I was digging through a box of keepsakes the other night, when I came across this old, signed photo of Paula Abdul, and memories of being an 11-year-old ├╝ber-fan came flooding back to me. The Sharpie is a little difficult to read, but she wrote: “To Peter, Lots and lots of love & happiness to you! Keep Dancing! Paula Abdul”

Here’s the back story… Years ago, when I was really just a gay-in-training, I developed a healthy fascination with Paula Abdul. This was during the Forever Your Girl era. I loved her. I thought she’d hung the moon. My Mom even got me a VHS compilation of her videos, and I resigned myself to learning all of Paula’s dance steps by slowly tracking through the videos frame by frame. Please don’t tell anyone, though. I don’t want to get a reputation.

But back then, I was so brought down that this particular compilation did not contain the “Opposites Attract” video…

You see, at the time, my parents didn’t have cable, so I could only see the video in glimpses at friends’ houses where there was MTV. And I thought the “Opposites Attract” video was only the coolest thing… EVER!

I begged and begged my parents to get us MTV, which of course they would hear no part of. Finally, my Dad set out on a mission to get me a copy of the video. Well, it was more of an “I’m going to write a letter to Paula” moment, as opposed to a mission, but I digress.

Anyway, unbeknownst to me, he sent a letter off to Paula and then, as one does, subsequently developed a friendship with key members of “Team Abdul.” One day, he came home from the office carrying a large, padded envelope, which he handed to me.

“I think this is for you,” he said.

So, I opened up the package to find a copy of the “Opposites Attract” video, along with the above autographed picture from Paula. I almost fainted. Then, I read what Paula had written on the picture.

“Keep dancing?” I asked. “Why did she write ‘Keep dancing’!?”

“Well, I may have told her manager that you inch through her videos frame by frame…”

“WHAT!? You told her manager that!? Now Paula’s gonna think I’m weird! Oh my God!”

He started laughing. “Will you just put the tape in the VCR so we can see what all the fuss is about?”

And yes, after a couple of years, I’d worn that tape out, too.

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  1. That’s fuckin’ rad.