I do not have Bieber fever.
But I did suffer from several similar fevers in my youth (Rob Lowe fever, Bon Jovi fever, etc.), so I can empathize with the young people overcome with gasping OMG! OMG! OMG! fits every time his name is mentioned.
The namesake of this fever — which I assure you is a real condition — is Justin Bieber, a 16-year-old, baby-faced, floppy-haired Canadian singer who was discovered in 2008 from a YouTube video that featured his youthful cuteness.
He sings sugary pop songs like "Baby," and he has the 14-and-under female population in a googly-eyed, sometimes hysterical, lovesick, OMG! OMG! OMG! trance.
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And now, he also has a movie. "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," which by all accounts is a Bieber commercial disguised as a concert film, was released this weekend, no doubt to a worldwide, high-pitched chorus of OMG! OMG! OMG!
Just a few months ago, I was still figuring out exactly what a Bieber was. And at that exact moment, Andover 14-year-old Lydia McEwen was posting the 30,412th tweet to her Twitter account, handle @OMG—Ilovejustin.
Lydia, who I found by scoping out one of several Facebook fan pages lobbying for Justin Bieber to come to Wichita, proudly told me she first started loving Justin two years ago.
"I've been a fan of him since before anyone even knew who he was," she said.
Lydia's not just any fan, either. She's actually met Justin Bieber in person. As part of a fan club contest, she won a backstage meet-and-greet with the singer when he performed at the Sprint Center in Kansas City last July.
I asked Lydia to explain to me what about Justin Bieber makes her and her peers so crazy, and she quickly rattled off his teen-mag resume.
"He's really nice and friendly. He loves his fans. He has a good sense of humor. He's a good person because he donates to charities. And he's adorable," she said. "And I love his music."
Not everyone is a Bieber fan, though, Lydia admitted. Some teen girls have bought into Bieber backlash, while most teen boys flat-out hate him.
"Pretty much all the girls like him and the boys are like, 'He's a loser,' " Lydia said. "They just say he's really not cool and he has no talent."
Adults, for the most part, also don't understand Bieber fever. In fact, when I e-mailed the photo Lydia shared of herself backstage at the concert to our page designer, Rod, he sent me back a five-word reply.
"I just don't get it."
But we're not supposed to get it. My mother did not understand why I loved Rob Lowe enough to compromise the integrity of my bedroom walls with Scotch tape and pages of Teen Beat magazine.
She didn't get why I wanted to spend all my allowance to see another Bon Jovi concert when I'd already been to two.
But she let it be, knowing (hoping?) that it would pass. And it did. For the most part. I still sort of like Rob Lowe.
Bieber fever will pass, too. Maize Middle School 13-year-old Katherine Frazier, who I also discovered on a Facebook fan page, said it's already happening to her.
She still likes his music, and she still can't take her eyes off his hair, she said.
But she's feels her fever breaking.
"He just got kind of old," she said.
But she'll still go to the movie with her friend who loves Justin, she said. And she admitted that she hasn't yet removed the Justin Bieber light-switch cover that her aunt made for her.