Tag Archives: Blissdom

Getting My Cougar on With Chris Mann at Blissdom

“Oh, look, there is Chris Mann,” exclaimed my friend Nicole. “Let’s go get our picture taken with him.”

Nicole (who writes the wonderful blog By Word of Mouth Musings) pointed across the party room at the recent Blissdom Conference where Singer/Songwriter Chris Mann was holding court with a bevy of blissful women.

Nicole has a lovely South African accent so she could suggest we lather up in fish oil and wrestle hungry alligators in the Everglades and it would sound like a good idea. But I was NOT on board with this particular suggestion.

It’s not that Chris Mann, an emerging talent on the show “The Voice” who had stunned us with his amazing vocal abilities at lunch at the Blissdom conference wasn’t photo-worthy. He seemed to be very down-to-earth and genuinely nice, incredibly talented, and also, ridiculously adorable. The problem was that I had just humiliated myself the night before with Joe Jonas and was trying to reclaim what little was left of my self-esteem in the wake of coming across like the world’s most desperate cougar.

“Tell you what,” I replied. “You go stand with him and I’ll take the picture FOR you, OK?”

She was perfectly happy with that arrangement, but when we approached Chris Mann, he invited me to pose with them.

“No thanks,” I replied.

“Why not?” he wondered.

Why not, indeed? Why not have my picture taken with this handsome twenty-something year old with the piercing blue eyes who sings like an angel? Why not pretend we were good friends or even better, that he was my boy-toy? Why not have a picture to post on Facebook that would make my friends pant in envy?

Because I would look like his freakin’ MOTHER standing next to him, that’s why!!

But I didn’t want to tell him that. It’s one thing to look at a guy and know that you were probably listening to the Bee-Gees and roller-skating at a disco when he was being potty-trained. It’s another thing to actually admit that out loud.

“Well, um,” I stammered. “Cuz, uh, I don’t really know you and I only take pictures with people I know.”

He stared at me dumbfounded.

“Okayyy. Well, what do you want to know about me?” he wondered.

“Uh… Uh… where are you from?” I punted.

“Wichita, Kansas. How about you?”

“New Jersey. Well, I’m not actually FROM New Jersey,” I added. “My husband is from New Jersey. He convinced me to move there because he said his parents would help us out with the kids.”

(Note to self: Do not talk about husband and kids if you are trying NOT to come across as a desperate cougar!).

“Did they?” he asked.

“Did who what?”

“Did your in-laws help you with the kids?” he asked.

“No,” I answered. “It was a bait and switch. But it’s OK. I told him I wasn’t going to gain any weight after we got married, so I guess we’re even.”

(Note to self: Do not talk about what a married cow you have become when trying to impress a hot young guy).

He laughed. “So what else do you want to know about me?” He wondered.

I shook my head. My friend Nicole tapped her foot impatiently. “Look, I’m sure you are a great guy and lots of women would kill to have their picture taken with you,” I finally said to him. “But you are young enough to be my son and it’s just embarrassing, you know.”

He flashed me his devastatingly good-looking grin. “I bet I’m older than you think I am.”

“OK. How old?”

“I’m 29.”

“I’m 47,” I said.

He did the math in his head. “OK. You’re right. You’re old enough to be my mother.”

I grimaced.

“But now that we know each other, let’s take a picture anyway!” he said.

Since all the cards were out on the table and he knew a) I was from New Jersey b) I was heavier than I had been when I got married, and c) I was old enough to have birthed, nursed and raised him, I relented and stood in for the photo.

Confident that I had salvaged my reputation, I reached out and shook his hand.

“Nice to meet you!” I said honestly.

He grinned. “You too… Mom!”

(PS… Nicole says the two of us look like we are sending our son off to college in this picture. Yeah, thanks for that Nicole!)

©2012, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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How I Made a Fool of Myself with Joe Jonas at Blissdom

When you go to a conference, you expect to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and learn some great tips to invigorate your career.

What you do not expect is to make a fool of yourself in front of a celebrity.

I had already done this once, at a blog conference called Blogher, where I met the incredible star of “Glee,” Jane Lynch, and made a comment to her that neither of us looked particularly good that day.

Note to self: OK to insult yourself. Not OK to insult a celeb.

You’d think I would have learned from my mistakes. But alas, I am a two-time conference offender.

This past week I was delighted to attend the Blissdom Blog Conference. Blissdom is a fabulous gathering of talented bloggers held annually in Nashville. I was doing a great job of keeping my foot out of my mouth until I met Joe Jonas.

For those of you without teens or tweens or who may live under a rock, Joe is one third of the adorable Jonas Brothers trio and the only one who is able to grow facial hair. I suspect this is the reason they had him come perform for this group of 30 and 40-something year-old moms so we did not feel like cougars when we screamed in adoration at him when he was on stage.

Anyway, I hoped to get a picture of him at some point for my 14 year-old daughter. I did not expect to actually have the opportunity to meet him one on one. But as luck would have it, he sat down at the table next to me and my friends for dinner before the show.

“OMG, I have to go get his autograph for my daughter,” I said to my friends. Without giving them a chance to talk me out of it, I ran around the table with my placemat and asked for his autograph.

“It is for my daughter Emily,” I assured him.

He graciously signed the placemat. I thanked him profusely and went back to my dinner.

“You know… he probably thinks YOUR name is Emily and you just made up this daughter story so he would give you his autograph without thinking you were a creepy cougar,” said my friends Nick and Matt from Time Dog and Pamela from Chick Clique.

I was mortified.

While I mulled over this possibility, another of my friends went over and asked Joe for his autograph. When she came back to our table, she informed me that she had told Joe, “Emily suggested I come over.”

Now I was truly horrified.

Throwing my dinner napkin to the ground, I went back to Joe’s table. “You probably think I was getting your autograph for myself, but it really was my for my daughter, Emily,” I assured him. “And just to prove it, I am not even going to ask you to take a picture with me. I’m going to ask you to take a picture of me WITH YOUR BODYGUARD.”

“Cool,” said the bodyguard.

“Seriously?” wondered Joe Jonas.

I handed him my camera and posed with his bodyguard.

Then I gave him my business card. “Here. You’re from New Jersey, right?” He nodded. “I’m from New Jersey too. I write a syndicated newspaper column about living in New Jersey with kids. Give my card to your mom. I think she’ll like my column.”

He blinked.

“You want me to give your card to MY MOM?”

“Yes,” I said.

“And you don’t want to take a picture with me?”

“Right.” I said.

He snorted. “Well, this is a first.”

We shook hands and said goodbye. I was confident that I had redeemed myself and reclaimed my credibility.

An hour later he did his show for the screaming masses of moms and then he stood in front of the Blissdom screen to pose for pictures with all the bloggers. My friends got on line to pose with him and I waited with them. But when it was their turn, I peeled off to the side and stood with my new friend, Joe’s bodyguard, to wait while they were photographed.

“Hey come take a picture with us,” they yelled to me as they stood with Joe Jonas.

I shook my head.

“Yeah EMILY, come on over!” yelled Joe.

“Go ahead, Emily,” said the bodyguard.

“I’m NOT Emily,” I protested. “Emily is my DAUGHTER. My name is Tracy!”

Realizing I was not going to come out of this situation unscathed, I went over and took the picture with them.

I shook my head as I joined the group. “My name is Tracy,” I insisted softly.

Joe Jonas winked at me. “Sure it is. Tell you daughter I said hi!”

©2012, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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