I Drank the Kool-Aid. And It Was Goddamned Delicious, OK?
Judge me all you want for my grown-up love of Justin Bieber. Seriously. I don’t care. Do it. But while you’re judging me, ask yourself this: Is it because you secretly love him too and you totally wish you were a pre-teen girl so you could justify your love, Madonna-style? Or is it because you are a self-righteous, self-professed Music Snob looking for places to leg-lift your disdain, and what better fire hydrant than the adorable teen sensation who won over the world with his awesome hair and mad pop chops? Thought so.
Admittedly, I only first knew about the Biebs because of my three dear nieces, and my single most heart-exploding-with-joy memory is of driving with them in my car and singing “Baby” together over and over at the top of our lungs. Truly. Nothing in this world can make me feel gladder or better or brighter that THAT memory, and hearing the song brings that joy back to me here in the present moment, where, let’s be honest – it doesn’t frequent much these days…and the ONLY REASON I HAVE THAT MEMORY IS BECAUSE OF JUSTIN BIEBER. I have driven around in the car scream-singing with my nieces for 20 + years and have never had any other artist or song or moment feature so prominently in a picture of pure, captured happiness. That’s right. Justin Bieber gave a me a Joy Tattoo.
Which is why I leapt at the chance to take my youngest niece to his concert in Miami last month. It was more selfish than noble, although I totally played the “Aren’t I a martyr?” card when chronicling my 4000 mile journey to the jumbotron and back for sympathetic friends. Niece #3 missed out on the NSYNC/Backstreet/X-tina outings that I got to share with the older girls a decade or so ago, and I wanted a moment like that with her. I wanted to bond with her over something she loved, as I had gotten to do with the others. Also I wanted her think I was awesome. Obviously.
I cannot lie – the night was dark and filled with more than a few terrors. Primarily, the enormous, flagrant signage everywhere in and around the arena, announcing Bacardi as the North American sponsor of JB’s tour. Nice. Pimping booze to kids not nearly old enough to even drink it illicitly at forbidden high-school parties….to kids who will endure years of anti-alcohol diatribes from parents who ignore the irony of railing against the very thing that delivered the single greatest thing in their world (aka the Biebs) to their very doorstep. Try un-confusing those
future drunks kids. I dare you.
When the Biebs himself finally emerged, my every last remnant of snark and judgment dissolved. I didn’t even mind so much about the eardrums. Totally worth it. Both for the joy on my niece’s face and for the simple fact that Justin Bieber is a STAR. Which was never more evident than seeing him do his Bieber thing after enduring not one, but TWO horrifically bland opening acts. Those boys could sing, too – maybe even better than JB. They could also dance and show us their teen muscles and mug for the cameras with the best of them. But they were not stars. They will never have a Fever named after them. Not ever.
I used to think it was just the hair. Which, by the way, is magnificent. I mean, the iconic Bieber coiff is obviously an architectural triumph – duh – but it is also a lovingly sculpted nonpareil erected by tiny frenzy-fairies using an unguent of Aphrodite tears and magical gumdrops made from the still-beating hearts of baby unicorns. It’s that good. You cannot take your eyes off it – not that you’d want to. Although, I do admit to recoiling with awkward embarrassment the moment that this tiny wonder removed his shirt to reveal the hairless boy-torso beneath. I actually did look away for that – I had to. I mean, I’m as pervy as the next guy (oh, who am I kidding, I’m exponentially more pervy than the next guy, and the guy after that) but seeing those ripped baby-abs – like a six-pack made of Go-Gurt - made me feel icky inside. Which is actually kind of a relief, if you want to know the truth.
So there. I said it. I love Justin Bieber (fully clothed) and I don’t care who knows it. I also don’t care that you and everyone you know hates him, or why you hate him, or that you now hate me. I love him for the mosaic of joyful memories he’s become a part of and the happiness those memories conjure. For the thrill he gave my niece and for the bliss of being there with her to see it. Say what you want - this child is a supernova. He possesses a radiance and a spark and a gift that mere mortals do not have and could not channel if they did. It’s not about the hair. It’s not about the Bacardi or girls or the dumb pants. It’s not about being the best singer, or the best dancer or the best musician. It’s about being The Biebs.
And that is all you need to know.