On today’s topic, I would appreciate it if some SG fans could weigh in who have been “around the block” and seen more artists than I. Because of the nature of the topic, I’m going to lay out my thoughts on it as broadly as possible without naming specific names.
It seems to me that there are three rough “types” of personalities that an SG fan can observe in personal interactions with artists. First, there are the artists who are just so spontaneously warm and attentive to every single doggone person that it makes you feel downright embarrassed that you’re not just like they are. “How do they DO that?” you wonder. “How do they make every fan feel like they’re it?” Generally, this personality tends to go along with a thick southern drawl and a generally southern personality. “Come here and give me sugar, hon.”
Second, there are the artists who aren’t quite so effusive but seem infinitely relaxed and comfortable in their own skin. They’ll chat easily with you, so easily you feel like you’re having a conversation with your next-door neighbor. They are who they are—down-to-earth and instantly likable.
But the third type is the type who simultaneously inspires my sympathy and my secret relief. On the stage, with their peers, they’re in their natural element and they come alive. Mingling with the fans, they seem to be not quite “there.” They smile, sign, pose, say “Thank you” and “God bless,” but you can just sense that they’re not really comfortable. They may be sweet, kind people, but they’re not “people people.” They don’t have that wonderful and unsettling ability to pour themselves into each and every fan. When they’re bone tired, it shows, not in the form of un-graciousness, but more subtly, in a forced smile for the camera, in a weary 200th “Thank you so much.”
They inspire sympathy, because you know what a heavy burden they’re carrying and wish it was less draining for them. But they make me relieved, because they’re just like me. Be honest now: If you had a thousand fans, could you successfully make each individual one feel like he was the only one in the world? Me neither.
God has given some people that gift, but he sure didn’t give it to me. And I think there’s a sense in which it’s nice to know that you’re not alone. Those people who seem super-human in their ability to do that… you absolutely love them, but at the same time you feel abashed, and maybe a touch jealous. But you feel something else for the shy, uncomfortable ones: You identify with them.
Does anyone else feel that way?