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(or "They sing, they dance, they fuck like minks")
I have a confession to make. There was a time, not so long ago, that I thought all RPS (real people slash, using the actual celebrities, not characters) was stupid. I'd read a couple of really bad Mary Sue fics involving some actors who unwittingly made it into the author's fantasies, and the stories were thinly disguised maturbation material. It was like reading someone's wet dream. A couple didn't even bother to disguise their Mary Sue-ness, the author using his (or her) name outright in the story where he gets it on with a popular actor. Most of them were poorly written, perhaps because authors assume right off the bat that any RPS is going to be campy anyway and there's no real point in making it believable or grammatically correct.
Another problem I had with it was that the celebrities in question were almost always molded into perfect people. They were beautiful, rich, smart and, most importantly, down to earth. What makes RPS so interesting, to me, is writing an erotic story about someone who is Hollywood, taking into account the personality flaws that come with celebrity and still making them interesting character studies.
Then I got turned on to boy band slash, from here on in known as BBS. And I like it. So shoot me.
My change of heart came when I started reading it. I thought fan fiction for, say, 'N Sync was all written by 13-year-old girls who liked to fantasize about 'N Sync being their boyfriends. I've read those stories, and they're pretty much the bottom of the fan fiction barrel, without exception. (Any story featuring the author is questionable to begin with, but add to it immaturity and "U" instead of "you" and I'd rather eat glass.) But the BBS crowd changed my mind.
Firstly, even though they know every detail about 'N Sync's lives - and let's face it, us fandom people are nuts about memorization and detail anyway; just ask any Buffy writer who can recite all the episodes - 'N Sync's BBS community seem to get it. They're more mature than the 'N Sync-as-my-boyfriend crowd anyway, because they don't giggle at the thought of two guys together. They seem to get the celebrity aspect of the band, and even the narcissistic elements. They know they're just a pop group. They know they never have a chance of meeting them. They just like the idea of the hot guys in the band getting it on, and I have a healthy respect for that. Not all 'N Sync fans are 13, you know.
I also feel there is a very real difference between standard RPS that pairs up, say, David Duchovny and Nick Lea, and BBS. Celebrities are often turned into fictional characters of their own. They become glossy images with very little depth outside of the influence of the characters they portray. Boy bands, however, are a whole new ball of wax. They are that element times 100. They are essentially media tarts, people with no real depth to us because we will only ever be able to see what their marketing people want us to see. They evolve into fictional characters of their own. The media influence and the hype turn them into something no ordinary human being could possibly live up to, and they are assigned roles and stereotypes designed to be a quick way for the audience to relate to them. Think of the Spice Girls (sorry to take you there) and how they were all given a stereotype - Sporty Spice, Posh Spice, etc. Their marketing machine knew that in the face of intense media exposure, pop stars become as fictional as Kirk and Spock, reduced to glossy, watered-down and less-detailed versions of their actual personalities so that their media images eventually, to the general public, become their personalities. BBS, in some ways, allows more latitude for fiction. You are given the basic outline of a personality and can use your imagination to fill in the blanks, provided you follow the template. You can write just about anything about Sporty Spice, for example, as long as you make her sporty. It is for this reason that I feel BBS is not only different from garden variety RPS, but it is almost the ultimate slash experience. This also explains the huge draw toward wrestling slash. It's the same deal - stereotypical characters fleshed out into real people by authors doing what they're supposed to be doing - using them to fuel the imagination.
I know, I know. How would I feel if someone slashed me? Justin Timberlake and friends are never going to read 'N Sync slash. Even if their legal eagles do, the odds of them trying to shut down every single site out there with 'N Sync slash are slim. But I propose that BBS is the core of the very purpose of a boy band. It is instrumental to what makes boy bands what they are - speculation, fantasy and fiction. The only problem I have with the fandom is that most stories are in at least 10 parts.
So I'm coming out. I, Jane, enjoy BBS. And some of it is really, really well done. If you're interested in BBS, I suggest starting with Smoke and Mirrors, a pretty 'NSync slash site done by a girl named Em Lewis. If you've ever had a problem with BBS, I highly suggest you read some of the stories there to get your head twisted on the right way. If you want to start with something short, just to get into it, start with Routine (Justin/Lance), Going Clubbin' (Joey/Lance, known in the 'N Sync slash world as "Jola") and Get Away (Joey/Lance).
When you're done there, run over to Underneath the Smoke and read "The Darkest Rose," a trippy and deep story about Lance, Joey and missing each other like crazy. My favorite line, from when they first see each other again: "Fuck. It had been so long. Fuck. His heart hurt, broke, and rebuilt itself in 7 seconds." Maybe I'm getting soft in my old age, but this story hit me like a Mac truck.
Then check out a list of BBS sites here.
What I don't get, however, is the surge of Metallica RPS. Have you guys seen that band?
- bitch to Jane