What to Wear to a Justin Timberlake Concert
by Logan Saaaachon
I decide to wear the dress I wear to weddings. It is blue and I guess you could call it structural if you were being generous but you could also call it a sack. It covers my stomach in a way that makes me forget about my stomach. I look in the mirror and I’m checking myself out from all angles and then wondering why I’m doing this, I never do this, and then I realize, oh wow Logan, you think you’re going to meet Justin Timberlake and you want to look hot, you sad sorry sack in a sack dress.
I put on sneakers to ruin the outfit and I go to work.
I gchat Brendan O’Connor, who I am attending the concert with.
LS: ARE YOU EXCITED
BOC: I AM
LS: me too me too
LS: do you think we’ll get to meet him
LS: probably not right
BOC: he might come say hello
BOC: to the fancy people
LS: so not us
LS: maybe we’ll see him tho
I do some work and then I watch some Justin Timberlake videos, to get in the mood. He’s a very good dancer. Quick on his feet and natural. I’m jealous. Also he’s very attractive, still. I look on Twitter to see if he has tweeted anything about tonight’s concert and he hasn’t, but a girl has typed something like, “I need to look cute enough for the Justin Timberlake concert in order to steal him away from Jessica Biel.” He’s never going to leave her for you if you tweet that!
BOC: we’re gonna meet JT
BOC: i can feel it
LS: do you look nice i don’t look nice
LS: well im wearing a dress, but sneakers
LS: maybe i should buy some shoes and look nicer
BOC: im sure you look great! I am going to wear black jeans and a clean tshirt
BOC: i mean it’s a concert, right?
LS: right right ok im not going to buy new shoes what a dumb idea ok
BOC: don’t do that you do not need to do that unless unless you think we might meet JT
When it’s time to leave work there’s about an hour before I have to meet Brendan and the walk is crosstown and during the walk I decide I’m going to either buy new shoes or a new outfit or both. I try on some dresses including one with a v-neck lace panel in the front that is not working for me at all but I can’t stop staring at myself in the mirror because, in the dress, I look like I’m trying so hard to be young and sexy that it ages me by a decade. I look like an old lady, in the dress. It’s very sad for me to think of myself this way. While I am thinking about myself as an old lady, I also think, why am I trying to be pretty for this concert? Am I also secretly wanting to look pretty enough that Justin Timberlake would leave Jessica Biel for me? Yes. :/
I decide to stay with my dress and buy new shoes instead.
In the shoe section there are lots of cool shoes but as I’m eying them and considering them I also start to consider how crazy it is to buy new shoes in case I meet a celebrity, possibly. That is a sad state of affairs. I leave the shoe store and walk to the venue. A block away, Brendan texts, “I think we are underdressed.”
I arrive at the venue and see Brendan, who looks hot in a really nice grey t-shirt. All class. Maybe Justin Timberlake will leave Jessica Biel for Brendan. There is a red carpet set up and about a billion people in suits and little cocktail dresses and compared to them we are underdressed but there are also some people dressed normally but they may just be milling about. We can’t go in until 7:30 so we stand there awhile and chat and catch up (“How is work?” “Fine. “And you? “Fine.”) and then we go in, past a few checkpoints until we go up to a woman at the MEDIA table and give our names. Brendan goes first and the lady finds his name and then scans over to where it says “1” and she stops, because she sees both of us and then tries to say, “I’m sorry but there is only 1 here” and I feel bad for her, because she thinks she is ruining our night, but then I say, “Oh no, I’m on the list too” and her relief is palpable. When I lived in LA I used to sneak into events sometimes with my friend Greg, he would give his boss’s name and say, well we should be on the list, blah blah blah, and it’s very clear to me now that no one believed him ever for one second and that any time anyone let us in they were being very kind.
Tickets, wristbands, the VIP area is upstairs. It’s a large balcony, three tiered, cocktail tables scattered throughout with square vases with orchid blooms and LED lights. There are two bars and dozens of wandering cater waters with trays of wine in little plastic cups and little appetizers. Brendan takes out his iPhone and starts making a list of everything he eats, which strikes me as a very good idea, and then I wish that I had been counting all the staff we encountered because I think the number would be very high.
I drink several little glasses of wine even though I’m trying not to drink that much wine on work nights and even though Brendan is drinking 0 wines, but they are free and when in the VIP section, drink free VIP wine. Brendan leaves for a bit to go exploring, and it occurs to me I should interview some people about what they are doing here, what makes them VIP, what their favorite Justin Timberlake songs are, etc. But I’m out of the habit of interviewing people and it was always very hard for me, anyway; I always feel like an imposition. Just thinking of interviewing people makes me stressed out and so I drink more wine and then remember, I don’t have to interview anyone, not even Justin Timberlake. I do ask one security guy if he is looking forward to the concert, what a cool job you have to get to see so many concerts, and he says, “Sure.”
Brendan texts me that Laverne Cox has arrived, there is a smaller little red carpet in the VIP area and she is getting her photograph taken. I walk up and watch her. She is so elegant. She leaves the photo area and is talking and walking and then stops to talk to someone just inches from where I am. She is so close so that I can touch her, so without thinking I reach out and touch her arm, and as I do I say, “Congratulations on your Emmy nomination,” because she has just been this day nominated for an Emmy. But she doesn’t hear me or even notice I’m touching her arm like a creeper (thank God) and then she leaves and walks over to the even more VIP balcony. I am deeply ashamed that I touched her arm so I tell Brendan, hoping it will make me feel better. It does a little bit. Later during the concert, I will see her dancing and looking like she’s having a great time. Laverne Cox!
Outfits in the VIP section: “Structural” dress, sneakers (me); black jeans, t-shirt (Brendan); long jersey maxi dress with statement necklace (woman in front of us); short silver sequined dress (other woman in front of us); lots of suits and ties; turquoise bandage dress (Laverne Cox)
There is a DJ on stage playing top 40 music to get the crowd in the mood. Every now and then he says “Y’all ready for Justin Timberlake?!” and everyone screams, and everyone in the VIP section looks up to see if Justin Timberlake is on stage, but he isn’t, so we all go back to our conversations or eavesdropping or whatever we are doing. One weird thing the DJ does is: He keeps playing Justin Timberlake songs, to warm the crowd up for a Justin Timberlake concert. I don’t go to a ton of concerts so maybe this is just how things work, but it seems odd to me. I wonder if Justin Timberlake is in the back like, why is he playing my music before my show, and then I remember that Justin Timberlake isn’t there yet, right? Like, he’ll show up right before he goes on. I’ve seen some TV specials, so I feel pretty confident about this.
When he does come on, it’s great. No complaints. I think when you have a deep, consuming crush on someone as an adolescent that some part of that stays with you forever and comes out again when you go to an exclusive concert sponsored by a credit card company when you are 30 years old. He danced around. He bantered with the crowd. He cussed more than was strictly necessary but I can forgive him that. He made a joke about Mastercard Priceless Points that seemed off the cuff, but if it wasn’t, then I think Justin Timberlake may be a better actor than we have given him credit for. My favorite part was when he covered Ray Lamontagne’s “Jolene” and everyone talked the whole time (rude), but not me. I watched and listened had a little moment. It was nice. By the way, here is what Justin Timberlake wore to the Justin Timberlake concert: black jeans, a black short-sleeve button-up with a feather or tribal pattern of some sort around the collar, white sneakers, black fedora. Normally I would say, ditch the hat, but about half way through he used it in a very serviceable Michael Jackson homage, so it was ultimately okay.