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.”
“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!”