Boyband Vs. BoyLAND: Why Your Teenage Dream Might Mean More Than It Seems…

Many of you have asked me over the past year, “What is your affiliation with New Kids on the Block? Why do you tweet and write about them so much?” And the short answer to that is: I have no affiliation. Well, other than the fact that I have adored them for more than 20 years, I’ve interviewed Jordan for my column (which was one of the best interviews of my career, by the way), and I was fortunate enough to receive a smooch from Donnie when the NKOTB reunion tour stopped in Nashville a few years back (see my column “A Girl Never Forgets Her First Love: Parts 1, 2, and 3” for more. Trust me…it’s worth the read.)  To sum it up – I am a HUGE fan who loves supporting my “first loves” whenever I can. However, as a 33-year-old single woman, lately I have started to wonder what my BoyBAND tendencies say about my BoyLAND tendencies. For example, if the behavior of animals can predict the weather and our astrological signs can predict our personality traits…what does our proclivity for a particular boyband “stereotype” say about our romantic destiny? Since the year 2012 has been the year of “Boybands, Revisited,” and MTV is adding fuel to the fire with its “Battle of the Boybands,” to identify the most popular boyband of all time, I thought there was no time like the present to rattle the chains of our Boyband Crushes Past and see what they have to tell us about our romantic futures.

To examine this question, first we have to break down the stereotypes. In my case, I’m analyzing NKOTB – but you can insert N’Sync, New Edition, One Direction, Backstreet Boys, or any other boyband here because everyone knows that the formula for a successful all-male singing group is as predictable as their likelihood to wear matching outfits at some point in their career. Each one with their own distinct looks, distinct personalities, distinct attitudes – in other words, it’s like Life Savers – a flavor for every taste!

So which BPT (Boyband Personality Type) are you? And remember, depending on which generation you’re from, you can insert Michael, Tito, Ronnie, Ricky, Bobby, Mike, Justin, JT, Nick, AJ, Liam, Harry, etc. in the appropriate places.

Jonathan – the “Big Brother” of the group; also known as the quiet, mature one. If you fancy Jon, you’re likely to be the oldest sibling in your family…you’re probably in a settled, reliable career…and when it comes to love, you are as steady as it gets. Dependable, reliable, faithful…and ready for a commitment. (You might also have a penchant for Home Depot.)

Danny – the focused “Jock.” If Danny melts your heart, you probably never back down from a challenge…you thrive in the face of adversity…and you love a man who steps up to the plate and takes charge. You might also have a love of the gym and beautiful sunsets…and you never met an empanada you didn’t like.

Donnie – the “Bad Boy,” or the Rebel WITH a Cause. This one almost needs no explanation. If you’re a Donnie girl, you (like me) love the challenge of a Guy with an Edge. You have a spontaneous and playful nature and you’re not scared to take the occasional walk on the wild side. While your heart longs to believe in #LoveEternal, you can’t quite tame your inner bad girl long enough to settle down with a good man. You also realize that much like a Tootsie Roll Pop, the heart of a Bad Boy is as sweet as it gets.

Jordan – the “Heartthrob,” also known as “The Leading Man.” If Jordan is your Boybander of choice, chances are you’re the Prom Queen just searching for her King. As American as apple pie, but with a slight air of mystery about you, you love the smooth stylings and quiet confidence of the Leading Man and you never sparkle more than when in the glow of the spotlight. On the football field of life, you’re the Head Cheerleader…and only the Captain of the football team will do for you. 

Joe – the “Kid Brother,” aka the “Young, Cute One.” If Joey Joe makes your heart skip a beat…you are likely to be the baby of the family with a footloose and fancy-free attitude. With a love of fun, an air of innocence, and a dash of naivety, you know how to hold people in the palm of your hand with a simple smile. You love attention and you’re not afraid to steal the spotlight, but you do it in such a way that it makes people fall in love with you rather than get upset with you. You love a guy with youthful optimism that matches yours…and a glint of mischievousness in his eye doesn’t hurt, either.

So now that we know your TYPE, what are your TENDENCIES? Have you been loyal, tried and true to one prototype? My girl Deb (aka @KateWhinesAlot, aka “resident NKOTB expert”) falls into this category and has a bit of insight to offer on the matter…

DEB SAYS: I can actually remember the first time I ever saw NKOTB on TV. I was nine and was sitting with my chubby little legs crossed in front of the TV when all of a sudden “The Right Stuff” came on and I was mesmerized! Particularly by the clean cut, all American lead singer, Jordan Knight. Now nine is a little young to have a ‘crush.’  I don’t think I really even knew what that meant back then.  I think my fantasies didn’t extend much beyond, “I bet he has a really cool car.” We could go to the mall and drink shakes and play Pac Man. Oh, the innocence of youth.  Never mind that Jordan at that time was 18 and I was only 10. Why would a cute 18-year-old boy want to hang out at the mall with a 10-year-old girl? Somehow, logic didn’t really come in to it.

Fast forward 20 years and I am still crushing on Mr. Jordan Knight.  I’m not saying that Jordan was my one and only for the last 20 years. I mean, there were many that came after him; Jon Bon Jovi, Anthony Kiedis, Justin Timberlake, Peter Andre, Russell Brand, but they were fleeting! Like a fashion trend, they were hot for a while but then old news to me. Jordan however, is like your favorite pair of jeans that you always go back to. It seems that I never moved on from my first love.  I find it somewhat comforting to know that a decision I made at 9-years-old still holds true now.

Now has my boy band crush influenced my past boyfriend choices? I would have to say yes. I’ve always gone for quiet but confident guys. I don’t like ‘showy’ people that are loud and insist on being the center of attention. I also don’t go for bad boys. I don’t invest in a relationship often but when I do, I like to know the investment will be worthwhile. Bad boys are too unpredictable for my nature so that leaves Donnie out. I’ve never been attracted to younger, blonde guys so it’s goodbye, Joey. I always go for a tall guy and I’m not a huge fan of enormous muscles so Danny types are not my cup of tea. Jon is, well, gay…’nuff said…so that leaves Jordan. Who embodies everything I like in a guy, physically and mentally.

This is the beauty of the boy band. There is a flavor for everyone. What I look for in a man is totally different to the next person. We all gravitate toward the personality and looks that are most appealing to us. Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.

MANDY SAYS: Perhaps you’re like Deb and your heart has never strayed very far from your first boyband crush. OR…like me, have you been an equal opportunity fangirl…viewing your boyband of choice as a buffet that needs to be sampled? If your #1 guy has been your #1 guy since Day One, chances are, you tend to lean more toward monogamous, committed relationships (as Deb mentioned above.) When you commit…that’s it. You’re not afraid to settle down and your feet have never had a cold day…so much so that you sing “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” to the top of your lungs while dancing cheek to cheek with your beloved in the living room of your lovely two-story home with detached garage. Good for you! I, on the other hand, sing “I’ll Be Loving You (for At Least a Little While)” while getting weird looks from my cat as I dance naked around my studio apartment. As much as I hate to admit it, I have an intense fear of commitment, never more glaringly on display than by my haphazard pattern of NKOTB crushes.

When I first became a New Kids fan at age 10, naturally, I was a Joe girl. I’m the baby of the family, and I had never seen a sight as sweet as Joey McIntyre’s cherubic face, big blue eyes, and mop of blond curls. This mad crush lasted for exactly 20 years, until “A.D” (“After Donnie”), when Donnie Wahlberg came out into the crowd and kissed me during the “Full Service” tour in ’09. I was deeply into my “Bad Boy” phase at that point in my life, just out of a relationship with a long-haired, ripped-jeaned chain smoker and on the cusp of a relationship with a lady-juggling, commitment-shy player. Naturally, one kiss from THE quintessential Bad Boy himself, Mr. Wahlberg, and sweet, innocent Joey Joe was a distant memory (I’m a brunette, anyway…so it would’ve never worked between me and Joe). My infatuation with Donnie took me right up until about three months ago, when I interviewed Jordan Knight for my column…and having never classified myself a “Jordan Girl,” I was surprised to find that JK’s easygoing nature, humility, and spot-on words of wisdom for single women kinda stole my heart a little bit. If I HAD to choose between him and Donnie at this point…I’d say I’m about 60-40, in favor of Jordan. And while I like to think my transition from the Bad Boy to the Leading Man is a sign of maturity on my part, who am I kidding? At this point I’m probably one whiff of a home-cooked empanada or glimpse of a remodeled bathroom away from defecting to Team Danny or Team Jon. (If you’re not a New Kids fan, you might not get those references. Sorry. Carry on.)

*One very serious footnote: If you are a BSC: Level 5 when it comes to boybands (and if you don’t know what “BSC” stands for, Google it. It’s an important acronym every girl needs to know), chances are you’re a bit of a bunny boiler when it comes to relationships, so you might want to chill out a bit. Allow me to decode: If you’re showing up at every boyband event on every continent, could build a small mansion from your VIP event lanyards, have named multiple children after members of your favorite boyband, and are on the cusp of bankruptcy and/or living in a van down by the river because of the thousands of dollars you’ve tossed down the throat of the hungry boyband lion, the OCD traits probably carry over into your real-life relationships. Meaning unless you wanna wake up one day to find yourself hovering over the stove, stirring up bunny stew a la Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction,” you might want to curb your stalker-like habits. (Just a friendly word of advice.) 

So here, my friends, is the moral of the story: Even if our childhood boyband crushes SEEM like mindless fluff…there really IS something to be said for Hangin’ Tough. Knowing that whichever boyband stereotype you happen to fall into…or whether you hop from guy to guy or pledge to love only one for all time…you can see a little spark of yourself in every one. A little spark of your childhood in every one. A little bit of magic in the innocence of a first crush. And maybe, just maybe, that was the plan behind the “boyband formula” all along: to give every girl…no matter her personality or race or hair color or weight or habits or quirks or popularity level or status…someone to relate to.

p.s. On second thought, I can’t be TOO much of a commitment-phobe. After all, I’ve been “committed” to NKOTB for nearly 25 years now! It’s my longest relationship. LOL! J

p.p.s. Vote for my boys in MTV’s “Battle of the Boybands” below…




One Response to “ Boyband Vs. BoyLAND: Why Your Teenage Dream Might Mean More Than It Seems… ”

  1. September 28, 2014

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Something wonderful is on the horizon
Turn Toward the Sun CoverLife doesn’t always look the way we want it to look. In Mandy’s upcoming book, Turn Toward the Sun: Releasing What If and Embracing What Is, you’ll find encouragement to live in the moment, sit with your experiences, and trust God with the unknown.
Preorder from Baker Book House for 40% off and free shipping!*
*US shipping only