I was seventeen when I joined my first fandom. It was 1999, and Rent was kind of a big deal. The second National tour was underway – The Benny Cast to be specific. It definitely felt like the highlight of senior year was going to be their stop through Cleveland. Always a loner, I wasn’t just going to see another show with my parents. I was going to rush (I didn’t really know what that meant), I was going with actual friends who had done it before, and there was promise of a “stage door” visit afterwards. Everything was new and exciting.
Fandom feels like a completely different beast in 2014. There’s a lingo to it you have to translate until you really go native. Things like fan fiction and LARPing are probably side-eyed fiercely by newcomers until they fall down their Saarlaac pit of a weekend and suddenly look up on Sunday afternoon and wonder what happened to the last 24 hours. Outside the great personal stories from individual fans, every somebody seems to have an opinion – and they’re rarely good – about fandom.