E-Mail "good form": how far can one go without being a stalker?

This one may be a little hard to explain.

(I THINK it belongs in GD; but maybe it’ll end up in Cafe Society.)

I’m this ordinary, healthy, non-famous guy. I don’t do scrapbooks or collect autographs or buy “maps to stars’ homes” or anything like that. I would never dream of bothering a public figure with telephone calls or letters. I value other people’s time. If I see somebody “famous” in a restaurant, I leave 'em alone.

But now and then I run across opportunities to get email messages to public figures–maybe not literally all the way to their bedroom computers, but at least to their handlers and gatekeepers.

What kind of public figures are we talking about? Not Bush or Dick. Not Arnold. Not even J.Lo. I mean some second-banana types on episodic television (just one of those, actually), a couple cabaret singers (ie, gay guys, and women who hang out with gay guys, who have one CD available in the “EZ listening” or “Showtunes” section and spend a lot of time either sleeping or not-eating), and a guy who does some regional theater musicals (a step up from community theater). Maybe an alternative-press comic strip drawer (not Matt Groenning).

I’ve already had some nice correspondence with some such people in the past. I even met one of them (inviting him to join me and my friends at a restaurant).

My problem is that I don’t know just what sort of “tone” to take in my e-contacts.

Yes, I could be perfectly polite and pristine, and limit myself to a few sentences a la “really enjoyed your performance” and “when is your next CD coming out.” Which gets me a pro forma response and a place on their “official” e-announcements list (I’m regularly told when a certain guy is next appearing in greater Manhattan, though I live in California).

Not what I want.

What I want is to exchange occasional “human” messages, my brain to his. Not harangues, not requests for donations, not vicious critiques–but something about the human experience of performing. Sorta like if you met someone out somewhere and chatted for a little while while waiting for your bagel to be toasted.

So I sent via somebody’s “contact” email, on his website, a message. And part of what I said, on impulse, was to compliment the guy’s bod. Oh, I touched on other things too. But right there in its own paragraph I made clear that I enjoyed the semi-nudity he shared with the audience. It wasn’t lost on me, in other words. Didn’t go over my head. Quite otherwise, in fact. My comments weren’t vulgar, but… I’d plead guilty to being suggestive (in an erudite, Cole-Porterish way).

Now it strikes me that I would never take that tone with a woman. I was raised to think it boorish. Yet when I see a gay male performer with a carefully sculpted body standing around in a towel–I guess I assumed it was as legitimate to compliment him for THAT as for his elocution.

But maybe I’m as off-base as a person can be. Maybe I’ve generated EXACTLY the sort of message that gets filtered out as “stalker in the making–at all costs DO NOT RESPOND (and do not approach the glass, Clarice).”

But I’m not weird. I’m a nice guy. The fact that I haven’t had a date in… how old ARE the hills, anyway?.. means nothing.

To finally get to the point, I’m asking my fellow dopers to think of themselves as the stars they really are, and tell me how to “keep it real” in sending an email–without being scary.

We love you, Conrad, oh yes we dooo-oooooo.

I wonder why this happens now and then; something gets posted in GD, gets looked at (by 90 people so far); and NOT ONE PERSON has anything to say.

It wasn’t intended to be idiotic, and wasn’t a joke. If it was, in fact, the former, and presented the irresistable impression of being the latter, I’d appreciate a little comment.

And I’m still a nice guy.

It didn’t come across as idiotic or a joke to me. It’s just a situation that my own experience doesn’t give much room to comment on. The nearest I come is in deciding how to relate to work clients I’ve not met; do you take the formal, ultra-professional, slightly ‘sterile’ approach, or add a human touch to your tone and the content of your message. I can only judge that on a case-by-case basis, and I can only speculate that in your position I would act similarly – determine my message based on my perception of the recipient’s attitude towards it.

Personally, I would shy away from physical comments, but from the sound of your post the nudity was a defining part of this person’s performance, in which case such a comment might be fair game. Being suggestive – well, I’m sure they’d heard much more explicit comments, but I don’t think I could do that unless I’d actually at least met the person.

Ah, yes, it’s hard when you’re initiating contact. Basically, write as if you were communicating to the sort of person you’d like to meet. Some will not appreciate it, and that just means, well, they’re not the sort of person you’d like to meet. :slight_smile: For replies, I usually mimic the other’s style, with slight hints toward informality in case they’re following the same principle.

Thanks, you two.

I suppose I shouldn’t assume that if someone fails to reply to me, it must mean I’ve “done something wrong.” Maybe they get a lotta mail, are too busy performing to go to the computer, never saw it due to an efficient gatekeeper–or just have no particular interest in starting a correspondence with someone who evidently “likes” them without having met them.

My actual OP may have no answer. So maybe it would be best to broaden the question thusly:

Under what circumstances, if any, do “performers” (ie, at the somewhat pedestrian level that I tried to describe) feel at all comfortable making the acquaintance of members of their “audience” who express appreciation and interest?

Maybe I should read more cheap paperback bios, but I honestly don’t know how actors, singers, cartoonists, etc, manage the trick of making friends, starting romances, and in general achieving the opposite of solitude.

Is that the deal, in fact–you get to be “public,” but you can’t ever thereafter be anything BUT public?

Do they only mate with each other?

(Again, we’re not talking major Hollywood/TV stars or Michael Crawford–just people who other people look at or listen to.)

Is this all really as pathetic as it’s starting to seem as I reread it?

Wait! Wait! There was a revival of Bye Bye, Birdie? Who played him?

On TV? A nobody. But the chick who played Kim was even worse.

And now back to today’s topic.