I had a very interesting conversation with my teenage son a few weeks ago. I don’t remember how it began – probably my walking into his room to nag him to work on his homework. We were going to go out for lunch (he’s in virtual school, so campus is always open) but he didn’t have any clean jeans to wear. This led his mother to ask guiltily, “Do you have any not too dirty jeans? I’ve been a little distracted with this new blog thing and have gotten behind on the laundry.” I jokingly suggested he start a support group for the “neglected” children of Richard Armitage fans. He replied, “Oh that? Someone already invited me to join that.”
Wait a minute….what? I pumped him for more information over pizza – he’s a teenager, and always hungry, so he talked. Evidently, one of his legion of Facebook friends is a second generation fan of Richard Armitage and has started a chat page on her personal Facebook account where the children of Armitage fans can join to lament about their mothers’ obsession. He hasn’t ever logged in he said. I had no idea such a page existed, but it seems perfectly logical that it does.
How many times have I complained that real life has gotten in the way of my Armitage habit? Plenty. I wondered what my new “hobby” looked like from the perspective of my kids. My seven (and a 1/2) year old daughter has already come over to the fold. This week I came home from a night class to find her fast asleep with my iPad open on her bed. She had fallen to sleep listening to Richard Armitage reading Flat Stanley on the Cbeebies Story Hour. Interested in his take on my fandom, I asked my son if he would write me his version of a guide to surviving life as the child of a Richard Armitage fan, so I could post it on my blog. He grudgingly agreed, only after I promised he would remain anonymous. That was about three weeks ago, he’s a bit of a procrastinator – I think he gets that from his mother!
I expected something that looked rather like this:
1. Learn to like Ramen noodles and EasyMac – if you wait, “just a minute” until your mother finishes that episode of Robin Hood, or chatting online, you might waste away to nothing.
2. Ditto for laundry unless you are styling yourself as the 21st century Lady Godiva
3. Answer her questions about how to arrange her Tumblr dashboard as simply as possible. Be prepared to repeat when she doesn’t get it the first time.
4. Take advantage of her distraction and allow your bedroom to become a comfortable hovel befitting any lazy teenager.
Here is what he emailed me today: (I only changed a couple of typos – the language and sentiment are all his)
On an average day, my son is a pretty easy going kid – so easy going, that he has to be prodded to get just about anything done. He falls behind on his school work, not because he is unable to complete it, but because he just can’t be bothered. I guess I just assumed that he was put out in some way by the increasing amount of time I spend on fangirling activities. Given his generally mellow attitude, I shouldn’t be surprised that not only is he not particularly bothered by the independence that he’s gained in lieu of my new hobby, it turns out that he may just be the only person of my close acquaintance who really gets it. Is it strange that my son and I have found new common ground in our respective fandom activities? Truthfully, it does feel a bit weird, but it is also amazing to realize how similarly we view things, how much common ground we have. Thanks Armitagemania for providing me an entre into better communication with my teenager!