The Fan A to Z – #J

Continuing from here.

J – Are you outed as a fan among your family and friends?

Depends. Unfortunately I am one of those people who just find it hard to keep things to herself. The indiscretion does not apply to secrets entrusted into my care – I’ll happily take those to my grave. But when it comes to my own sensitivities, I tend to come forth rather quickly. Mainly because I have this need to discuss the things that capture my attention, no matter whether it is a book I have read, a play I have seen, a hobby I am obsessed with or a political issue I am interested in. Or some bloke from the entertainment biz who has utterly captured my heart.

So I was unable to keep my family from discovering that I had taken a deep interest in a particular actor. I mean – all that sudden interest in a 75-year-old children’s book was going to look incongruous after ignoring the fantasy genre for most of my life… Or the short weekend trips abroad to stand outside in the winter cold at the red carpet. And then there was the sudden appearance of that “Mrs Richard Armitage” mug in the kitchen…

So yes, my immediate family knows. And so do some of my friends. Some people know that I have a “favourite actor”. They may not know, however, how deeply I am engaged with the whole fandom thing. Not because I am embarrassed – but because I simply know that some friends can not understand why I should spend time, energy and money on ‘being a silly fan’. I don’t enjoy facing such prejudices, and I am tired of having to explain that being an enthusiastic, committed, active fan does not equal stalking. I wouldn’t ask a dedicated soccer fan for justification of their hobby – and I hate having to explain *my* hobby. So by and large I leave it at “I like this actor.” And I fangirl in undisturbed happiness.

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83 thoughts on “The Fan A to Z – #J

  1. Last weekend when I was in the city it was packed with thousands of football fans (Aussie Rules) dressed in their team colours for the Grand Final. Fine, no one questions that fervent commitment and enthusiasm, but following Richard with that same fervency?……. I feel like I need to keep it to myself. If the subject comes up I refer to him as “my football team” lol 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – that’s a great idea. Let’s just call the whole thing “Armitage FC”. Let the others thing that this is an obscure football club (FC) from the North of England, while we happily engage with the Armitage fan club (FC) 😂

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      • 👍 club song could be Sexy Back!!
        The C19 forum is my cover for meetups when friends ask how I know those ladies, since they’re mostly from interstate. It works because those who know me are aware of my love for history, period drama and Jane Austen, so a 19th century literature forum is no surprise. 😉

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        • Yay, absolutely. That would be the anthem.
          Oh hahaha, *that* is what the name of the forum means???? I had never copped on until now. But it makes perfect sense. And I agree – it’s the perfect cover…

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          • I think it started in reaction to North and South and Elizabeth Gaskell was a 19thC writer, I don’t know if it’s specifically related to literature of that era. I’m a member although I haven’t logged in for ages (blogs are more my thing!) but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 😁

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            • C19 pre-existed the Armitage North & South. When the BBC board folded, it was one of (a couple of) places that “refugees” went — they were invited to join and the Armitage boards were set up for them then.

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            • Totally convincing!
              And I have heard so much about that forum but sadly never made it onto it. I don’t even know whether it was that my application wasn’t answered or that I never applied… Is there still much going on there?

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              • As with all the boards at the moment (and the blogs, lol), there is a (dwindling) hard care of fans who are united as much by their history with each other as by their interest in Armitage. C19 has the advantage of being about something larger than Armitage, and it also still hosts a lot of (G-rated) fanfic. It extended an invitation to the (non-troll) posters at imdb when imdb deleted its message boards as well.

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  2. My students know who Richard Armitage is! He is referred to as my future husband. Of course, seeing him in all of his different characters, the next question is always – Mz Z? How many future husbands you has? (No, my children are NOT grammatically correct!)

    My mother thinks I”m too old for this and need to find a ‘real man’ and my son rolls his eyes, even though he thoroughly enjoyed Oceans 8. He wants to see the previous 3, but I’ve told him they’re not as good because there is no Richard in them! He totally gets me!

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      • My husband refers tongue-in-cheek to RA as my boyfriend. He has always supported my involvement with my RA friendship group, flying interstate for meetups etc., but since I would probably feel a bit insecure if his fanship level for a female celebrity was up to that of mine for Richard, generally I fangurl on the quiet. I’m quite comfortable rabbiting on about RA with my Mum though.

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  3. First the mug is adorable! Where did you get it cuz I need one!! Second the keychain I got says mentally married to him I sent a pic of it to my sister and she thought it was so cute. My brother thinks all of this is nonsense when he saw the keychain bec one of the tornado twins looked at it when she asked me what’s that Aunt Michele and I said my lucky charm! I think it’s nobody’s concern but ours who we like
    Fantasize about and drool over. The conversations, support , anecdotes, laughs, pictures, and a whole bunch more I can’t put into words right now bec of the cold medicine I’m taking have all made Richard that more special and made me feel like I found a place where I belong. That is priceless!!👍👏

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  4. I think I have about a half/half ratio of friends who know about my “hobby” and those who don’t. I have been lucky enough to meet wonderful Armitage sisters, sometimes requiring international travel, and sometimes not. If I leave my husband behind and say I am meeting an exotic assortment of friends to go to a play or take a trip, my local gal pals want to know how I met these mysterious ladies who obviously don’t live nearby. Then I have to explain what a fandom is, and how we came to know each other. Judging on the blank stares I get on explaining this, most friends don’t get it, but since I am a bit eccentric anyway, they are not shocked, probably more amused at more evidence of my weirdness. Only a very select few know about shrines or odes. A highly developed sense of humor is required for that knowledge to be revealed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pattern matches yours, Kathy. I’m known (and admired, which I find smugly satisfying) as a self-determining eccentric, too, though only a few know about he whom I call “my celebrity crush.” Most don’t “get it” and are judgmental: eye rolls, etc. The hell with them.
      I hosted a N&S viewing party one time, thinking I was making a munificent gesture toward changing several friends’ lives. Three hours in, when one said, “Is he ever going to stop scowling?,” I realized I needed to keep my fanning separate from the rest of my life.

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      • Hahaha! I thought the scowling was quite sexy and charming! He became a pussy cat in the last scene anyway. That was very nice of you to have a N&S viewing party. My friend now likes Bradley Cooper and asked me to see Star is Born w her next weekend which I will. I showed her my keychain that I recently got of Richard’s pic and she smiled and said good for you!! 👏😉

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        • My 70-year-old sister likes Bradley Cooper, Michele. She won’t quite cop to it being a “crush” but his name seems to come up frequently, always with “cute” attached. So the signs are there. He’s pulled in a few of us oldsters.

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          • He really does nothing for me but she’s going thru a messy divorce right now and she’s very supportive of my adoration for Richard so I love going to the movies period.. the trailers, the music, the people that waunder in same as the theatre so I’m happy to go w her. We will probably eat dinner first and drink and I am a Lady GaGa fan.

            Liked by 1 person

      • I have to admit that I like the idea of a viewing party. But I am also really possessive of my fangirling, and while I do not mind sharing Mr A with my online fandom friends, I really do not want to share him with the other people in my life. Weird, that.

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        • I know just what you mean about possessiveness. Online it feels a lovely and supportive community sharing our mutual adoration – and I would love to meet-up one day with fellow fans to discuss this but in my home life its entirely different. I was forever shoving pictures of RA under my sister’s nose for her to admit that he is handsome but recently she saw an image of him on my laptop and she said “Mm, He is rather good-looking, I could fall for him if I’m not careful” and I felt distinctly jealous. There was also a woman at work once, who was a fellow fan, and we often discussed him. She called herself ‘The next Mrs Armitage’ and I used to think, ‘but I’m the …’. I’m not sure how I would feel if one of my friends caught the RA bug either.

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          • I feel a lot like you do too. Luckily my sister has the hots for Andrew Lincoln so I’m safe there. My girlfriend whom I going w to see Star Is Born after a brunch of pigging out and Mimosas likes Bradley Cooper so she gets my happiness when I tell her about Richards tweets or Audio “looks”

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          • Yep, that’s exactly it, Jane. I like it when others “get” why I am smitten. But having to “share” RA with them is another story.
            And grah, ‘The next Mrs Armitage’ – so rude! I mean, ok, I have a tea mug with ‘Mrs Richard Armitage’ printed on it, but that’s just for my own amusement at home. I prefer not to rub the whole ‘sharing’ deal into other people’s faces…

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      • Well, you tried. It never occurred to me that he was scowling throughout N &S. I just thought he was extremely handsome, sexy, frustrated and altogether fascinating. Missed the scowl altogether. I must have been looking at something else. Eyes? Cravat? The tall hat? Who knows? Maybe we can have a viewing with fellow fans complete with drool bibs and smelling salts, someday That would be fun.

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      • A viewing party – what a lovely idea. If they couldn’t appreciate The Smoulder™️, they can’t be helped. You are indeed a real humanitarian!

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    • You make a convincing case why it may actually be a good idea to cultivate a bit of a reputation as an eccentric.
      I love how you put that last sentence. Yes, the shrines are only to be revealed to those who have humour – and who are non-judgmental. They are about enjoyment, about laughing at Mr A, and even about laughing at ourselves. Not everyone gets that and takes them all-too literally.

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      • I think the RAPS and the wrap ups you do are sweet, funny, entertaining and I think if Richard knew how much time and creativity and artistic love you put into making them and all the endearing comments here about them he would be flattered and honored.!

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        • Hehe, that’s what I hope, too. I mean, the shrines aren’t made for *him* – they are very deliberately addressed to the fans, and I suspect he would cringe if he saw himself (as a character) objectified as a drool facilitator – or as the butt of a joke. But in the end it comes down to what you say – ultimately it is a compliment that a) I spend time and thought on making them and b) there is a demand for them from fans.

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          • I think it is one of the highest compliments a fan give an actor and I don’t think he’s a butt of a joke I think his BUM is umm sigh worthy for sure and I’ve seen some of the artwork that shows up on #richardarmitage and it is quite good!! Definitely a demand from fans-ie look at how much those RAPS fetched at the B’day Auction.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. In my life, differing groups of people have differing levels of knowledge. Most have not been that interested. One thing that has surprised me overall is how little reaction (either enthusiastic or negative) I’ve gotten. Maybe people have gotten used to my weirdness over the years, or fandom has become such a normal, standard thing that it’s not as tarred with the brush of weirdness as it was even ten years ago.

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    • Your comment has made me think. Maybe I am tarring all my friends with the same brush – and maybe not everyone is as intolerant as I fear they might be. You are probably right in saying that fandom has become a much more accepted – even mainstream? – kind of thing. My kids – despite pulling my leg over it every once in a while – certainly do not find it strange that I am geeking out over anything connected to RA. There’s hope for the future!

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  6. That‘s an interesting question. I am not what you would call the silent type, so not talking about something that excites me isn’t really an option and The Armitage certainly excites me. My best friend, who is not a fan (not that she dislikes him, she just doesn’t love him like I do) is very patient with me and my squeeing. I‘m sure by now she can recite his IMDb page, DOB, full name, and other assorted facts in her sleep. We actually met through another fandom and have been friends for going on 15 years now. She listens to my Armitage, I listen to her obsessions and we have a lot of fun with it all. My colleague knows something about it because I’m physiologically incapable of shutting up about all things Armitage for 9 hours at a time. Now Mr. Hill, that‘s an interesting story. As I said earlier, I have done the fandom thing before. I have tons of DVDs lining my shelves, I had a blog with my fan art, I even co-moderated a huge board for my previous obsession. He never cared in the least. For some reason though, Armitage Mania really gets his goat. He‘s erupted a few times, so I tone all that way down to keep the peace. He knows that I‘m discussing it online butI try to keep a low profile.

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    • I think it is wonderful when you have good friends with whom you can fangirl to your heart’s content. I am all for listening to other people’s obsession – in turn for having to listening to mine 😉
      Can I ask which fandom you previously engaged in?
      As for SOs and their reaction to RA – I think we are all doing well in toning it down for the benefit of our RL partners. They are true gems, allowing us to drool over a “rival”, so yeah, like you, I kind of keep the juicy bits to myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, my previous foray into fandom. I’m an alumna of NCIS academy with a major in Mark Harmon Studies and a minor in Michael Weatherly Appreciation. There’s a section on our DVD shelf that’s lovingly referred to as The Mark Harmon Memorial Library (though he’s alive and well, I’m happy to say). I handed in my membership card many moons ago.
        I have never shared anything remotely juicy about The Armitage since the dislike Mr. H. displayed was immediate and visceral. Just one of life’s many mysteries, I guess.

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        • LOL – nicely put, Kate. I actually had to google Mark Harmon just to make sure I had it right. Jeez, I remember him from the early 80s. Wasn’t he in something called “Flamingo Road”???
          Funny how your hubs copped on that RA was a serious rival 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh god, not even I put myself through Flamingo Road. But he was yummy in the West Wing and Chicago Hope, funny in Worth Winning and even if Sweet Bird of Youth (opposite none other than Liz Taylor) isn’t exactly a masterpiece, the screencaps were totall worth it, if you know what I mean.

            Yeah, the Mr. H./RA thing continues to mystify. There must be a change in the atmospheric pressure surrounding my RA love or maybe I emit a high-pitched sound only he can hear…

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                    • Awww, big squishy hugs for you. ❤

                      I’ve read your comments. You don’t sound stupid at all. I enjoy reading them. I’m pretty new myself and don’t get all the shorthand. I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. We can always ask.

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                    • Can I just add here for both of you and all other “new” fans, that it is extremely refreshing to have some vocal new people here in the community! I find it really beneficial to have you around. a) You are not “jaded” yet, i.e. you are full of enthusiasm and positivity when it comes to our OOA (object of affection), and that is really nice. b) Because you are still in the process of discovering RA’s work, you are often providing opportunities for older fans to revisit the stuff from the past – something that we don’t do that often ourselves. c) That also gives the older fans the opportunity to share their knowledge, which again is a nice feeling.
                      So I welcome your questions and your perspectives – it is invigorating my own fandom process, too!

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                    • I feel very fortunate to have found a place where so many wonderful voices are kind, intelligent, funny, lovable, friendly and embrace everyone. It has made a world of difference to me and helped me come out of my shell all in the name of OOA 👏👍💗😘

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                    • Well, I’m nothing if not vocal. Seriously, give me a timeout anytime it’s necessary. 😉

                      I find your blog and the comments here fantastic. I’ve tried other avenues of interacting in the fandom and while everyone is free to fangirl as they please, some things just aren’t my cup of tea. I like Twitter. It’s like a buffet and you choose with whom you want to interact. And I enjoy intelligent conversation beyond mere squeeing over visuals. I obviously do that as well but if the sole commentary consists of smiling cat emojis, my cynical b!tch side can’t deal.

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                    • Well, you have only just started, so go on, let off the steam 😉
                      I am very glad you are enjoying the blog. It’s my happy place, and it makes me happy when it also provides a happy, safe place for others to spend time on with comments and reading etc.
                      As you know, I am on Twitter, too. I was rather reluctant to embrace it but eventually followed RA there (even though I had had a private Twitter profile since 2009). I had some great times on the platform, but recently a lot of my friends have become less active there. And a lot of the discussion on Twitter is just too “hoorah” for my taste. And anyway, I am far too wordy to really thrive on a platform that limits me to 280 characters a-piece, so blogging is really the optimum for me. No cat emojis, either.

                      Liked by 1 person

            • Oh, I vaguely remember Chicago Hope.
              LOL re. the high-pitched sound. Maybe it’s also your heart rate increasing and a certain sheen of sweat and a flush on your face. Excited breathlessness? Tell-tale signs of acute Armitagitis.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I must practice my poker face.

                Funny story about how bad I am at that: Mr. H. one day suggested The Hobbit for some Friday night viewing bc I hadn’t seen it & I’m married to a Tolkien nut.
                Mr. H.: “Doesn’t it have that guy you like?”
                Me (nonchalantly): “Yeah, he’s a dwarf, I think.”
                Mr. H. starts the movie while I get a drink from the kitchen to get my squee-face under control (TV = out of my sight line). The door to the Hobbit hole opens and the man speaks. Mr. H. does not recognize him with all the prosthetics and makeup. Hell, he didn’t recognize him in Captain America.
                I (not remotely nonchalantly upon hearing his voice) blurt out: “That’s him.”
                Mr. H.: “You recognize him by his voice???”
                Me (still in the kitchen): “Well, I recognized Martin Freeman as well.”
                A long silence…
                Mr. H.: “Honey, that was Elijah Wood.”
                /end scene

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                • ROFL – I love that story. And boy, can I relate to that. Over time I have learnt to keep it all under control a bit more – in order to keep the peace in the marital home. But yeah, that could’ve been me.

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                  • I’m glad you liked it. That can be my contribution to the fandom. I have nothing else to offer atm though I do have an idea for a creative venture re the next auction but since I have zero time rn and my follow-through record is horrible, I won’t blab about it until I know I can do it.

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        • Mark Harmon married Pam Dawber from Mork and Mindy. I was so surprised then. He had this air about him kinda aloof but cute and I was a teen back in the Flamingo Road days. Wasn’t he in Summer School with Kirstie Alley too?

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  7. Only my family and closest friends are aware of my fangirling. I had kept it to myself pretty much until I announced that I was traveling to London to see my favorite actor perform in The Crucible at the Old Vic. Richard who? Lol!!! No one had a clue who this British actor was and what would compel me to travel across an ocean to see him, but when they saw how much enjoyment it gave me, they really encouraged me to “keep doing what makes you happy”. I get a little teasing at times but all in good fun. In fact my family has even begun to “enable my addiction” by gifting me RA related DVDs, hobbit memorabilia, etc. at Christmas/birthdays. My daughter (who has become my official enabler) even went so far as to meet me in NYC so she could accompany me to see the LLL play. That was so wonderful because not only did we see him at the SD but we had a meet up with some lovely fans too. (So happy I had the chance to meet you that trip G)
    I still feel a little awkward when someone who doesn’t know about my “hobby” sees my memorabilia collection for the first time (especially if I have to explain who he is) but most people have been really positive about it and swear they don’t think I’m too weird. Well… maybe just a little….😆

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    • You have the best enabler in the world, Donna – it was such fun to meet both you *and* her in NYC.
      And yes, I occasionally feel a little awkward, too, about the corner in my study with all RA collection. Just the other day I had two visitors from Germany, and for some reason we happened to go into my study. There were huge big question marks in their eyes when they saw the big G-U-Y sign I was recently gifted, as well as the ‘Original Portable Shrine’ and a pencil drawing of Guy… *coughs* I didn’t offer any explanations, but I could see their minds ruminating *hahaha*.

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  8. It’s Nov. 21. Life is really getting in the way of my fantasy life as well as keeping . The short answer to #J is yes, my family and most of my friends know about my RA obsession although most don’t know how much of an obsession it is.

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