In my gay opinion, Shannen Doherty is an amazing actress and a real class act. I’ve been a fan since the mid-80’s when I saw her movie Girls Just Want To Have Fun and followed her career through such classics as Heathers and Mallrats. However what solidified my fandom was her TV roles as Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210 and Prue Halliwell on Charmed. Lately she’s been in the news due to her battle with breast cancer. I respect her for chronicling her struggle in such a brutally honest way, from having to shave her head to trips for chemo, in order to draw attention to the cause. I believe if anyone can beat cancer, it’s Shannen, and in her honor I’d like to share how I was lucky enough to meet her.
I heard Shannen was doing a book signing at a Borders book store in New York City back on November 2, 2010. I took the day off from work and hopped the train into the city. I’d been to book signings before so I knew to get there early because sometimes the printed rules are even longer than the lines to get in. Best case scenario, you get a personalized book and a posed photo. Worst case, a signed book and a blurry photo you take from 30 feet away. A few hours before the signing I got into the line that was already a dozen deep and started reading her book Badass while waiting for the signing to begin.
Shannen came out looking amazing in a simple deep purple top and black leggings. She did her obligatory poses for the press before stepping behind a desk that was set up on a platform for the signing. It was announced that Shannen would personalize books as well as pose for photos. I tried to be cool, but my inner fan girl was losing it. I watched as each fan ahead of me was ushered to the platform to get their books signed and photo taken. Shannen didn’t follow usual protocol by simply smiling behind the desk, instead she stepped down from the stage and put her arm around the fans to pose. I had a problem keeping the butterflies in my stomach in check as the line kept moving closer…and closer…and closer. Shannen finished with the girl in front of me but before I could approach the platform a guy in a suit crossed the stage, pointed his finger at me and said, “Wait!” Inside I was thinking “Wait? What am I a dog? I’ve seen this before. I can kiss the pic goodbye. The lines getting too long so they’re going to herd everybody though like cattle.”
He tells Shannen she can no longer do photos. She tells him everybody has been waiting in line a long time and she isn’t going to disappoint them. They have a stand off, he sees she’s not backing down, and walks away. Shannen turns to me with her thousand watt smile, waves me over and asks my name. I tell her and I thank her for doing a signing. She asks me something nobody asked before or since, “What would you like me to write in your book?” I don’t know what to say, so I tell her she’s Shannen Doherty and can write anything she wants. She pauses to think. In that moment my inner fan girl takes over and I begin to ramble and gush about her work. I became one of those fans I typically roll my eye at. She finishes and saves me further embarrassment by handing me my book. I risk asking for a photo knowing what The Suit said. She graciously allows it but doesn’t get up, that’s her compromise. So I turn around with my back to the desk for the standard photo. I feel a hand on my shoulder, figuring security was called, and then I feel a cheek press against mine. Shannen is leaning over the desk to pose for our picture. She smiles, I beam, my inner fan girl screams “I’m never washing my face again,” the camera flashes, and I wander off aimlessly away clutching to my chest my newest most treasured possession.
I don’t pretend to know who Shannen Doherty is based on those couple of minutes, however, I do judge people based on how they treat me. For that reason, she goes down in my book as a Badass who appreciates her fans and will go out of her way to bring a smile to someone’s face…and FYI, mine has been washed since, much to the chagrin of my inner fan girl.