it well, and with a great deal of joy. (And no, this is not me kissing up.) But I'm in Fandom because I discovered I could find genuine, true friends, who accepted me, as is, for the simple price of reciprocal acceptance. That is the most valuable commodity in the world, I think. I can walk into this hotel, not knowing any of you, and feel at home. Okay, the love of a tv show that was cancelled almost 30 years ago is an ice breaker, and I'll probably spend most of my time this weekend talking about said tv show, not about your family life, or my job. And if I know the actual legal names of a good portion of you by the time I leave, I'll be surprised. But I'll have made some good friends. Lifelong buddies. I honestly can't ask for more from a weekend's entertainment.

So here I am, working at con celebrating a fandom I'm not a fan of. Okay, I'm interested, but, unlike being close in horseshoes, that can't possibly count in fandom. I'm not a fan of SH. And I'm asking a whole con full of fen to pimp me. This could be dangerous.

I think I've got another fandom.