Not Fringe, Just Famous

I’m not a big rocker and I don’t fawn over stars - I look for a table where I can sip wine at a rock concert and I almost literally tripped over Bernie Mac before I recognized him on South Beach - but it occurred to me last weekend that in order to be recognized as a rock-and-roll celebrity these days, you have to look like someone who just escaped from somewhere. 

My husband and I joined the beautiful people in New York last weekend and then went to a Rolling Stones concert in New Jersey where we joined the weird and curious combo of British Invasion geeks and famous people with bad hair and ill-fitting clothes.

In fact, that’s how we determined who was Somebody and who was Nobody. The Nobodies were dressed in jeans and Stones t-shirts, shoes that fit them (give or take a negligible half-size), and appropriate accessories. As soon as we saw someone with a choppy haircut or a get-up that screamed LOOK AT ME! Look at ME! NOW! we knew we were looking at Somebody.

The people in line with us before the doors opened were definitely Nobodies. For one thing, they were waiting in line with us (duh). But also, they kept talking loudly about all the concerts they had been to. And they were dressed like everyone I’ve seen Christmas shopping in the past month.

But then we got in and found our seats and were delighted to find that they were aisle seats just up from the VIP section. 

“Who is that?” my husband asked when down the aisle slowly strolled a guy in a bright red three-piece suit and a cowboy hat that was shockingly bright white. I’m gonna call it winter white. It may have been backlit in some way.

“I don’t know,” I said, peering at him and his entourage, looking for clues. “Maybe Randy Quaid.”

“Hey, Randy!” my husband said. No one turned around. Not even the people who were named Randy. It’s not cool to respond to “Hey” at a Stones concert.

Our aisle was the only path from the VIP section to the bar and the bathroom, so we saw a steady stream of potentially famous people. Couldn’t recognize a one of them, but we knew they were famous by their overconfident use of hair gel and inappropriate misuse of fabric.

“He’s definitely Somebody,” I told my husband, nodding to a guy in a black suit steering a blonde to their seats. Under the suit he wore a sparkly vest. On the sleeve of the suit was a rhinestone cupcake (or crown, but I’m pretty sure it was a cupcake). His hair was an orangeish Ronald McDonald rim-do that was screaming for some conditioner. 

“Why would he let his hair get so dry?” I mused. I mean, honestly, it was sticking up all over.

“How else would anyone know he’s famous?” my husband said. True. You can sport all the sparkly cupcakes you want, but if your hair is normal, you may as well be a guy from the suburbs at Sears.

We saw a woman wearing a leopard-print bathrobe, a guy wearing a gray, ratty, Mr. Rogers cardigan four sizes too small, and a tiny little man whose hair had been cut with a paring knife. We saw lots of layers, ironic jewelry, and age-inappropriate headgear. A surprising number of them looked a lot like Iggy Pop.

“We are pathetic,” I said to my husband. I was having an excellent hair day, despite a major Bangs Crisis the day before. I had carefully chosen my outfit - my pair of jeans that fit the best, a black lace top and black boots - and had previously felt pretty well put together.

“Speak for yourself,” he said, taking off his V-neck sweater.

I told him he’d have to rip his pants, re-button his shirt so it was off by one, and stick his head under the Dyson dryer in the bathroom before he’d really fit in with the famous.

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