This is Sam. Sam, meet the readers of Fantastic Fangirls. Readers, meet the person responsible for every huge freak out I will ever have in reaction to fiction. Of which there are and will continue to be many incidents.
Okay, story time! I was a young lass of nine years when my twin sister (also a young lass of nine years, hence the twin thing), and I went to hang out with my dad and his friend at his friend’s pharmacy. I know, I know. What the heck are two nine year old girls doing hanging out in a pharmacy? To which I offer the following answer: Arabs. We’re Arabs and that is how Arabs spend their Saturday mornings. I digress.
Yara and I were doing our own thing (read: we were stocking shelves because we like doing menial labor and had not yet grasped the understanding of child labor laws) when one of the new pharmacy techs approached us. He was a young lad of nineteen and his name was Sam. Still is, actually. He’s actually the Sam I mentioned above. See, connections! I digress.
Anyway, it was actually not as creepy as a 19-year old guy approaching two 9-year old girls usually was. Sam was entertaining us and we, being the precocious children we were, graciously allowed him to do so. Then, the moment of truth finally arrived.
“Hey, so do you girls watch Batman or Superman?”
Done and done. Because we were going to be visiting the pharmacy every Saturday for the foreseeable future, Yara and I thought it would only be beneficial if we did our research and had enough things to talk about with the second youngest being in that pharmacy. Sam supplemented our education with VHSes of Batman: The Animated Series and every animated Batman movie made by that time.
It was awesome. Yara and I were always fangirls, you see. At that age, we had been fans of Harry Potter for a year and fans of Nancy Drew/the Hardy boys for at least four. But, for the first time, we saw an older person loving something that wasn’t work or school or real world stuff so much that he devoted time, energy, and quite a bit of money on it. Whenever we had time and permission, Yara and I would go over to Sam’s parents’ house, which housed Sam’s altar to DC Comics—aka, his Batcave.
Action figures in glass cases lined the walls. It was incredible and a tribute to how far people will go to satisfy their obsessions. Some people might have found it pathetic or sad, but let’s be real here. It was awesome and anyone reading this site would have the same feeling I did: envy. Stacks of comic books littered the floors and the DVD shelves were filled with every sci-fi, fantasy, animated film that came out after 1980. It was dedication and it was beautiful.
Why did I spend all that time talking (er, typing) about Sam and his parents’ basement? Like I said, Yara and I were no strangers to fangirling. However, it wasn’t until we met Sam did we understand fandom and what it meant to be a part of a collective. Groups of people who loved the same thing enough to talk about it, write about it, even reinvent it! After Sam, Yara and I stepped up our fangirling and found other kids that loved Harry Potter and Batman. Yes, they were mostly boys, but the girls? They were the fans that were more likely to talk animatedly about fandom and more likely to work towards being more like their favorite fictional characters.
Fandom and fangirling has been such a large part of my life, I honestly can’t remember the time before I had obsessions. Fandom brought me some of my best friends. There was a point in my high school life—four months of my junior year—during which I felt sort of ashamed by my complete and utter nerdom. But then I realized that people who did not have obsessions like me were really boring and had too much time on their hands.
Being a fangirl or a nerd means that you’re not afraid to love things. That’s what it really gets down to: a conscious decision to not let societal stigma tell you how appropriate your feelings are or are not. I put my whole heart into watching how Batman figured out who Hush was and how Harry finally defeated Voldemort and I’m going to continue doing so by watching how Cap is going to navigate the 21st Century and how Robert Downey Junior is going to make the final leap and actually become Tony Stark.
I am a fangirl and I am proud.