Yay! I'm home from the greatest day of my life and I can't even begin to tell this story. [livejournal.com profile] chelsea_doll and I had a great...no, the greatest time! I have been crying off and on ever since I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Ted Allen from Queer Eye for the first/second time. I'm not going to go into heavy detail, because it was so personal and life-changing that I just can't even say it...

First, some history. I have actually said that being gay is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I hate that I felt that way, but I did. I felt so shameful. When I first saw Queer Eye, that didn't necessarily change. Not completely, anyway. I still felt awkward, but I was so much more comfortable with the thought of coming out. Because of the show, I did come out...and it has been so wonderful. I've only had one bad reaction to it, thank God. But even after that, I felt a little odd about the whole thing. I never felt comfortable as a gay person because I don't look like any of the lesbians I see on TV, in movies, in magazines. I'm not a stereotype, and I started wishing that I could be. Then, Ted did The John McMullen Show. He was talking about stereotypically gay music and how it is so not his thing. He was saying that it really bothers him in general sometimes that all of Carson's references are so overwhelmingly GAY. Something about that interview and some other interviews he has done really spoke to me. It made me feel that I can be who I am and be gay and there is nothing shameful about that. I don't have to pressure myself to fit some kind of pre-existing design.

When I found out about Ted coming to California, it became important to me to find a way to tell him that. I made him a mix CD, in the spirit of our shared music geekery. It seemed fitting, since it was his connection to music that connected me to his message. On the inside, I wrote a short note that I won't post here, but it is the equivolent of that last paragraph. I was worried I wouldn't be able to say it in person, and I wasn't able to say it...so great thing I wrote the note.

If I had time, I'd upload them, but I don't. If anyone wants a particular song off of this CD I entitled "Ted Allen's Dance Fever" - which he seemed to appreciate - I'll upload it.

1 - A Minor Incident by Badly Drawn Boy
2 - Coin Operated Boy by The Dresden Dolls
3 - Oh Comely by Neutral Milk Hotel
4 - David by Nellie McKay
5 - Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh by Bright Eyes
6 - Over and Over Again (Lost and Found) by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
7 - All Is Full Of Love by Death Cab For Cutie
8 - Waltz No. 2 (XO) by Elliott Smith
9 - Know Your Onion! by The Shins
10 - Dinner Party by World Without Sundays
11 - The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism by The New Pornographers
12 - More Adventurous by Rilo Kiley
13 - We Both Go Down Together by The Decemberists
14 - Lover, You Should've Come Over by Jeff Buckley

Day One....
We got to Sur La Table in Los Gatos very early. We ate and walked around for awhile, then went into the store about two hours early to check it out. We wanted to see what it was like and find out where the signing would be. Then we sat in the car for an hour listening to music and trying not to fall asleep, thus missing the signing altogether. We ended up heading back in about an hour early, which was good because we found out that we needed to buy the book there. We bought new copies and I needed very badly to use the restroom. As I came out, I nearly ran into Barry, Ted's husband. It was awful too, because I couldn't say excuse me for almost hitting him. If I did, I knew I would say, "Excuse me, Barry." and I didn't want to freak him out with my fan glee, you know? Then, Ted walked right by me and my mind went to mush. Seriously, he is a sexy man. Scruffy and put together and mmmm... He was wearing brown, which is the best color there is....and his eyes are just so blue.....yes. Did I mention that I'm gay?

They were there an hour early, so they went and sat in their car for awhile. We stood in the very short line that was forming, surrounded by these very rich, hoity-toity people who kept looking at us like we'd stumbled out of a leper colony or something. Ted came back in to sign. We heard the people in front of us saying things like, "I think I've seen the show once or twice." It was so strange, that feeling of being the only fans in the line. Just awkward. It set us up for what followed. Chelsea went first. She walked up to him and this lady from the store felt it important for him to know that we had traveled a long way and that we had been there most of the day. Three hours is not most of the day, bitch. Back off. That made us nervous. Chelsea gave him a gift of very cool booze and talked to him a bit. I was supposed to take a picture of them, but my hands would barely even hold the camera, I was shaking so damn bad. I had to hand it off....shame.

When I got up there, he hugged me for being nervous. Famous people should know by now that hugging your nervous fan does nothing to stem that tide, you know? My brain just started speeding...it was literally like, "Ted, hug, Ted, touching me, Ted, book, CD..." I could not pin a thought down. I got the CD out, which I freakin' had to dig for in my giant purse. Smooth move. When I gave to him, I said something like "We're both music geeks, so I made you this." Could I be a bigger dork? He seemed to really appreciate it though. I couldn't believe how much he seemed to appreciate it. He mentioned Badly Drawn Boy and then asked me which Neutral Milk Hotel album Oh Comely was off of. I botched that totally. I wanted to scream, "Dammit! Don't make me think at a time like this!" I'll never forget the name of that album now (it's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, btw)....just more shame. Then, I got my picture taken with him, which I'll post at the end. Then, we left...feeling like total failures. My only saving grace was that he had said that he couldn't wait to listen to the CD on the plane.

Yeah.....Neurosis: 1, Heather: 0

Day Two...
Chelsea and I spent the day shopping and lamenting that our hotel wouldn't let us stay in and sleep longer. We had a really great time...spending more money than we should have, eating really exceptional food. I love Haight-Ashbury and Castro so much. I just want to burrow in and never leave (and I almost spelled that totally wrong....burro=animal?). We got to the W, where the event was being held, about an hour early. Which was unnecessary, we discovered. But whatever. There was supposed to be a talk and then signing. It was actually a lot more like a cocktail party, with Ted as host and guest of honor, which was lovely (except for the too-cool-for-the-room people in attendance). Again, Chelsea and I - youngest. Fortunately, a lot of these people seemed to be actual fans and not just people who liked the idea of having a signed book.

We got a table up near where he'd be speaking. It's terrible, but I don't remember a lot of what he said now. I have good reason. I really do. I remember that he was so fucking funny. I remember that he looked handsome. Someone asked him what he was wearing and told him he looked really hot. He mentioned that Queer Eye has been picked up for another year. He talked about some specific people: Wayne Hollander (aka - The Gay Guy) was incredibly boring, according to Ted. He called him "a drip". We were thrilled, because we couldn't have agreed more. He talked about the nudist and the guy in Texas who was reuniting with his Dad. George K and Adam and Alan Corey. Good times. It's a blur.

Then, someone asked him something (and we cannot remember what the question was) that resulted in him talking about the gay people who have approached him and thanked him for helping them come out. And he said....wait for it...."I got a note last night from this 20-something girl who was struggling with coming out thanking me for helping her. It meant a lot to me." or something to that effect. I nearly screamed. I could not believe that he had read my note but also that it meant enough to him to mention it. I was floored. I didn't even really hear the rest of his talk. I just couldn't believe he had said that.

We got up to get our books signed (I needed one for a girl I work with) and I was just so nervous. Chelsea was holding my hand and making me feel so much better, but I still didn't know what the hell to say or do at this point. We got up to the table and he gave me a look of "Where do I know you from?" I said my name and that I was getting this signed for a friend. I told him he had signed one for me the day before and that I gave him the CD. His face totally changed...he just started to thank me and tell me that the note meant a lot to him. He reached across the table, took both of my hands, and said, "I can't tell you how much I appreciated your note." I can't believe I didn't start bawling then. Then he said, "Are you a West Wing fan?" My mind went "Oh shit." I said yes. He said, "I googled you this morning to try and find your e-mail. Did you get the letter I wrote?" My mind just kept going "Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit." The e-mail address was old and I didn't get it, so he had me write down my current one for him so he could send me that letter.

Just a pause....I could've just died, just right in that moment. I just....wow.

And I actually blurted out, "I need you to hug me." And he did. I said Thank you and he said No...thank you. Just...gah. Anyway...he signed the book. Then, he said, "Can you do something for me? Go over there and...see that man?" He was pointing at Barry and Chelsea and I are going, "Yes. Barry. We know. Yes." "Would you go over there and introduce yourself to him? Just tell him that you're Heather and that you gave me the CD yesterday. Tell him I sent you." If I'd had a desk....total headdesk at that point. Just numbness. Then, Chelsea gave him a scarf she had made that he absolutely adored. It's her story and she'll tell whatever part of it she wants to share. It was great though.....he seemed to really appreciate it. And it was a kick-ass scarf. *whispers* I want one.

We made our way over to Barry, who looked unhappy in the conversation he was in. When we got our chance, Chelsea swooped in and said "Barry!" I introduced myself as Heather, who gave Ted the CD, and in a voice so much higher than I ever imagined his to be, he said, "Ohmigod! I'm so glad you're here! That was so great!" and just wrapped his big bear arms around me.

Sidenote - These men know how to hug. Seriously. They do. A real hug. Good times.

Anyway, he told me that the note had made Ted cry (or did Ted tell me...blurry, I tell you.) and that he got all frustrated because I hadn't put my e-mail address or hometown on the CD. We talked to Barry for awhile, and he just kept hugging me. Love that man...love him. He told me that I look fabulous! Just...wow....Barry rocks. Anyway, we said goodbye...went to the car...came home.

The world cannot contain my squee. It can't.

And now I'm just so incredibly....just....stunned. I'm eternally on the verge of tears. This is what euphoria feels like.

I have never felt so accepted, so okay with who I am. Last night, Ted and Barry affirmed my existence. That seems so overkill, but it is true. I have never been fully comfortable in my skin, and last night, they made me feel valuable and wonderful and I just cannot describe in any words that will do it justice the complete love I have to Ted. I just can't. He made my 23 years. He really did.

And [livejournal.com profile] chelsea_doll - Love. Big love to you. We had the greatest time, both days. And you made me stronger when I could have easily been very weak. Thank you so much.

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Ignore the turquoise and red blimp beside him and just marvel at the sex oozing from Ted. He is so good looking in person, it was staggering. And he's good looking in general...but when those blue eyes are fixed on you? Wow. That's power.

Thus ends the longest post of my life. Sorry for the rambling! I'm pretty sure I said up there somewhere I wasn't going have detailed squee. Oops.....well. I didn't tell it all. I told it most.


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