“Your Guide to Being a Middle-Aged BTS Fan” is part of my neverending love letter to K-pop boyband BTS. You can catch my ongoing series about BTS here or just sign up for my newsletter. This post also uses affiliate links.
Have you ever been told, “You’re too old to like BTS“? Or asked yourself, “Am I too old to like BTS?” Do you wonder if you’re the only middle-aged BTS fan on Earth who loves BTS? Are your friends and family completely baffled at how you, a non-teenaged person, have fallen into the rabbit-hole that is the global K-pop phenomenon called BTS? Do you now spend every possible waking moment dedicated to consuming any and all of the BTS content?
Never fear. You are not alone.
I am a middle-aged BTS fan. Rise, Noona ARMY. RISE!
Because I’m a helpful sort and because I love any excuse to talk about BTS, I have created a handy manual addressing some of your totally legitimate questions about being an older BTS fan.
Your Guide to Being a Middle-Aged BTS Fan
Before I continue, I’d like to make one thing loud and clear: There are many ways to stan BTS. Short of being a sasaeng (aka: stalker), harming yourself and/or others, there really is no right or wrong way to be a BTS fan or enjoy their music, shows, and celebrity.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
1) Am I too old to like bts?
In the words of our beautiful Kim Taehyung: Not, not, no.
I’m of the firm belief that you love what you love at whatever age you want to love it. However, if you’re the type who is comforted by the knowledge that people who are similar to you also like the things you like, you’ll note that according to a translated Korean article from June 2018, the majority of Korean fans for BTS are in their 30s and 40s.
As of February 2019, among concert ticket buyers of Vivid Seats, women aged 35-44 comprised 10% of the site traffic in the U.S. Apparently, women over 45 don’t count, but one day!
Also, who said you couldn’t like BTS at your age? Who the fuck do they think they are, telling you what or who you are allowed to like or not like? As one of my ARMY friends says, they can deep throat a durian.
2) I’m Lonely. Where do I find older BTS Army friends?
Where’s the fun in loving something if you can’t share the joy? If you’re looking for online (or in real life) older BTS ARMY friends, I recommend checking out Twitter, Facebook, and reddit. Instagram veers younger, but that doesn’t mean older fans don’t exist. Follow hashtags like #noonaarmy and search Facebook groups. Join communities of your favorite BTS reactors and get to know other frequent commenters. You can also scroll through YouTube videos and check out random comments and make friends that way, but that’s not my preferred method.
Remember that like all things, building friendships and community take time. For myself, I found the best results by lurking and then full on participating in r/bangtan and some Facebook BTS fan groups. I have found cherished friends via reddit, Facebook, and YouTube. You can even (gasp) talk about BTS on your own social media. I am very proud that when my IRL friends see anything BTS related, their first instinct is to take a picture and share with me. At least somewhere in the world, my name is synonymous with BTS.
Trust me, people will find you.
Have you heard terrible things about reddit? Well, I can’t vouch for the rest of reddit, but r/bangtan is definitely a bastion of loveliness and skews older. Check out the 2018 Reddit BTS Census as well as the full report. If you’re an eagle eye, you can spot my three humble contributions!
And when in doubt, I EXIST.
I, in all my married with four children, humdrum suburban stay-at-home-mom glory, exist.
So take heart, and stop caring what other people think.
Yes, yes. That’s totally easier said than done. But honestly, who cares what other people think – even if they’re people who love and care about us. Of course, that is frustrating, annoying, and often hurtful. But the beauty of being an older fan is that we have lived long enough to know that there is room for all kinds of loves, hobbies, and interests in the world.
Quite frankly, unless you’re actively causing harm to people, it’s none of people’s business who or what you love – and why. You owe zero explanations.
To quote our fearless leader, President Kim Namjoon, “Do you.” In fact, let us take this time to listen in full.
RM, you make excellent points.
3) Am I unhealthily obsessed with BTS?
I mean, maybe?
Look, unless your obsession negatively interferes with your ability to function in your family, friendships, and work, you are most likely fine. People are obsessed with Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel, and even sports. (Weird.) I don’t see BTS any differently.
After all, what people claim as a fixation is really passion. It’s a wonderful way to practice your amazing research abilities, laser-like focus, and capacity for absorbing new information. Also, it is the only possible response to finding the seven true loves of our lives at this point in their journey.
Your preoccupation will seem unhealthy to some, but that is only because you are trying to squeeze 6-7 years worth of content into however long you’ve been trying. I’m two years in and nowhere close to being caught up. But you know what? WE DON’T RAISE QUITTERS IN THIS HOUSE. (Actually, that’s not true at all. Quitting is a useful skill to learn.)
If you love BTS, of course you want to learn everything possible about them and watch everything they have ever been in and read every interview they have given. Only the uninitiated and those lacking time control powers scoff. You are attempting MAGIC. Bending the space time continuum takes effort. (Yes, yes. That is a reference to the Bangtan Universe.)
4) Do I have to be Asian in order to like BTS?
In fact, you don’t have to be any race, gender, identity, or anyone except yourself. Isn’t that one of BTS’s main messages? Love yourself – and that includes owning who you are in whatever capacity you can.
5) Is it wrong for me to think about BTS in a sexual manner?
6) That was not helpful. please take my question seriously.
We’re a sex positive household so as the ethereal Kim Taehyung said, Not, not, no.
Each BTS member is of legal consenting age in the U.S. – and more importantly – Korea (because that is where they live). You are not being a pedophile or preying upon children; they are grown adult men.
You can think whatever you want in whatever manner fits your life. However, they are actual humans in real life, so just because you can think whatever you want, BTS members are not beholden to you.
The individual persons of Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jeon Jungkook do not owe you a cottam thing – sexual or otherwise.
Also, I defy you (unless you’re asexual) to respond in a way that is non-sexual. I DEFY YOU.
7) Speaking of sexy times, is there bts fan fiction?
Is there? IS THERE???
Oh, friend. There is. And there is a lot. And a lot of the sexy time fanfics are clearly written by children who have never had actual sex in any shape or form.
I never thought I would read real person fanfics, but famous last words, et al. One fine smutty day, I will compile a list of all the ones I adore. But until then, I will link a few of my favorites. You can then, do your own snooping and read everything by a particular author you like and then find out who they like, etc. and keep going.
For what it’s worth, I could not make it through more than a few pages of the following books/series: Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, or Outlander. Whatever that says about my reading proclivities (clearly that I have TASTE, duh), there you are.
Also, I am ship-agnostic. I will read slash (m/m, f/f), any BTS member paired with any other member(s) or Y/N (your name) or OC (original characters), and even tentai (you’re welcome). As long as it is well written and consensual, I’m down.
Here are a few of my favorites (and it goes without saying but everything is explicit and NSFW and yeet yourself out if you’re underage, etc.):
- Roommates With Benefits – RM x Reader; smut/angst/fluff
- Love Language – Yoongi x Reader; smut/angst/fluff
- The Gentleman’s Club – Hoseok x Reader (really lots of combinations); smut/BDSM
- Truth So Loud You Can’t Ignore It – V/Jungkook; angst/smut
- Starving (& Other Artistic Mediums) – RM/Yoongi; angst/smut
- Imprints (For the Boys in the Back) – RM/Seokjin; angst/smut
- Reprise – V/Jimin; angst
- The Holi-Date – V x Reader; smut
Until I get to the point where I have the wherewithal and tenacity to catalog all my personal favorites, these will have to do. You’re welcome.
8) Where can I buy all the things?
Ah, yes. Back to the wholesome.
See? This is where being older and presumably more financially secure can be a boon! But not necessarily to your bank account or 401k or your children’s 529 plans *chuckles nervously*. (We kid, we kid. We advocate fiscal responsibility here at Mandarin Mama.)
To buy their music and CDs and DVDs, you can buy from the usual places in the U.S., but you can also buy from Weply, BTS’s official merchandise shop. You can also join group buys, pre-orders, and all sorts of fancy groups and things. I tend to go with what is easiest: iTunes or Amazon. What can I say? I’m lazy.
There are many official places to buy all the BTS and BT21 (their cartoon avatars) merch. For example, the LINE store, VT cosmetics stores, BTS pop-up stores, Weply, and BTS’s official merchandise stores. Honestly, it’s really difficult for me to keep track of it all – mostly because I don’t buy things except content.
Okay, I’m a liar and a cheat but I really don’t buy TOO much stuff. I’m just gonna stop now.
Oh, before I forget. You can also buy fanmade and un-official merch. One day, I’ll make a semi-helpful gift guide.
But until then, I am going to talk about my friend, Pew Pew Lasercraft and her BTS-related merch. If you use my code: MANDARINMAMA, you get free shipping in the US. And yes, these iconic pics are lasered onto keychains because REASONS.
Alright, friends. I’m ending it here at lucky number eight (hey, I’m Chinese so eight’s the luckiest number) because we are OT8 (BTS x ARMY) and you can’t make me change my mind. Despite my tongue-in-cheek handbook on how to stan BTS as a person over a certain age, there really is no right or wrong way to be a BTS fan. The only pre-requisite is loving BTS. End of story.
Now go and love BTS however you wish. You and they are worth it.
If you like this and want to read more about my BTS Obsession, then you’ll love these posts: