Have you ever seen a Venn diagram? Here’s an example:
John Venn first published these diagrams in 1880, although similar diagrams were used up to a century earlier. In the above example, the adjectives "happy," "short" and "male" all intersect in the middle, with overlaps also occurring between happy short females and sad short males and so on.
I’ve long thought of my life as a series of intersecting Venn diagrams, overlapping and looping back across time and friendships. For as long as I’ve been socialized I’ve been a joiner, but once I discovered pop culture I both narrowed and widened my spheres of comradery. David Cassidy fandom was probably first; although he was a major media star in the early ’70s, it was the age before personal computers, when paper ruled in the form of fan magazines and newsletters and penpals. At one point I had about 150 penpals (it was okay, stamps were only about 6¢ each in those days), about half of whom were Cassidy fans. We considered ourselves part of a secret cult, sharing a special bond that nobody else could understand.
Because connections in those days were much slower and lower-key than today (and entertainment choices considerably fewer), they were sustained longer. Where today someone could be branded a pariah within the space of a few hours for committing a faux pas an in online fan group, it took months for me to be kicked out of David Cassidy fan clubs for daring to suggest we were all gaga over a fictional media creation and that was still okay. Or maybe these leisure activities just seem more leisurely in nostalgic retrospect. Perhaps everyone thinks the hobby or media crush they were into as kids is more intense than the same interests seem to them later in life.