I Am Mariah Yeater: My Years as a Tween Concert Groupie

I was the Pamela Des Barres of "High School Musical: Live."

Nov 9, 2011 at 4:03pm | Leave a comment

[This came entirely from the warped mind of Julieanne Smolinski and is basically indescribable. I just let her roll. ]

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I planned to keep quiet about the recent allegations against Justin Bieber.

I figured it was best to let the past be the past, and to let handsome teen stars fight their own paternity battles. But I can't tell you how much it saddened me to see my old friend Mariah Yeater bravely share her story with "The Insider," only to get hatchet-jobbed like Anne Heche telling Barbara Walters she was Jesus.

I find it hypocritical that we villify My Good Friend Mariah for the same behavior for which we nearly gave Kate Hudson an Ocscar. I feel it's time I stepped forward.

I've never told anybody this before, but for a time in my late teens and early twenties, I was a tween groupie too.

While we all wait for the results of her paternity test, I'd like to share my own story. It's a story of mid-sized-Midwestern civic centers and community playhouses. Of reflective surfaces, covered in Fun-Dip. Of capricious tween idols who would only use a semi-grown woman to open a package of string cheese before casting her out into the early evening. Of nights on the road, sleeping in vans, being gently shaken awake in my driveway by whoever's mom's turn it was to drive that night.

We were all living the suite life of Zack and Cody. Of course, it couldn't last.

I first met Mariah when she was following around "High School Musical: The Concert Experience." At the time, she was known by the nickname "Gogurt" (long story), and she was being "shared" by fake Zac Efron and the guy playing his dad, which in retrospect was sort of weird. The whole crew was staying at the Hyatt on the Sunset Strip, where I'd been shacked up for three days with the original London Cast of "Corey in the House: the Musical." We bonded over some high-grade psycllocibin and the fact that we had like the exact same story about making Nick Jonas fear vomit during a tour-bus game of "Are You Nervous." We traded nose studs and personal crib sheets of state statutory laws. In short, we were fast friends.

Mariah and I could tell you stuff from those days that would make your hair curl. Digipets hurled out of hotel windows. Scribbling on newly-cleaned walls with non-washable markers. The messed-up sex game the Sprouse twins liked to play called "The Hayley Mills" that we all fell for until someone let it slip that Cody has a birthmark on his collarbone. One time, back stage at a "Disney Stars on Ice" show, I walked in on Figment and the tow truck from "Cars 2" giving it to a Carraba's waitress. It was depraved, but it was also the greatest time of my life.

Eventually, Mariah and I lost touch. I peeled off in New York and spent 31 days in the Chelsea Hotel, on a secobarbital bender with Plex from "Yo Gabba Gabba." Mariah had to leave the tour to make one of those baking soda volcanos for the science fair.  Leave it Gogurt, that crazy ho, to try for one last big "get."

Even if none of you believe that Justin is the father of her baby, I do, because I had virtually the identical experience.

The scene: the stage door at "Go Diego Go!: Live." It's a madhouse of horny young veterinary techs and medical billers, jockeying for position, bolstering cleavage and hoping to catch someone's eye, anyone's eye, whenever the door opens are reveals a sliver of costumed performers swaggering just out of their reach, backstage. Suddenly, a burly body guard appeared and pointed at me. "You," he said. He waved me behind a gantlet of security to the dressing rooms, where Diego himself was waiting, next to the biggest hummus tray I had ever seen.

"Venga, quierida," he said.

Just like Bieber to Mariah, he suggested we go someplace private. Although this may have been because he shared the dressing room with Swiper from "Dora" and couple of dudes who played injured fruit bats.

In one of those Family Bathrooms, his whole demeanor changed. By which I mean he literally took his oversized Diego head off and set it on the changing table. This was  around the time when I realized that this was not the "Diego" that the crowd knew, all boyish smiles and spider monkey friends. No: behind closed doors, the cheeky Latino boy with a talking pet jaguar tranformed into a 19-year-old white kid who'd learned Spanish from high school and a summer job washing dishes at a Ruth's Chris. It was in this romance language that he told me he wanted to make love to me, and I am fairly certain he conjugated it correctly.

When he told me it was his first time, I said, "Really?" And he said, "Yes." And I said, "I thought you said you were like ninetee--" "Really," he said.

Normally I'm pretty careful about prophylaxis (I know a girl who has two strains of HPV that she ruefully refers to as "Drake" and "Josh"), but he convinced me not to use protection. It was over as soon as it started, more or less. I walked to the parking lot a changed woman. My father was right where I left him, asleep in our Honda Pilot, listening to the Laura Ingraham Show.

I don't know if the baby is Diego's or if I'm even pregnant (I just did a search of my Gmail to see the last time I emailed my boss about "really bad cramps" and I'm pretty sure I'm late). The only reason I retained a lawyer in the first place was to ask him if my maybe-child would have to be naturalized, as I am fairly certain that his father lives in some sort of fictionalized version of Guatemala. It was my attorney who suggested that my potential baby deserved a father, and that the American people need to know exactly who it is that's teaching their kids helpful Spanish phrases.

As for Mariah, I don't know. I just hope the truth comes out for both of us, and that if Diego saw a retainer with glitter inlays lying around he didn't just throw it away. If he wants to get to know his son, and/or has my retainer, he knows where to find me.