I’ve been a huge fan of the band No Doubt since maybe 1993 or 1994. No Doubt was really popular in Southern California before they hit it big world-wide in 1995, and I remember being turned on to them by a friend’s older sibling. I’ve always especially loved the lead singer, Gwen Stefani, and when I was interning for a record company in college I missed meeting her and the rest of the band several times, to the point where it became a running joke with my co-workers. Hahaha except I wasn’t laughing, I was pissed! But, I eventually accepted that meeting Gwen and the guys was not in the cards.

My brother gets to interview a lot of really cool people for his job (he’s Senior Editor for New York Magazine, plus he does a lot of freelancing for magazines), and last month he sent me a text:

Kyle: I’m doing a profile on Gwen Stefani.
Me: My jealousy is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

I might have also been like, “When? Where? What time?” and he wisely didn’t respond. The day of his interview I sent him embarrassingly long texts waxing on and on about how great I think Gwen is on The Voice, plus what a talented songwriter and savvy businesswoman she is and really, it’s a miracle Kyle didn’t block my number. I JUST WANTED HIM TO BE PREPARED.

Two weeks later, Mike went to a special event for The Voice through his work, where he was literally like five feet away from Gwen:

Okay maybe like ten feet.

Mike came home all, “Look at this picture I got of Gwen for you!” but I was like, “This photo has activated Jealously Level: Hormonal Teenager inside of me. All rational parts of me have left the building.” I mean sure, Gwen was a flawless vision in Mike’s photo, but uggggh I wanted to be five ten feet away from her, too!

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, Mike, my mom, the kids, and I went to Disneyland so I could write up their holiday program for a few media outlets. It was a long (but really fun) day, and at the end of it we were standing outside the bathrooms located inside the fancy Grand Californian hotel while we figured out who needed to do what before we drove home. I was digging through my bag to get a diaper and wipes for James when Mike suddenly hit my shoulder.

“Gwen Stefani just walked into the bathroom.”

I grabbed James from Mike and said, “I gotta go,” and then I walked into the bathroom after her.

I had no plan other than I just wanted to see her with my own eyes. I didn’t even want to talk to her, because I remembered once reading an article about “strangest places celebs were approached by fans” and the bathroom was the number one place. I didn’t want to be that girl. But then I saw that Gwen was leaning against the changing table and well, I kind of needed to use it.

Me, apologetically (but not really): Is that the changing table?
Gwen: Oh, yeah, sorry!

One of Gwen’s kids was in the stall directly in front of the table, so she stood right there as I changed James’ diaper. Neither of us said anything but James stared at Gwen like, “Um, a little privacy, please!”

While I finished up with James, someone else came into the bathroom and started gushing over Gwen. Gwen was totally cool about it because she’s awesome like that. As I washed my hands, my mom and Annabel walked into the bathroom, completely oblivious. My mom noticed Gwen (who was wearing skinny jeans, sneaker booties, and an Adidas jacket that matched the black streak at the front of her hair) and her eyes got wide. That’s when I realized I had to say something to Gwen.

Me, trying to be cool: This is random, but my brother Kyle just interviewed you.
Gwen: Oh, yeah, Kyle! What a small world.
Me, waiting for her to realize the irony of what she’d just said:…Yes!
Gwen: Tell Kyle I said hi again, he’s super-sweet.
Me: I like to think so. (Then I died because that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever said)

I should also note that I could barely look at Gwen. It was like she was the sun and she hurt my eyes. I’m sure that didn’t add to the awkwardness at all.

When I walked out of the bathroom, Mike was standing there smirking at me. “Did you talk to her?” I told him about our exchange and he couldn’t stop laughing. Then my mom walked out of the bathroom laughing.

But whatever! Because after twenty years of fandom, I finally met Gwen Stefani and she was really nice to the weird chick in the bathroom who wouldn’t stop staring at her shoes. I love her.

PS I really, really showed a lot of restraint on the song title puns. I mean, Tragic Kingdom! Bathwater! Such a goldmine.