There comes a moment in every New Yorker’s life when her attempts to remain calm, cool, and collected in the presence of a noteworthy celebrity completely and utterly fail. For me, said failure occurred today when I encountered Neil Patrick Harris in a Chelsea elevator.
In the days before both he and I knew he preferred boys, I was devotedly watching him parade around as a sixteen year old doctor on Doogie Howser, M. D. I was only three or four years old at the time, but I distinctly remember placing my face within a foot of the television screen so I could soak in his wit and wisdom and boyish good looks.
And when he abandoned medicine for life as a playboy in How I Met Your Mother, I politely followed. I was particularly pleased when the writers stated the objective of the show: “let’s write about our friends and the stupid stuff we did in New York.” Coupling my favorite city and my favorite actor sounded like the ideal comedic experience.
But then the unthinkable happened: the Writer’s Strike and the cyber-response from Joss Wheadon, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I then discovered that Harris could both sing and dance. Suddenly I knew I was in love… with another gay man. He inspired me to begin my one and only unfinished musical: Why Are All The Good Ones Gay?
Consequently, when I found myself enclosed in tight quarters with him yesterday, I felt obliged to pull a stunt similar to my Justin Timberlake encounter, and acknowledge his existence. “Um, excuse me, Mr. Harris. I hate to intrude on your quiet time, but I just have to say how excited I am for you to host the Tony’s this year.”
He responded how sweet I was, but then reverted to a more serious tone: “Could you really tell it was me even with the sunglasses and baseball cap?”
And without a second of thought, I said, “You never forget your first.” Instantly I realized I had should have rephrased my sentiment. I should have said, Of course, I recognize you. I’ve been watching you on television since you had braces and I had diapers. But I didn’t.
He grinned and whispered, “You know I’m gay, right?” And just as the elevator doors opened, I said, “All the good ones are.” I think it’s time I finish my musical.