Behind the red curtain: Meeting Taylor Swift
Disclaimer: the following is an editorial or a letter about a chance encounter. It’s not a how-to guide, it’s not a gloating piece, it’s not even a chronicle. It’s me describing an instant with a person I was very lucky and grateful to meet.
There’s a line in “All Too Well” that reads: “so casually cruel in the name of being honest”.
I am going to take very good care of that line throughout this post. I know that no matter how careful I’m trying to be, your feelings might get hurt. People don’t like to hear about how someone else got to meet the Enchantress and not them. Decide now if you want to keep reading. I promise I’ll write this as carefully as possible.
My intention is to describe how it felt in way that it makes you feel like you were there. In other words, I’m trying to take you in with me.
I don’t like the word celebrity. It’s some sort of position of power or fame by which any personal interaction is some sort of privilege that you have won. The Sparkly Dressed is a busy artist, entertainer and business woman. She needs people to schedule events for her and she has more people wanting to meet her than her schedule allows.
It’s Saturday night after the final curtain for the RED Tour, September 21, 2013. Actually, it’s Sunday – it’s already past midnight. I’ve received instructions letting me know where and when to go right after the final Red Tour concert in Nashville, TN at the Bridgestone Arena ends. I’m not sure how I got here. I’ve been given instructions along with other fans on what is allowed and what is not. We’ve split into groups. I’m with a friend of mine.
Time is passing very slowly. There’s oxygen in the air, but it seems to be escaping very fast for you to breathe it. Your legs were hurting like hell a moment ago. You can’t feel them anymore. You don’t know what to do with your arms. Your brain is going through a hundred thoughts at the same time. You keep telling yourself all the things you should’ve prepared for this moment or forgetting all the ones that you did prepare.
I keep expecting someone to jump out to let me know that this is a prank. How could I get this chance to be here? It’s not really possible. Someone made a mistake. In a second, security will walk in and kick me out and someone will get fired because there was a typo and someone else was supposed to be here.
I can hear whispers around me and slowly, but steadily, I calm down. A tall woman with blonde hair walks in. I know her. I’ve seen her face a thousand times. She is, technically a complete stranger. Yet I know that face, that smile, that awkward grace.
Taylor Swift would seem tall to anybody, but has mastered the skill of meeting your eyes at your own level. She’s got an easy smile and happy eyes that only barely reveal a hint of exhaustion. She’s not phoning it in as she waves hello and welcomes everyone. She’s determined to live this moment to the fullest and has no rush whatsoever. She is happy to be here.
We’ve been given instructions not to make her speak, as her voice is fragile from the concert and from the cold. She still looks amazing. As she talks to the first group of people, you notice how she instantly melds with them. If it were not for the impeccable dress and makeup, you’d swear it was just a group of friends talking about how awesome the concert was. Taylor speaks a lot with her hands when she’s comfortable. She goes from a childlike expression to a very professional stance to a wicked smile whenever she hears an inside joke.
She’s reached us. My friend talks to her first, then it’s my turn.
“Hello, Sparkly Dressed…” I begin. Yeah, I know. It’s corny. But I’ve planned to say hello to her that way for years.
I talk her ear off. I tell her how much I love what she does, and the style and class that she does it with. I tell her about the blog, the time I’ve written it, and mention that I include The Agency a lot. She’s quick to point out that Caitlin is in the room and I should talk to her too (I did talk to her later). I also tell her about the nicknames… This is where I tell her every single nickname I’ve come up with so far.
She giggles at “the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar”. Then she goes “Oh my God” in the most adorable way possible.
Taylor is then thanking me – which doesn’t really make a lick of sense – for what I do. And she loves that I love to do it (in case you’ve never visited this site before, what I do is write). Let’s make this clear. International music artist Taylor Swift thanking me only makes sense in bizarro world. I make sure I thank her.
Then I get that one thing that stops the world moving. I had completely forgotten that was coming, I should have been prepared. I was not. It’s a Taylor Swift hug. She hugged me, just like that. I’m so glad I was done talking because if she had done that earlier I would have been done then and there.
We take a picture. I’m still in my Where’s Waldo disguise and not my usual suit and tie. Perhaps, it’s a bit of a sign. Sometimes we have to leave our comfort zone. That’s my friend @SteveDitch on the right. I think you can figure out who everyone else is
I had not brought anything for her to sign (yeah I was kicking myself about that), so I opted to use my concert ticket.
As she’s about to leave, I remind her that once I asked her a question on video, about a year ago. She remembers the event, although I don’t presume she remembers me. She’s polite, unhurried and careful as she wishes us both a good night and thanks us for being here. As she moves to the next group, I let out a sigh of relief that I had not realized that I was holding.
I think I could have been a little more conservative and not talk that much. I could’ve done better – but I also could’ve done far worse.
I am mighty grateful for the opportunity I was given. I can’t tell exactly what came about for me to end up in that short list. They do know about this blog and my crazy posts with ninjas and stuff. Even if they never read this, I want to thank everyone involved in organizing that last gathering of fans.
I was impossibly lucky to end up meeting the Blonde With The Sparkly Guitar. I know the word “deserve” gets thrown around a lot. We all deserve to meet Taylor. Nobody deserves it more or less than anybody else. It’s a question of luck and opportunity. It does involve effort. A lot of it. But even with all the sacrifice and dedication in the world, sometimes the odds are just not in your favor.
But sometimes, even just once, they are.