Diary of a Lifelong Groupie

When I was eight years old, I wrote fan mail to Aaron Carter.

His poster hung above my wall, and sometimes I would kiss it. I spent my free time counting our age difference, thinking to myself while counting on my fingers, We’re five years apart. My parents are five years apart too, so we can still be together!

When I was 13 years old, I became enthralled with pop-punk bands. I spent every weeknight at a local venue, watching All Time Low, The Academy Is…, and The Maine. Sometimes, my mom came with me and hung around in the back. I waited in 20-degree weather, wearing a tube top, to meet William Beckett, who was my biggest crush at the time.

Once, I actually looked up how to become a groupie on Google. I found an About.com article, and I still remember some of the tips. Wear something unique to stick out from the crowd, it said. Become friends with anyone involved — the merch guy, the roadie. They may not be hot or famous, but they’re good ways to get closer to your final goal.

After a brief (and awkward) MySpace message flirtation with a guitarist from a pop-punk band that you’ve probably never heard of, I was all the wiser. When I finally turned 18, I wasn’t settling for being simply a fan anymore. I found my college roommate on Facebook after she wrote on a group wall stating that she wanted a roommate that listened to pop-punk due to the fact that, in her free time, she followed All Time Low up and down the east coast.

Perfect, I thought to myself, someone who shares my passion for music — and musicians. We bought concert tickets together before either of us had either moved into our dorm. Our first show together as roommates was to be a white rapper that was dapper as hell. Looking back, I wore something completely ridiculous: high-waisted red and navy sailor striped shorts, a white lace bustier, and a big plaid bow in my curly hair. But, it worked. As I got to the front of the meet-and-greet line and said hello, the rapper asked what I was doing after the show, and if he could have my number. Trying not to show my giddiness, I wrote my number down for the merch guy standing next to us. As I left the line, thousands of young girls in crop tops and Converse sneakers glared at me in awe. I loved every second of it.

He never called. I waited up in my dorm room until about 1 am before calling it quits and going to bed. The next show I went to, I was even more confident (and much more drunk). As I spoke to the musician, I asked him what he was doing later. I gave my number to his right hand man, and shortly after, we were all headed to the tour bus together. (I half-heartedly said sorry to the guy I attended the concert with.)

I quickly learned that the life of a B-list musician was much less glamorous than I thought. In the next year, I partied in tiny, cramped tour buses, overbooked 3-star hotel rooms, and backstage mid-sized venues among cases of Four Lokos. It wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t luxurious, but I was in. I reveled in my ability to get into shows for free, and the way I could secretly gloat about hanging out with someone’s favorite rapper.

For years, I floated around concert venues, wearing VIP stickers, and asking for plus-ones. But you’re probably wondering if I ever truly fulfilled the groupie philosophy and hooked up with someone famous. For the longest time, I didn’t. I was never one to be aggressive, and the few times where a musician did explicitly want to get with me, I either got too drunk or was seeing somebody. The opportunity arose when the first rapper — the one who asked for my number way back when — pulled me aside at an after-party three years later and told me that he had been staring at me during the entire show. He told me that I was the only girl he wanted that night, and that I was the sexiest girl there. I knew he probably recited these lines to a new girl in every city, but I was the girl tonight, and it felt good.

Unfortunately, hooking up with your favorite rapper isn’t much different than hooking up with a fuckboy. It might even be worse. If I learned anything from my years as a groupie, it’s that you should party and enjoy the perks, but don’t place your favorite artist on a pedestal, because their dick game isn’t any better than that loser you matched with on Tinder.

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