How to Be a Boy Band-Loving Auntie
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Brianne Spinelli
Brianne Spinelli is an “Auntie by Relation” (ABR) to Julia, Alexis, and Lucas. A life-long lover of pop culture, Brianne has taken her love of pop music, especially boy bands, through to adulthood and subsequently, into aunthood. Connect with her on Twitter at @freetobebree or here on SavvyAuntie.com, AuntBree.
Who doesn’t love the thrill of a good concert? Thousands of fans get crammed in like sardines, each with a nervous ball of energy in the pit of her stomach, when suddenly the lights dim and those five unmistakable figures appear onstage along with the opening notes of one of their most popular songs. High pitched screams fill the arena, and one of them is coming from you!
We’ve all been there: the boy band crazes that rock concert venues all over the world are nothing new to even the savviest of aunties. All the way back from the craze of Beatlemania, boy bands have played a major part in the lives of aunties as well as their nieces and nephews. In fact, many aunties still find themselves bopping around to their favorite boy bands, as many have recently reunited. Whether a fan of the Osmonds, Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, New Edition, *N SYNC, or the Backstreet Boys (just to name a few), aunties can relate to their nieces and nephews on the point of their passion for pop acts, while also actively participating in the fun.
Growing up, I was very fortunate to have an aunt who was very supportive of my own boy band fandom. I very distinctly remember sitting in the front seat of Aunt Jan’s car as she drove the two of us up to the lake where our families camped every summer. She would have me load her CD player with discs from my Backstreet Boys, *N SYNC, 98 Degrees, O-Town, and New Kids on the Block collection. You’d better believe Aunt Jan knew every word, and even some choreography, that we were able to sing and car-dance the whole way. The 40-minute car rides seemed to flash by in mere seconds. Then, as I was preparing to graduate college, my first boy band loves, the New Kids on the Block, were reuniting for a tour. Aunt Jan got me tickets to the concert as my graduation gift. Although she did not attend the concert with me, she bought tickets for my sister and two cousins so that we could all enjoy together. In the months leading up to the concert, Aunt Jan scoured yard sales for vintage New Kids on the Block trading cards, buttons, and any other memorabilia to help psych us up for the impending concert (as if we needed any help in that department!).
Aunt Jan passed away very suddenly almost three years ago. I miss her every single day, but I hold tight to the example she set as an exemplary aunt. I follow Aunt Jan’s lead as I am now an aunt myself. My niece Julia is 15 years old and in the thick of boy band obsession, which brings me such tremendous joy. She’s old enough now that she helps us in the kitchen on holidays, and this past Easter, Julia and I compiled a playlist of our favorite boy band songs that we danced around to as we cooked. I am constantly on the lookout for local appearances, performances, or signings by her favorite boy bands so that I can take her to see them. We haven’t had much luck in that department yet, but are looking forward to the day that we can “fan-girl” over Big Time Rush, One Direction, or The Wanted together. In the meantime, I’m perfectly content buying her anything related to her favorite boy bands to build up her memorabilia collection or curling up on the couch to watch episodes of Big Time Rush with her.
Make it a Special Thing Between the Two of You
Half the fun of boy bands is picking a favorite member and pining for them incessantly, plastering your walls with their faces, listening to them sing about the romantic ideals that make every young girl swoon.
Make an activity out of it: pass your boy band know-how on to your nieces! For example, you already know that using mounting putty, otherwise known as Fun Tak, is the best way to hang posters and pinups in your bedroom without damaging the walls – although scotch tape tends to have better staying power. All the while, you can share stories and anecdotes of your own boy band experience.
Growing up, I had a HUGE poster of Howie Dorough from the Backstreet Boys hanging over my bed. On cold nights, the Fun Tak would lose its tackiness, and I would wake up with Howie on top of me!
In some cases, aunties have held on to their old boy band memorabilia and can compare it to that of the current boy band merchandise on shelves. From the tame to the outrageous, boy bands have had their faces on pretty much everything. Have a contest to see who has the most ridiculous boy band memorabilia. When your niece pulls out her Jonas Brothers beach towels, counter with your New Kids on the Block sleeping bag. However, your niece may trump everything with her One Direction hot water bottle cover!
While you’ve got all of your memorabilia out, organize a boy band sleepover for you two. If you’re feeling especially bold, allow her to invite a few friends as well. Set up camp on the floor, don band t-shirts, apply traditional concert face paint, and watch videos of your guys! Have a “Boy Band Choreography” dance contest, and nosh on boy band-inspired snacks like “No String Cheese Attached,” “That’s Just the Way We Cinnamon Roll,” and “Everything About Yoo-Hoo.”
Boy bands can be a very positive thing in your niece’s or nephew’s life. Sure, they may cause mass hysteria among adolescents, but they tend to be clean cut and an age-appropriate activity for youngsters. After all, record companies spend millions of dollars grooming boy bands for exactly that purpose. Occasionally, a boy band member may stray and go a not-so appealing route, a la AJ McLean from the Backstreet Boys. Instances such as these can open up lines for a conversation with your niece or nephew regarding the perils of drugs and alcohol abuse.
The main thing to remember is to keep an open mind and have fun with it! Boy band loving can give you the perfect opportunity to act like a kid again, and who better to act like a kid with than your nieces and nephews!
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Published: August 13, 2012