5 Reasons It’s Awkward to be a 25-Year-Old Barry Manilow Fan

In her previous post, Lindsay bemoaned the discomfort of loving something you are too old to enjoy proudly and publicly. By any legitimate measure, my contemporaries are indeed too old to be as excited as they are about the release of Twilight: Breaking Dawn. It is worth noting, however, that as of early 2010 we are no longer too old for Taylor Lautner (or, as I prefer, “he of the ice-cube-tray-abs.” PURR.)

Even if I can’t find much to enjoy about Twilight beyond its hunky teen star, I can definitely relate to Lindsay’s troubles. My problem, though, isn’t that I am too old for something. 25 isn’t that old, right? I don’t yet wear Velcro sandals with socks, and have never embarrassed a family member by writing encouraging clichés on their Facebook walls. No, my problem is that I am entirely too young to have an iPod chock-full of Barry Manilow’s adult contemporary love ballads.

It isn’t like I intentionally sought out decades-old soft rock. No, it just sort of happened. First, “Mandy” featured on the soundtrack of Can’t Hardly Wait, 1999’s only excusable teen flick. Then I found myself inadvertently emotionally affected by “Even Now” on the radio at a moment of peculiar vulnerability. Finally, Napster allowed me to download B. Man.’s myriad of now-forgotten-but-once-popularly-lampooned hits without fear of being spotted by popular kids while clutching his CD at Sam Goody.

Still, my feelings about my status as a Fanilow are conflicted. This is a musical artist who was ruthlessly mocked when his songs were new. He was considered unhip by dudes wearing platforms. He is nearly two full decades older than my parents. He has twice collaborated with Bette Midler. His latest album is categorized under “easy listening.” I AM TOO YOUNG FOR THIS SHIT.

Although it is difficult to narrow the reasons that it is awkward to be a 25-year-old Barry Manilow fan down to merely five, I have done so below.

1. Barry played a concert at the Warner Theatre in DC in September, but I knew that I don’t have a single friend old enough to consider joining me. I briefly considered going alone, but I may have been too conspicuous as the only member of the audience unable to recount where I was when Kennedy was shot. It is also telling that a source quoted in the Post raved about the concert, saying that she “had waited 35 years for this.”
2. Putting a Manilow hit or two on an iTunes playlist is the most reliable method I have found to compel people to lie about knowing me.
3. I am physically unable to move slowly enough to move with the beat of Barry Manilow’s romantic ballads. Humans evolved from apes at a rate that is faster than some of his tempos.
4. Performing a karaoke version of “Copacabana” is all fun and games until you realize that Manilow scheduled naptime in the middle of song in the form of a 54-measure interlude before the last verse and chorus. Naturally, this is enough time for you to sober up before the song ends, leading to the inconvenient realization that you are singing a Barry Manilow song in public, to strangers. Without a mask. Using your real name.
5. DC has a population density that precludes the existence of a hypothetical private location where one might be able to safely listen to Barry Manilow while also being assured that no one else could possibly know about it.

I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. Forgive me, generation.

– A searching-for-a-more-acceptable-emotive-crooner Natalie

About Natalie Shure

literature, life and latte lady

2 Responses to “5 Reasons It’s Awkward to be a 25-Year-Old Barry Manilow Fan”

  1. Try being a Heterosexual Male Manilow fan lol None of my friends will go to Manilow’s shows with me either but you know what? it’s such a fantastic experience that I go alone. it’s not really a concert..it’s more of a show and worth every penny.don’t let your friends dictate what you love.

  2. I started listening to Barry when I was 8 years, in 1975. Now, at age 45, I am still considered one of his “younger” fans.
    High school was quite an adventure as a Manilow fan… but I decided early on that I wasn’t going to let anyone dictate what I would or would nor like simply because it didn’t measure up on “cool scale”.
    Nearly 37 years later, I still love Barry’s music. The funny thing is, quite a few of the people who gave me the worst time over my Barry fandom are now fans themselves. “Resistance is futile”! LOL

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