On feeling possessive of your celebrity crushes.
No, listen,” I said. “If I can’t help the way I’m feeling, then it has to be real, right?”
My mom clicked her tongue and shook her head. I could tell she was trying not to laugh.
“It’s not like I want to,” I went on. “I just do.”
I, a particularly idealistic 13-year-old who had been reading too much Sarah Dessen, was trying to convince her that I was in love. Her eyes said it all, but as gently as she could, she spelled it out for me. “You can’t possibly be in love with him,” she chided. “He’s Nick Jonas.”
For better or worse, the Jonas Brothers defined an entire period of my life — they were my first real object of fangirl devotion, and my first favorite band. And while soulful, sensitive Nick was my favorite, it was goofy, charming Joe who had been the reason I took note of them in the first place, working the mic stand at a skatepark in their music video for the American Dragon: Jake Long theme song.
These days you can’t really tell this about me anymore. But I never could throw anything away, so traces of it remain among my belongings: a newspaper clipping of me being interviewed at a Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience screening; a Japanese edition of their self-titled album; the posters I spent years collecting from magazines like Popstar! and BOP.
In the posters — and there were over 200 of them — the brothers were fresh-faced and pink-cheeked, their median age 17. They put their hands together in a silent prayer, held out roses, and put their palms to their hearts. So romantic.
But I had to grow up eventually. I moved on, and somewhere in my mind the Jonas Brothers stayed the way they were when I loved them — striped cardigans, Wayfarers, colored skinny jeans and all.
I didn’t understand it then, but my mom was right about my romantic situation with Nick Jonas, or the obvious lack thereof. But I was all too aware of it a couple of nights ago, when it was announced that Joe Jonas had gotten engaged to Sophie Turner.
10 years ago, I would’ve been devastated, inconsolable. When you’re young and everything’s raw and hyperbolic, the sense of “ownership” you feel over your celebrity crushes is fierce and fervent. When you said you loved them, you meant every word. It’s silly and embarrassing when I think back to that conversation, but what my mom didn’t know — maybe what she had forgotten — was that these kinds of feelings and concerns were real, to whomever experienced them.
But just like any other emotion, they faded over time, and all I was left with was the clarity. When I heard that Joe was getting married, the sensation it sparked in me was strange and poignant, but uncomplicated. He was still more than just a former teen idol to me after all — he felt more like an old friend.
10 years ago, it would’ve felt like the end of the world. Today, it still feels like the end of something. But it’s also a start.
I try to reconcile the Joe Jonas I knew, the pastor’s son who wore a purity ring, with the Joe Jonas who bought that gorgeous teardrop diamond ring for his wife-to-be. They’re worlds away, just like the person I am now compared to the girl I had been before.
To quote from their toned-down version of Busted’s Year 3000, he’s doing fine. I can’t help but feel like I am, too.
And if I can’t help it, then it has to be real, right?