A Letter of Apology to the Other Backstreet Boys
After attending the Backstreet Boys concert in Las Vegas, I realized that I owed a couple of them an apology. (I know the official term is "residency" but, for me, that evokes an image of the Boys confined to hotel beds, eating cold $18 room service fries and refreshing their Google searches of themselves; I can almost feel the scratchy sadness of the bed crumbs and I don't want that for them. OR it makes me think of my good girlfriend who is doing her medical residency at Colombia and, I'm sorry, but working around the clock, running on virtually no sleep, being on your feet all day, literally saving lives, especially maladies of the heart, that's not a level I can put her on.) So here it is, 14 years too late, but hear me out...
First, I want to defend myself. I was young, naive and blinded by blonde. Aging has felt a lot like transferring acknowledgment of blondeness to different life stages, starting with Barbie and Disney royalty, then moving to peroxide-madeover celebrities, then to Hillary Clinton. And just when you felt blonde was too frivolous, along came that woman in the Cellino & Barnes commercial and you just knew that blondes could be whimsical and personal injury attorneys! If Lou Perlman could have built the ideal fan out of legos, I was all of the yellow pieces.
For me, there was only ever Nick and Brian and a handful of stage props. My singular devotion shifted between them depending on how world-weary I was feeling on a given day. Brian had that angular jaw that I could easily draw with a ruler, which I appreciated, and he spoke openly about his medical condition - so mature and brave. Nick wore the same round face mask worn by Devon Sawa and Erik von Detten, engineered in a lab to make little girls foam at the braces using some width-of-cheek-to-bowl-cut algorithm. Also easy to draw by tracing the bottom of a cup.
I wasted some of my horniest years on Brian and Nick and I'll never get those back. It hurts to know that the whole time, Kevin, the dark knight, had been smoldering silently in the wings. (I don't think his microphone was ever turned on so he really was silent.) His cheek bones and thick eyebrows made him serious and unrelatable, a Roman bust I'd knock over while running to the Andy Warhol Cats Exhibit. Kevin must have had the temperament of a mall-Santa to look like that and still take his place at the back of the five person pyramid for the folding chair dance. Meanwhile, he should have been in Cool Water ads, all blue eyes and wringing out his pony-tail, flipping all of us off.
AJ, you too came too early: I only started glamorizing substance abuse in my mid-twenties like a proper entitled twat, your tattoos made you seem aggressive up until I got three of my own, and I didn't know how to apply eyeliner yet. I couldn't draw your face shape! I'm still not sure what it is. I was too distracted to see that you were the only one who could really sing and dance, the only one who can still sing and dance. Your voice deserved more than just boy-band-rap interludes; it deserved the lead. Or was it always the lead voice and I just attributed all of your talent to the blonde heads? I'm sorry for that.
I thought there was a fifth Backstreet Boy, but no one else comes to mind...