N-SANE IN THE MEMBRANE: screaming and dreaming with the babes in boyland

I have no friends. I'll tell you why.

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Alejandra. Alejandra was good and sweet, and one day Alejandra got to go to a Backstreet Boys concert. Alejandra danced the night away in the front row, and Kevin Richardson, Prince Charming himself, gave her a teddy bear, proof of his undying love. Alejandra, being good and sweet, wrote an article for The Harvard Crimson about the concert and her adoration of the Fab Five. But alas, the bell tolled midnight, and Alejandra's coach turned into a pumpkin, her gown to tatters and her reputation to dirt.

Alejandra, the fair princess, has no friends. She loves boys bands.

But, as we all know from Professor Tatar's lectures, every heroine has to be in the dumps before she can triumph victorious. Well, let me tell you, I've been in the gutter ever since my ill-fated article went to print. After that fateful day, my blocking group shunned me away into nowheredom, boys stopped dating me, people whispered behind me in the dining hall, and I was forced to face the constant taunting of my prefectees, who officially dubbed me the "loser prefect." Yes, I used to be cool, I used to be composed. But after I professed my (perfectly legitimate) love of the Backstreet Boys to the world, I became a freak.

But did I care? No. I didn't care back then, and I don't care now. Go ahead, arch those eyebrows. Make fun of me with your post-modern metaphysical over-analytical gibberish. Tell me exactly how many steps backwards I am setting the feminist movement with my Beatles-esque boy-band adoration. It's high time that someone took a stand. So, with my knock-out yellow halter top, glittery eye shadow and precious teddy bear, I will proudly stand up. I will be your teenybopper.

It's time for the sequel. N'Sync, here I come.

But now I am a year older, and a year wiser. And although Kevin Richardson will forever remain my Prince Charming, it was time for something new. So on a humid evening, I boarded what the South Station Amtrak employees had dubbed the "'NSync train" to Foxboro, Mass., and to my gratifying amusement, I saw many of you on board as well. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.

Having had one 'NSync concert under my belt and after having attended the 'NSync carnival three weeks before, I felt that I was The Crimson's leading expert on the performance at hand. I arrived just in time to catch the end of their stunning opening act, Pink. As her name might suggest, Pink was all about Girl Power (which was a good thing, considering there might have been 30 guys in the audience, including the security guards). She certainly sang her heart out, but the crowd clearly wanted to see the boys. When she yelled "Are y'all ready for 'NSync?" the response was deafening.

In true boy-band form, Joey, Chris, J.C., Justin and Lance opened their set with a cascade of fireworks and pumped-up dance moves to "No Strings Attached." My mouth fell open, my feet started to dance and I began to reconsider my marriage proposal from Kevin Richardson. (Especially when he was off getting married to someone else that very week! The nerve!) In the ocean of light-sticks amidst the dark and warm summer night, I thought "Yeah, they're not the Backstreet Boys, but that Justin Timberlake can sure shake his booty."

And boy, did those boys shake what their mamas gave them! After their first song, the guys moved into a remix dance sequence of some of their old hits, like "I Want You Back" and "Tearing Up My Heart." Justin continued to fire up the stage as he engaged his thousands of teenyboppers with his mad rapping and drumming skills. (And people say they have no talent!)

There was positively nothing "Britney Spears-esque" about this performance. When the stage exploded with fireworks and 'NSync belted out their first Hot 100 single, "It's Gonna Be Me," I knew that this was all real. Further proof that the boys were actually singing was evident in their perfectly blended a cappella version of "I Thought She Knew." 'NSync continued to set the soft mood with other romantic favorites like "Drive Myself Crazy" and "God Must Have Spent." Tears were pouring and screams were heard, but I kept reminding myself to stay strong. I vowed at that instant that I would not cry.

But I soon realized that restraining my tears at a beautiful boy concert would be like trying to restrict Jennifer Lopez's butt into size five jeans. As a moving stage carried the group, singing "This I Promise You," into the masses of frantic females, tears of happiness cascaded down my cheeks. I knew that there would be no teddy bear for me tonight, but having 'NSync close to me was enough.

The romantic set was followed with songs from 'NSync's recent album, a compilation of new and edgy tunes. "Space Cowboy" seemed to be the audience favorite, as judged by the manner in which the crowd exploded every time the boys "rode" their imaginary horses. I overheard a mom comment to another fellow mom, "Those boys can sure ride me anytime." I almost doubled over with laughter, but hey, I had to agree.

Finally, only one song could wrap up this festival of frenzy. I put my pen and note pad down and busted out with the familiar three jumps and three nods of the head every time the words "Bye, Bye, Bye!" rang out. The laser lights and fireworks encompassed the stadium...and then, sigh, the fabulous five disappeared from the stage.

So, if I have to live out a solitary existence in order to defend the ten men in my life, then I will deal with the loneliness of my life here at Harvard.

I'll just be cool in the real world.