Like many geeks, I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and this was the fandom that enticed me to go to my very first Dragon Con in 2003. James Marsters was a guest that year. It was a very big deal.
Spike was not just the 'third red shirt from the left' in an obscure episode of Star Trek; he was one of the most popular characters on an extremely beloved and, at the time, current show.
While standing in line to get my autograph, I saw a convention employee handing out fliers for something called “a photo op.” Apparently, this was a professional studio photo taken with James himself! I would need to return the next day to have the photo taken, but another chance to see (and touch) James was not a bad thing. Plus, since I’d had little time to check out other panels and get other autographs, this would be my chance to catch up. I bought the ticket for my first ever celebrity photo op, knowing that the next morning I’d buy another one-day pass to the convention.
In hindsight, the one thing I appreciate the most about this photo is that he still had his bleached-blond hair. In later convention appearances, naturally he went back to his brunette roots. The other thing I notice in this photo is that this was in the olden days when people still wore wristwatches.
Why It’s Rude to Ask a Celebrity to Take His Shirt Off
The other memorable experience happened during James’s Saturday panel. As usual, fans lined up to ask their questions. I was new, so I didn’t have the courage to get in line. After several questions about Buffy, about James’ band, and about acting in general, one young woman asked James to take off his shirt. A hush fell at her request. Perhaps some of us realized that she was being inappropriate, but given his public comments about his discomfort with all the nudity on the show, any fans might’ve realized that he would never just take off his shirt, right?
Without another word, the young woman removed her bra to the roar of laughter from the audience. James laughed and hugged the now half-nude woman. “You rock!” he told her. After security escorted the woman out of the convention, the panel continued, albeit with a rowdier atmosphere. Okay, it was pretty entertaining. So I guess celebrities are just like us; when asked to take off their clothes in public they will almost always refuse.