Saturday, April 18, 2009
YES, I WAS ALLOWED TO LOOK AT HER
So, I took myself off to the East Bay suburbs last night, to a Borders in Pleasant Hill, CA, to attend a book signing by none other than Kate Gosselin herself of her new book, Eight Little Faces. I managed to get slightly lost along the way, and so arrived later than I’d planned – around 6:30 p.m. for a signing that was scheduled to begin at 7:00. As I drove up with my sister, we saw that there was a line stretched down the boulevard outside the store. That made me a little nervous, and I wondered exactly how long I’d have to wait in line or if I’d even get a chance to get my book signed.
The set up was actually quite efficient, and the line lead outside, I think, mostly because the Borders folks probably didn’t want it to snake all through the store. We bought a book and got a wristband, and settled down in line to wait. I did a quick headcount as I passed the line to go to the end, and would estimate there were about 400 people ahead of us (and by my count, another 100 behind us by the time we left). There were a lot of families, women with babies and teenaged girls in giggling gaggles, but overall I would say that the crowd ran the gamut and was diverse both ethnically and age-wise (not so much gender-wise, though it wasn’t entirely female by any means). My sister ended up running into two co-workers, both 20-something single women. I neither heard nor saw any evidence that anyone there was aware of the "controversy" surrounding the show.
Kate started signing a couple of minutes before 7 (my sister reconnoitered and reported back), and the line moved briskly. By 7:30, we were in front of the plate glass windows opposite which Kate was signing, albeit behind several shelves of books and a whole bunch of looky-loos (some people claimed they could see her, but I don’t see how; I definitely couldn’t). I have to say, there was a palpable air of excitement – more than I’d expect for a cable-tv “star”, even one that I know generates as much interest as Kate.
There were no rules for the signing other than get in line, have a book or DVD to be signed, and have a wristband. Borders employees came by and arranged the books for quick and efficient signing right before we got to the front of the line.
Probably by around 7:45, we were in sight of Kate herself. She looked…like Kate. It’s a little weird to see/hear a celebrity in person. There’s a bit of cognitive dissonance, I find, when you encounter in the flesh someone you're used to seeing on TV. But she looked good; I wouldn’t say she was “tiny” as has been reported, nor orange. Though she’s definitely quite tan, maybe a bit unnaturally so, her skin looked good - smooth and youthful. She was wearing a black dress (or possibly shirt and skirt set; I couldn’t quite tell). Her hair looked like her hair usually does. When we got up to the front, she signed and then handed the books back, saying, “Nice to meet you”. She was pretty much how I expected – definitely not cold, as I’ve heard some others complain (people who I suspect were inclined to dislike her already). But not super-warm, either. W hich is fine; I don’t think that’s her personality (it’s not mine, either), andI think it would come off phony if she tried to act that way. She was pleasant.
As we were leaving, we were allowed to stop briefly and take a photo – we got a shot of the woman in line behind us, who’d brought her young daughter. Kate perked up at the little girl, smiling and speaking directly to her. It was nice to see. I think she genuinely really loves kids and responds to them.
Thus ends my not very adventurous adventures. I’d love to report something scandalous, like a group of haters rushed Kate and smeared her with cupcake frosting, or she necked with her bodyguard between signings (I didn’t even notice the bodyguard, to be honest; my sister reported that he was “short”). But nothing all that exciting happened. And contrary to previous “reports”, I was allowed to look Kate in the eye, and she did not appear to view this as a sign of aggression. Proving, I guess, for once and for all that she is not a Rottweiller.