All fans at this point have heard the basics. Lance Bass, born James Lance Bass, was born on May 4, 1979 in a manger with some kings and wait. Never mind. Back track. I’m not sure about the manger part, but I do know that he’s from Mississippi and if you ever forget, just search on YouTube for any interview with him. He’ll be sure to mention it at least once.
During his childhood, he was probably the same little ADD self he is now…just smaller. And with a worse haircut and less sparkly clothing. Well, except for that time he was in Attache and did a whole bunch of jazz-hand dances with sparkly vests and pants. Come to think of it, his childhood probably didn’t vary a whole lot from his teen and adult years, at least sparkly wise. I won’t bore you with the now famous story of Justin and his mom stalking Lance and Diane down until they agreed to board a plane to Orlando to try out for this little group that could. We all know that part.
But I’m assuming that’s when his life got really weird. When those two cute guys from the Mickey Mouse Club, and two older guys who sang and dance at Universal suddenly take over your life at 16, that has to be weird. Or on the other hand, maybe that seemed perfectly normal when you compare it to his life after that. Suddenly he and those four other guys were being chased down streets in Europe, whether their American friends and family believed it or not! And then you know, there was the America thing. Ya know, the thing where they became famous and toured the country over and over again for years on end.
In *NSYNC, Lance was known as the “quiet” or “shy” one. He was the one who turned beet red when the others mentioned girls, and put his hands over his face when the others got especially embarrassing. He was also the one who probably just out of default, got the least time to talk because the others never stopped! He was also known to be business minded. He was the one who noticed something strange in their contract with Lou, and he was the gutsy one who ripped up a check right in front of the crook’s face. (I still want to high-five him for that.) He was also the one who looked up to all of them and obviously just loved being a part of a new big family, however functionally dysfunctional.
Lance was also the one who snuck up on us. You know what I’m talking about. He was the pretty little thing in the background in the mid 90s, the one who suddenly became just super cute in the late 90s, and then out-of-freakin’-nowhere became drool-worthy in the 2000s. Like, even I don’t know how it happened. I think he woke up one day and looked in the mirror and surprised even himself. I’m sure Russian space training helped in 2002.
However pretty all those years, you can tell that he was the one who had to pretend the most. You know what they say about the quiet ones don’t you? And when you look back on interviews and videos, you kind of just feel for him. Reading his book, you realize the amazing amount of weight he had on his shoulders. There he was in the biggest group since the Beatles, and he knew that their continued success relied largely on their wholesome image. The picnic-on-the-beach and oh isn’t that Bible verse just nifty(!) image. Surely, coming out and declaring that really, you’d like to have that picnic with the cute guy you met at the bar would do a little damage. He knew that all to well, I’m sure.
And it wasn’t just the public. There was also the fact that he was born and raised in a Southern Baptist family, where everyone *there* was born and raised in a Southern Baptist family, and on and on and on. I can only imagine what went through his head during those years of struggle, and the worry he must have felt about how and even *if* his family would accept him for who he had always been. Being dragged out of the closet with only 24 hours to notify everyone probably doesn’t make things any easier.
That said, he has seemed to thrive since then. Sure, newly emphasized public interest in his life hasn’t helped him make it to space yet. But he’s trained and certified and ready to go, and I’m sure that no amount of kicking and screaming on my part will prevent him when he has the chance. For his sake and his hopes and dreams, I do think all fans wish him the best in those endeavors. But really Lance, was your entire coming out experience not enough of a heart-stopping adventure for you? Just kidding. Sort of.
Oh, about the thriving thing. I know that when you consider all of the public boyfriends that have come and go, it doesn’t really add up to “yay you!” but he also hasn’t entered rehab yet. So apparently I consider that an accomplishment for him and all of young Hollywood. Anyway, back on topic, there was Reichen, right? And he had the charming power to obviously just melt Lance….and all of his fans. But then he opened his mouth to speak and all of the pretty just flew out and then he cheated and we all just wanted to throw him down a flight of stairs and get Lance drunk and happy. We didn’t get to do that, but Lance still made it out okay. He’s been tied to scores of hot guys since that initial public relationship and certainly, that counts for something!
Even with his love life’s public up and downs, he has said that he hopes to settle down, get married, and have children, and I think I speak for all fans when I say that we are SO rooting for him. He deserves that magical happy ending more than most.
So what else can be said about Lance? He’s the Myspace and Facebook blogger that loves exclamation marks, and bemoans fairy dust and sparkles taking over his car.
He’s that third place contestant on Dancing With the Stars, when it’s so obvious that he deserved to win. Like, duh. Didn’t they see how hard he worked? Didn’t they see how he was a thousand times better than any football player that show has seen? I mean, didn’t they SEE that one-shoe dance for his granddaddy? Well, we sure did.
He is the philanthropist, too. He’s begun to take up more and more roles within the gay community, participating in various organizations that aim to further the rights and protections of our fellow citizens.
He’s every.single.person’s biggest cheerleader and doesn’t seem to expect anything in return. He’s the seemingly happy-go-lucky guy who refuses to be knocked down, even when some apparently try their hardest. He’s the unfailingly optimistic one whose enthusiasm sometimes raises a few eyebrows (and laughs) but reflects the sort of innocence he has managed to hold onto, amazingly, in spite of his many struggles and situations.
All in all, he’s the one all of us have been pulling for since he was that skinny little kid in the back row of *NSYNC, and that one we have watched (with a sort of fan pride) grow into a person of his own, in his very own front row.
And “isn’t THAT something?” -Sammi