Dropping Names Like They’re Maiden

A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with the smart and funny Linda Holmes. Linda was in town to cover the TCA’s, an annual two-week tv critic lock-in that sounds like the television equivalent of your dad forcing you to smoke a carton of cigarettes in a closet. It was her last night, and we got together to talk all things.

About twenty minutes into our conversation, I looked up to catch a glimpse of Famous Hair. It was hair so famous I knew without even seeing the face attached to it, who was standing in front of me.

I’ve been around enough famous people now to confidently tell you that the hair of the famous is just different. It’s better. It’s amazing. Even when it’s supposed to be doing nothing, it’s doing something. It’s sitting on a recognizable head being even better than regular ‘ol boring strands of keratin.

Famous people smell good and famous people have better hair. I worked with Lauren Conrad a couple of years ago and yes, she’s young, that certainly helps, but she had incredible hair. Thick, shiny, perfect, beautiful hair. Her hair basically has its own website. Lauren Conrad has great hair and she smells fantastic. Ditto Alyssa Milano. Sofia Vergara.

After all these pretty ladies with their amazing heads (and more hello,sofia,istilldreamofyouinyourlowrisesweatpants), I have a lot of hair envy. I do not have famous hair. I have the hair of the hidden, the ones who stay inside and sit down a lot. The only uv rays my hair regularly soak in are the ones bouncing off my monitor.

ANYWAY. Back to dinner. I’m sitting in front of Linda but I catch the very corner, just the tiniest edge of Famous Hair. It’s blonde and a little wispy-spiky and does a great sweep away from her face. Her sweet, smiley face with her big eyes and it’s Amy Poehler. Amy Poehler is standing in front of me and she’s about to be seated next to me. The hostess is taking her to the table right next to us!

I accidentally launch into Fan Face. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but I instantly flared into Raging Fan Face. It looked exactly like this:


Minus the famous hair.

I realize I’m making Fan Face. I can feel the blood rushing against my cheeks. I know my eyebrows are way up in my hairline. I know that I am not hiding any kind of smile. I’m just staring at Amy Poehler and every part of my face is going


(emoji translation)

in a very not-cool sort of way, and without skipping a beat, Amy goes, “Or over there!” And she points at the opposite side of a giant load-bearing pillar from where I am sitting. Before I can even pull my face together, she’s gone. Hidden. Because she’s hiding. From me.

“Linda, I’m so sorry.”

“I knew it was someone good just by the look on your face.”

“You almost had dinner next to Amy Poehler, but now you will not.”

“It was a little worth it to see what I just saw.”

“I’m really sorry. This is somehow worse than the time I did that in front of Weezer.”


“Or Bjork.”

“Yeah. You aren’t good at this.”

“I’m not. It’s because I truly love them.”

“I’m sure they’re flattered.”

“Not as much as they’re frightened.”

“That may be true.”

I try to think of it as a good thing that I haven’t lost my Fan Face. That I’m still not jaded after all this time in this industry, where almost every day includes at least a tiny bit of rejection, or you hear a horrible story about pretty much every single one of your idols. And, look, sometimes I can just have a regular meeting and not lose my shit. I worked for months beside Alyssa Milano without even ONCE flashing my fan face while admitting, “You used to be my imaginary friend.” Do you know how difficult that was? It was very difficult!

See? I know when there are times you don’t say things! I can be cool around Alyssa Milano! But… not so cool around John Henson.

Maybe there’s a chance Amy’s request to switch tables was coincidental. Maybe she really did want to sit closer to the front door. I do think the odds are around the same likelihood that she was switching tables because OMG THAT’S PAMIE I CAN’T HANDLE, but still. It’s not all about me.

It’s all about THEM. And I love them.

Fortunately, this is only sometimes a problem. I can’t even tell you how many napkins have seen my Fan Face up close as I’ve tried to pull it together. People often hear stories like this one and say, “It’s a good thing you’ve never met Johnny Depp. You might actually explode.” I’ll have you know I have had a meeting at his company and I’ve sat in furniture he probably sat in and walked on floors he definitely walked on and sure, I haven’t washed any part of me since, but I kept it together. Mostly.

Does weeping in the parking lot count?

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  1. Teresa Morris

    Hi Pammie,

    Don’t ever loose your “Fan Face”. That is what makes you human and keeps you grounded. I love the way you tell a story. I must read one of your books. Keep in touch.

    Love Ya

  2. Cheri

    At least your fan face doesn’t come with a noise. Mine s ort of comes with a squeaky sound along with an intake of air.

  3. meadowgirl

    i feel like i had Fan Face when i finally met you. i really really really hoped i didn’t look & sound & act like a complete fucking dork.

  4. MaryAnne

    I’m such a (strike>stalker long-time reader, I didn’t even have to click any of those links, I just remember the stories -which is my way of saying I would totally have FanFace if I ever got to meet you! :)

    1. MaryAnne

      And apparently just the thought of that made my HTML skills go all wonky.

  5. Paul Tabachneck

    I freaked the living crap out of David Cross at the Del Close Marathon last year.

    1. pamie

      In your defense, the Del Close Marathon would be CRAWLING with Mr. Show nerds. He knew where he was stepping.

  6. Lori Hunt

    I once spazzed out on Billy Idol in Crazy Eddie’s on 57th Street in NYC. He was traumatized, for sure, but not more so than me when I was unable to stop the torrent of idiot that flew out of my mouth. I may or may not have hyperventilated. Flash forward 10 years: I was standing in line at a coffee house in Burbank, starting to get all judge-y on this old man who seemed unable to make up his mind when I realized it was William Shatner. I was all “CAPTAIN KIRK IS STANDING IN FRONT OF ME AND HE HAS BEDHEAD!” But only in my mind. He has Billy to thank for that save.

  7. Allison

    hey Pamie, just remember that I saw you at Desert Rose the day before L.A Book Fest and was too nervous to come up to you.

    You told me later that Jason told you he thought he saw some girl staring at you, and you dismissed him. So apparently I had fan face too, for him to recognize it across a crowded patio.

    1. pamie

      I remember that! I remember it not just because I remember you, but also because Jason likes it when he’s right.

  8. Hollie

    I lived in Miami Beach for the last several years and have NEVER SPOTTED A CELEBRITY. Now I’m in a Dallas suburb, and I’ll never see famous hair.

  9. DG

    Internal monologue one day last week at the playground with my toddler: “Who is that mom? Do I know her? Should I be remembering the name of her child?

    “Oh…that’s Maggie Gyllenhaal. And she just saw the moment of recognition on my face. Crap.”

    She left that part of the playground shortly. When I took my kids to the swings a little later — where she had gone — I felt a little like a stalker despite the fact that I always take my kid to the swings. And then my kid had an epic meltdown at the swings. It was excellent.

  10. Shannon

    June, 1986. I am in the Dublin airport, standing behind a little man with fabulous black hair. He is wearing cowboy boots. I am two paces behind him, listening to the Unforgettable Fire on my walkman. He turns to say something to a friend, and I realize. It is Bono. I follow him to baggage claim. In my head, I am thinking about what I should say to him. Should I tell him that I listen to the Unforgettable Fire end to end? That it makes me feel closer to my father, who died when I was 13? That I lust after Larry Mullen Jr., but my love is all for him? That I’m Irish? Jesus? What do I say to BONO VOX who is really Paul Hewson from Blackrock Ireland? He turns, sees me looming and smiles. And I say what I was meant to say to my idol. “You are very small.” He laughs. “Seriously. You are a very small man.” My face is burning, and I could no more stop the words than die on the spot. And I wish I could. My face is boiling, and my hands are clenched into fists. “I get that a lot, darlin’.” He shakes my hand. “But I never realized you would be so, very small.” Now he is walking away. I whisper, “Your music saved my life”, but his boots are clicking away from me at a rapid pace. I cried silently all the way to meet my host family. Bono hasn’t spoken to me since.

    1. pamie


  11. Shannon

    It will go with me to my grave. I practically licked the Blarney Stone when we went there. Anything to wash the humilation out of my mouth.

  12. Amanda

    Your Retta story led me here to Fan Face, and reminded me of this one time…

    I’m at Edgar Wright’s film festival in LA in Aught-7ish, and am over the moon as only a Spaced/Cornetto Trilogy fan can be. The “festival” is code for “Edgar Wright is renting out a theater for a week and showing all of his favorite movies”, including some very gory horror flicks. Bliss.

    After my then-hubby, two friends and I settle into our seats, I decide to duck into the restroom before the first movie starts. And standing in the shadows, tiny and adorable and British, is Mr. Edgar Wright. And I, tall and weird and American, swoop down on him with “OHMYGODILOVEYOUSOMUCHANDEVERYTHINGYOU’VEEVERCOMMITTEDTOFILMANDI’MGOINGTOHUGYOUNOW”. The look of terror on his face as he shrunk away from my completely inappropriate hug – this, a man who revels in the horror genre – haunts me to this day. Adding to the awkwardness was the fact that he was actually on his way up to the theater stage to kick things off when I fan-bushed him, and he was visibly rattled when he finally made it up there.

    And then there was that time that I almost stepped on Seth Green at San Diego Comic Con, but he was smart enough to scuttle away after seeing my Fan Face. But that’s another story…