this is what happened when i met jennifer weiner

if there’s one thing you need to know about me–besides my penchant for frosty lipstick, eternal love for madonna and the fact that i’ve married holly like 100 times–it’s that i’m a jennifer weiner superfan.

she’s pretty much my literary idol. so when i saw she was coming to philly’s head house books, i made it my personal business to rearrange my schedule so i could be there. two hours early. with my mom. and snacks in my bag in case i got hungry.

i introduced myself to the the bookstore worker, who proved to be both patient and kind as she listened to me blubber about how excited i was to meet my fave author.

“there’s only two people i want to meet in this world,” i breathlessly told her as she stood trapped behind the counter. “jennifer weiner and madonna. and i’m not sure if i even want to meet madonna because there’s a good chance she might be kind of mean.”

once that came out of my mouth there was no taking it back. i was that person. i was the overly excited fan waiting around to meet the star. but i didn’t even care.

“oh yeah! and this is my mom!”

yup. i really was that person. and i brought my mom! all i was missing was a star wars t-shirt and a juice box.

in my former life as a journalist, i interviewed rock stars, television personalities, politicians, federal officials, heads of state (ok i totally made that last one up but i know people that’ve interviewed heads of state–does that count??) and i’ve never, ever been as nervous to meet/talk to anyone ever in my life.

jen (despite my distaste for using nicknames when you don’t really know someone, i’m going to call her “jen” because everyone kept referring to her as that) and fellow fab author liz moore did a great job speaking to the audience, which had grown to fill the entire store.

as soon they were done, i made a beeline for jen.

“hi! i’m jessica,” i said, putting out my hand for her to shake.

“hi, jessica!” she said, smiling as she shook my hand. “it’s nice to meet you.”

don’t faint don’t faint don’t faint. do. not.  faint. i told myself.

a lightening speed battle between the dorky side of my brain (you know, the side with the juice box and star wars t-shirt) and the sensible side commenced.

this is your big chance! the sensible side shouted. this is what you daydream about! you’re meeting your literary idol! say something meaningful and witty about your writing background. don’t say “i’m a writer, too!” because hello, everyone tells their favorite author they’re “a writer, too.” make yourself stand out from the crowd!

say something cool! the dorky side shouted back. TELL HER YOU LOVE HER! wait! don’t tell her you love her because that would be weird because you don’t actually know her. maybe you should ask her out for coffee? no wait, don’t do that. wait…no, you definitely should. yeah, see if she wants to get coffee! there’s a great place just down the street!

no! absolutely do not ask her out for coffee! the sensible side advised. say something clever. be friendly but not overly friendly. pretend like you’re about to interview her. act cool, you’re a professional! 

so what did i wind up saying?

“ohmygoshican’tbelievei’mactuallymeetingyou. i think…i think i might faint. i’m a writer, too!”

niiiice.

dorky side: 1. sensible side: 0.

then i started to sweat and my mouth went dry, at which point the sensible side of my brain threw its hands up and left me alone with my dorky side, which took a noisy sip from its cranberry juice box, delighted to take over completely.

unfazed, she laughed, obviously used to weirdo superfans like me, and said no, don’t faint, it’s ok.

i felt the heat of the crowd behind me. i had to act fast and turn this thing around.

i told her i came in from baltimore to see her, that i was a former journalist, had a blog and brought my old paperback copy of “good in bed” for her to sign. then she asked me what kind of blog i had.

“it’s a humor blog,” i said, sounding completely devoid of humor.

this was a trainwreck. i watched as she signed my book. the clock was ticking. my time with one of the people i most wanted to meet in this world was quickly coming to an end and i had to make an impression other than Potentially Psycho I’m-A-Writer-Too! SuperFan. and, without warning, who comes to my rescue?

my mom.

suddenly she was over my shoulder–hell, i didn’t even realize she was behind me anymore!–and sang my praises as only a jewish mother from new jersey can.

“there’s something my daughter neglected to tell you,” my mom said in all her proud jewish mother glory. “she was in the It Gets Better book!”

YES MOM YES! i totally forgot about that! yes i was published in an actual book! that made me sound way less crazy!

jen looked up and said she loved the it gets better project, and that her and her siblings were going to be making a video. then she asked for my card.

jennifer weiner asked for my business card. 

i died a thousands small deaths. right there. i really did. i took a card out of my bag and put it on the table, at which point she tucked it away and said she’d check out my blog. 

the dorky side of my brain and my sensible side did one of those running/jumping shoulder-bump things that guys do. then the dorky side did the running man and the sensible side shook its head and walked away.

leave it to a mom to be your best publicist. she totally saved the day. not to mention a) happily agreeing to arrive at the bookstore ridiculously early b) tirelessly keeping me company while c) simultaneously not judging me for being overly excited.

since that day, almost three weeks ago, i’ve felt that special kind of peace that only comes with checking a life goal off your list. now all i have to do is go to a madonna concert (ACTUALLY HAPPENING THIS SEPT *goosebumps!*), have a baby and publish a book. oh and also go to england and ireland. and an organic spa with holly in arizona or new mexico (do those even exist?). and take a road trip with holly to visit my great uncle ben in florida. not necessarily in that order, but those are the biggies.

anyway, i may have acted like a complete dork, but at least i got out there, stepped up to the plate and met my number one superstar. so jen, if you’re reading this, thank you for your kindness–and for not backing away from me.

yours truly,
jessica leshnoff, superfan
baltimore, md

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19 responses to “this is what happened when i met jennifer weiner

  1. OMG, I can’t believe that she asked for your card!! Wow! I hope she reads the blog. I can’t really describe what Jennifer Weiner’s books have meant to me, epecially when I was a plus sized girl reading them for the first time. p.s. I totally agree with you that I’m scared to meet Madonna..I bet she’s SUPER mean!

  2. there’s a good chance she really is super mean. unless you’re an obscenely attractive gay man (which, incidentally, i am not). otherwise: talk to the hand.

  3. Very funny post! :)
    Jealous that you got to meet Jennifer Weiner. I love her books!

  4. Great post! Really enjoyed living vicariously through your Superfan moment. I LOVE Jennifer Weiner, so jealous you got to meet her.

  5. This was great! Also, there are totally organic spas in the southwest, and that is one of our dreams, too! Hope all is well ;) xo

  6. That’s what Moms are for! So glad you got to meet your hero! If you happen to meet Madonna and coming from the dorky side…ask her if she is still “Like a Virgin”! LOL!

  7. What a great tale. It’s amazing what happens when we have face-to-face encounters with ordinary people whom we’ve made into imaginary demi-gods, or whom we just “know” as celebrities. David Bowie sang “Fame! (fame!) puts you there where things are hollow!”

    I recall a friend in college, describing seeing a then super-famous actress (rhymes with Rinoma Wyger) at her local Borders Books & Music. Star struck, she approached her and blurted out how much she “respected her and her work,” and the actress thanked her, but obviously didn’t wanna be bugged by someone whilst looking at CDs at Borders. Walking away, my friend felt embarrassed shame with herself, realizing in fact that she did NOT like this actress’ work much at all, and really had no opionions about her either way, but was just suddenly drunk with the woman’s inherent fame.

  8. Melissa Nunes

    Oh I can see your dorkiness and raise you a nerd girl. I recently met one of my celeb crushes. When I went in for a hug, I stepped on her toes. Hard. She was still a rock star and so gracious but I STEPPED ON HER TOES. Literally. Sometimes this human thing is hard. If I ever meet Anne LaMott, I pray I don’t injure her tiny body.

  9. Haha, you’re not alone. When I met my fav, Meg Cabot, I brought my mom too (I’m 25). Meg had one of those huge stand-in things of one of her most recent book cover and I made my mom take a picture of me with my face in place where the heroine’s head is supposed to be. It was childish and amazing.

  10. I stopped ‘lurking’ just for a moment and read this post. Laughed out loud…ok…back to lurking…I’m suddenly feeling very vulnerable ;)

  11. This made me laugh (I am a complete dork when I get to meet people who I admire) and cry a little (when you mom stepped in to save the day)… I hope Jen reads your blog and giggles w glee!!!

  12. I might have shed a tear or two (of joy) and laughed out loud while reading this.

  13. What a great story! I’m a Jennifer Weiner super fan too! That’s how I say this post, of course–from her tweet! Such a cute post. Kudos to your mom, too.

  14. This is exactly what I went through (minus the person coming to my rescue, juice box and awesome sauce project) when I met Jen Lancaster last month. So basically I was pretty much just a dork with no sensible side. Until I got into the parking lot of course. Far away from poor Jen who likely sat reeling from my renovation rambling. A superfluous N hanging in the air. If you’re interested in reading it here’s the link:

    Samantha Baker Eat Your Heart Out
    http://randomnessandlunacy.blogspot.com/2012/03/samantha-baker-eat-your-heart-out.html

    Sometimes being a dork is all we can do, I hope your meeting turns into something collaborative, that would totally rock!

  15. I’m a fellow figurative juice box drinker. When I met Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls a few years ago, she posed for a photo with me and apologized for being sweaty from the show. And what did I say in response? “That’s how I like it.”

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?!?!?!

  16. A- Kind of miffed that my feed didn’t update me with this post until today because B- I had a shitty week last week and the mental image of your dorky side doing the running man would have got me through in a magical sort of way. I’m so glad you got to meet your idol. Yay you (and you’re awesome PR rep of a mom).

  17. That is an awesome story. Plus, checking an item off your bucket list always feels so great. Now when Jennifer Weiner calls you and makes you a literary giant, you will know how to treat all of your super fans.

  18. I love Jennifer Weiner! That’s so cool that you met her and that she asked for your card.

    Way to go, your mom!

  19. Hey!! I just wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog so much that I nominated your blog for “One Lovely Blog” Award. For more details about it go to http://peacockwings.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/one-lovely-blog-award/. Thanks so much!!

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