We Are Hot Boyz™: Seven Memos

1. WELCOME MEMO

          Welcome to the new Hot Boyz™ touring season!  Each of you, including newest member Lance (a memo on Lance soon!), has read and given thumbs up to the terms of employment.  Here’s a condensed version (a lot less reading!) for you to post in a high-visibility spot on the Hot Boyz™ tour bus, maybe on the wall between PacMan and the full-length mirror.  Check it out:     

 

“Rules” for Members of Hot Boyz™

          Preface to “Rules:” The following “rules” are descriptive, not prescriptive, which means we don’t have the attitude of My Way Or The Highway Boyz.  But we know what works and, hey, these “rules” work.  Years of marketing tests and hours of ogling teens in megamalls have given us a formula that will virtually guarantee success for Hot Boyz™ (which may be hereafter referred to as “The Franchise,” “The Commodity,” or maybe, in cheeky moments, “The Cool Machine”).  

          Okay, let’s get started: 

RULE ONE: Be A Gentleman Hot Boy™

          Each of you has tested positive for HETEROsexuality.  Congratulations!  Life as a Hot Boy™ will make you famous.  With fame comes contact with teenage girls.  Contact with teenage girls leads to relationships that might seem natural enough.  Still, we would like to discourage you from these relationships.  It will be better for Hot Boyz™, and if it’s better for Hot Boyz™ it’s better for you.  

          In the end though, we don’t want to be toolios (read “parental”), so let us just say this: your famousness will complicate things, in part because you will be a media magnet.  Interviewers will try to get you to dish details from your private life.  Listen up: If and when the Have You Two Done It question is asked, you are required to answer in the following manner: “We love each other very much but we are going to wait until we’re married to perform the nasty.”  Memorize this statement and practice grilling each other with versions of the question and the Hot Boyz™ sanctioned answer.  In regard to the nasty, in no case is a Hot Boy™ to engage in it, although great pains should be taken by each Hot Boy™ to make the fan base wonder what you would be like to cuddle with afterward.  

 

RULE TWO: Facial-Hair-A-No-Go

          Facial hair is generally prohibited, and not because it’s creepy.  Sometimes it’s 

not.  We’ll be the judge.  However, facial hair suggests a chummy familiarity with puberty, which is not what Hot Boyz™ is about.  Hot Boyz™ is about chill, rockin’ music that doesn’t mean any harm.  Puberty, on the other hand, has caused a lot of harm (e.g., unwanted pregnancies, acne).  

          Now, remember the thing about “We’ll be the judge”?  If you wish to modify your look by sporting facial hair, you must nominate yourself at Who’s Ready For A Makeover? decision meetings, which occur one week prior to the album photo shoot.  In rare cases where we do decide to allow facial hair, no two members of Hot Boyz™ will ever sport facial hair at the same time.  That is creepy.  Hot Boyz™ is not Lynrd Skynrd™.

          In any event, even if we choose you as Who’s Ready For A Makeover? and so permit the introduction of facial hair to your face, you will not actually grow facial hair.  Instead, you will be permitted to present the appearance of high-maintenance facial hair, for which you will need to see Debby in makeup (she used to work for Prince).  She will hook you up.  

 

RULE THREE, PART A: Act Your Hot Boyz™ Age  

          Hot Boyz™ say things like, “Are you gonna hit the shaved ice stand tonight?  It should be killer.”  In short, Keep It Light (KIL), unless we’ve told you to Go Introspective (GI).  And in the case of GI, Hot Boyz™ should wonder aloud who invented hate.  But don’t be a downer: within five minutes of a GI statement, follow with a KIL statement: “Y’all Want This Party Started, Right?”  Also, the word “like” is a Hot Boy’z best friend, as in “I, like, really like that reality TV show.  Like a lot.”  By contrast, Hot Boyz™ never mention interest rates, racial profiling, or say things like, “A party?  But they’re calling for a 40% chance of precipitation.”  Yuck, Hot Boyz™!    

 

RULE THREE, PART B: Down With Hot Boyz™ Interests 

          Hot Boyz™ show no detectable interest in activities that suggest maturity or adulthood.  Instead, Hot Boyz™ profess a love for text messaging, video games (non-violent ones only), hanging out, and running across the front yard in the middle of a downpour yelling, “Life is crazy and so am I!”  Also, in moments of vulnerability, Hot Boyz™ admit to having never had the heart to throw out their old collection of stuffed animals.  

          The key here: connect to the fan base, never giving them the opportunity to wonder, “Isn’t he a bit too old for me?”  You are, or will be if your career as a Hot Boy™ rocks, but that’s beside the point.  Not only your fans, but your fans’ parents should never see you as the sort of teenager who has “older ideas,” if you get our meaning.  If not, then here: “Older ideas” are the sort that get their daughters in trouble on dates (again, as in “unwanted pregnancies”).  As a Hot Boy™, you are incapable of that sort.   

          Okay, that’s it for now.  Keep your eyes peeled for additional memos.  Peace out!

 

2.  WELCOME LANCE MEMO

          Let’s welcome Lance, the newest Hot Boy™ to join us!  Lance replaces Chris, who let us just say, did not behave as a Hot Boy™ should and, in other words, never really was Hot Boy™ material.  (Seriously, was it only us, or did something just not add up with him?).  Anyway, although Chris had been Caucasian-in-Dreadlocks™ Hot Boy™ and Lance is his replacement, we made a command decision that instead of simply making Lance the Caucasian-in-Dreadlocks™ Hot Boy™, we would take this opportunity to introduce a new Hot Boy™ type, one we’ve been dying to show.   

          Lance, then, is (drumroll please) Smoldering Garage Mechanic™ Hot Boy™, which basically means he’s really hot and good with his hands.  You just know that if an amplifier blew on stage, Lance could rip it apart in no time and get it working again.  Same for the tour bus.  Another thing: smoldering means he doesn’t say much, which means, for you other Hot Boyz™, press conferences are “not really his thing” and you’ll have to take up the slack.  Beyond this, we’re not going to oversteer this new type.  As we go, we’ll work the ins and outs of what else Smoldering Garage Mechanic™ Hot Boy™ means.  Stay posted.  In the meantime, let’s give a Hot Boyz™ welcome to Lance!  

 

3.  JUST TO GET SOME THINGS STRAIGHT MEMO, Or More Like Here’s A Clarification Of Who We Are: Authorial Intention, Or Explaining Song Lyrics 

          Since last week’s posting of the basic “rules” of Hot Boyz™ behavior, we are happy to report that the “rules” have already begun to produce this season’s seeds of success for Hot Boyz™!  We don’t want to go into too much detail yet, but we'll give you a hint: stay out of the sun in order to have a video-friendly complexion (!).  

          Despite this note of success (pun intended), in order to maintain forward progress for The Franchise, we feel it necessary to clarify some points of what Hot Boyz™ is all about.  Being a member of Hot Boyz™ means you are a Voice in Society that says, “We know the world is full of pain and ugliness, but we’re not here to make you feel uncomfortable about it, let alone responsible for it.  Even for our occasional songs about hot social issues we lay down rock-steady beats, and you can satisfy your activist-urge by tapping your foot to the rhythm.  And in case you’re wondering, we know you don’t have time to protest wars in Iraqistan or whatever it is.  Neither do we.”  We say “Support the President,” which is to say Hot Boyz™ are Non-Political in all they do and say, and how they move on stage and in (future) videos.  

          That’s why, in the spirit of true Hot Boyz™ spirit, we write and produce songs like, “Choose Your Path (baby).”  Now, if one of you wants to criticize, in the privacy of the Hot Boyz™ dressing room, the artistic value of any Hot Boyz™ song—let’s take this one for example—you need to know that “Choose Your Path (baby)” is not a “bullshit, nonsense, inane” song, as somebody put it.  Think about the lines, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it!” which is anything but nonsense or inane, let alone bullshit.   It’s about making decisions, it’s a nod to an American poet for godsakes, and it means if you look deep enough you’ll see the hidden meaning.  

 

4.  UNPRECEDENTED ACTION MEMO: An Additional “Rule,” As Made Necessary By A Certain Situation That Has Come To Our Attention 

          The Franchise’s regard for artistic expression by members of The Franchise extends to but is limited by members’ artistic expressions of sanctioned, scripted, and rehearsed expressions.  We write the songs.  We know what they mean.  Any unintended interpretation is simply wrong.  To give an example of what we’re talking about here: If in concert the song being sung has the lines: “I’ve been crying so much/like buckets of rainwater/that sit until algae forms/to make greenish water,” take it from us, mister, crying is an appropriate accompaniment to the singing.  More to the point, we do not recognize and have no patience for expressions of ironic intent by members of Hot Boyz™.  You Know Who You Are, and the three-piece algae suit was not funny.  And guess what?  Wardrobe is sending you the bill.

 

5.  ADDENDUM TO THE RULES FOR HOT BOYZ™ MEMO: That Thingy In The Preface 

          Preface: In the original preface to the original rules, there was that thing about how we didn’t want to go my way or the highway.  Bump that shit.  Due to some, albeit age-appropriate, authority-testing/baby bird spreading his wings and trying to fly/too-big-for-britches behavior/etc., for the sake of Hot Boyz™ pecuniary interests and solvency, we have to hereby lay down the law.  

          NEW RULE: Appropriate Live-Stage Behavior

          Members of Hot Boyz™, when in live concert, are always encouraged to kneel when singing ballads, to lean close enough to fans to allow for the grasping and tearing of clothes (if wearing tear-proof Hot Boyz™ leather pants), and to accept bouquets of roses, friendship bracelets, Beanie Babies™, etc. from fans.  Any banter with the audience should be limited to audience flattery, with statements like, “We’re so glad to be back in Current City,” or “Current City, You Rawk!”  

          Hot Boyz™ are never permitted to ad lib.  Here’s what we don’t like.  The song is, “Reach For Your Goal, Squeeze It, Seize It” right?  And someone decides to introduce it with a story about a serial killer who did hand-strengthening exercises in order to better strangle his victims.  What can we say?  We didn’t think we had to make a rule against this one.  I’m not going to name names, but your initials are Lance.  Do it again and you might find yourself with worse problems than a headset microphone that has somehow stopped working.        

 

6.  NEW RULE FOR PRESS CONFERENCES MEMO: Never Thought We’d Have To Make A Rule Against This One, Either

          We have dress rehearsals for Hot Boyz™ Going On Tour and Hot Boyz™ Have A New Album press conferences so that we can prepare you for the sort of questions members of the music press may ask.  If you remember our asking you in rehearsals to describe your lifelong dream, an appropriate response, if you remember, is Fusion.  As in, “I have always wanted to fuse together my love of Rap and Pop.”  The appropriate response is not, “I don’t know about lifelong, but I keep having this dream starring Gwen Stefani and a lot of popsicles.”  

 

7.  RECONNAISANCE MEMO: Are You Still With Me, Hot Boyz™?

          We could beat ourselves up about this one from now till kingdom come, but what

good would it do?  We could second-guess ourselves.  Now that we think about it, we can 

see that while Caucasian-in-Dreadlocks would tend to mellow out Hot Boyz™, as it

turns out, Garage Mechanic Hot Boyz™ would more likely smolder until pent-up teen

angst turns a freestyle rap into a maniacal rant.  We only wish he hadn’t decided to say 

such hurtful things about Sexy Athlete™ Hot Boy™ and David Lee Roth™ Hot Boy™.  

Now, Who’s Ready For A Makeover?  

Michael Stigman grew up in Minnesota, has lived in both Virginia and Kansas, and now calls Missouri home, where he lives with his wife and children. He teaches creative writing and literature at a small college across the river in Kansas. He has published stories in Beloit Fiction Journal, Sycamore Review, South Dakota Review, Zone 3, and Suicidally Beautiful: A Collection of Sports Stories (Main Street Rag Press), among others.

©2018 HighShelfPress.