Hint: It ain’t all lightsticks and hair dye.
Yes, yes, I know. It’s been a while. Months, in fact. That’s what happens sometimes – you start something, so motivated, thinking it’s gonna be the best thing you’ve done. Then reality hits and you realize you’re discouraged, unmotivated, and truly questioning your life choices. When you do go back, for one split second, you remind yourself this is why you started in the first place…and then, ten seconds later, you’re like NOPE.
Congratulations. You are most definitely, certifiably a K-pop fan. (Or a Liberal Arts major. Whichever one came to mind first).
Now I’m not gonna sit here and claim to know everything about every fandom. That really won’t do considering I’ve only ever liked one (okay, technically two) group ever. EH. VER! You wanna know what it’s like to be a multi-popper? You’re gonna have to ask my friend, Ren.
The reason for this post is simple – I have a lot to say. It’s not gonna be a rant so don’t worry. I’m not depressed or going through a hard time. It’s just there are things I’ve noticed and would like to talk about and invite people to share their opinions. And, while I love Twitter, it’s character limit has its drawbacks.
What is it like to be so deep into a group?
Now most blogs tell you about what it’s like to be a K-pop fan in general. Because who only likes one group? There are so many beautiful people to choose from, so many songs to like, so many derp moments that make you scream “OHMYGOD MY BAAAE!” How is it possible to be a single fan?
It’s not. It’s hard. And in a way, sort of impossible.
I’ve been a fan of one group since 2004. I was born in 1994. I was merely ten years old when I got in (hipster moment: I was into K-pop before it was K-pop) and now I’ve been stuck for more than half my life. At this point, there is no going back. And the first thing I will tell you is: it is expensive.
See the people laughing as they read this? It’s cuz they know.
If you’re gonna be into it, be aware. It gets pricey. You think a couple of albums will do but once you buy that first box set with photocards that come in three different versions, you’re done. The moment you hit that ‘Enter’ button on YesAsia, there is no going back. Even as a Korean fan, it’s difficult. Cheap delivery fees only save you so much. You have more albums. You have singles. You have concerts. You have to stream. You have to buy this and do that and no, honey, I’m not just talking about money.
It also takes time.
Watching a couple of YouTube videos don’t cut it. Even if it’s just one group (okay, two!) – you have music videos, variety shows, (if you’re a new fan) old shows, news reports. You think concerts are the only thing you’ll be going to? There are pre-recordings. Award shows. Busking events. Even getting the fangoods can mean getting up to catch the first subway. You thought you would just show up and see them? LOL. NOPE! I can tell you from personal experience – some people show up days ahead for free events (Gangnam Kpop Festival 2014, anyone? Anyone? Hmmmm?)
And then there’s the drama. Soooooo much drama. I can tell you this right now – you pay the price for knowing so much about what goes on in your idols’ lives. Because that means you spend that much time on SNS and see every Tori, Danielle, and Haneul that like to post and express their views on Twitter (kinda like I’m doing. Heh). And you can’t just ignore it. You can’t just scroll past. Cuz we are human. We are curious. We must know. So we read. And we fight. And we argue. And we fight even more.
All. The. Time.
I have my fair share of drama with just one (okay! two!) group! Can’t even imagine what it’s like when you like a lot of them. Even more interesting when two of those groups happen to be rivals (yup. Y’all know who you are. And I salute you.)
And you know what the best part is? Some of that drama isn’t even from just other fans. It’s from family. And colleagues. And other friends. Who don’t understand why you spend so much reading up about pretty Asians who have no idea you exist, and judge you for it. Judge you hard core. It’s okay to be a die-hard fan of Michael Jackson or John Mayer or Hyde. But you like a K-pop group? Oh no. You’re just a sucker who has no life, no ambitions, and will waste away and regret your life choices when you’re sitting in your parents basement at 40.
Yeah. Someone actually said that to me once.
But it’s okay. Because you make friends and meet people who truly get you. You’ll find people who understand and won’t judge you because you guys like the same idols and that’s all that matters…
Ha! Wrong! With a CAPS LOCK W!
It’s not just about who you like, either. How much do you like them? Do you stream their songs? Do you buy all their albums? Which photocards do you have? Which concerts have you gone to? What’s your Twitter ID? How come you do this but not that? Well, why do you follow her on Twitter when she’s this stan? But why don’t you do this? Why didn’t you see that?
Sigh. Yeah…I’d like to say I remember when it was easier but, honestly, it never was.
When you read about becoming a K-pop fan online, you read about the Different Stages of Becoming a Fan, the How You Know You’re a K-pop Fan, the K-pop Terminology, the How to Get Your Friend Into Becoming a K-pop Fan By Stealing Their Soul and Mindwashing Them with Constant Replays and-
…Yeah, okay. It didn’t say that.
But my point is – it’s hard. It’s really difficult. I started this post with the intention of talking about being a fan of one (I’M SAYING ONE!) group, but in all honesty, it makes no difference. Whether you like one group, two groups, five groups, or ten (yes, I know those people, too), you’re in for a looooong ride of turmoil. There’s drama and tears and eye aches from too much LED and you know the worst part?
You can’t get yourself to give it up. Not a single second of it.
And I haven’t even gotten into the part for when your group is popular in a whole different country than Korea.
But…that’s for another time…