Aaron Carter in 2001
Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Chances are, you woke up this morning thinking it was just another Friday in December. You may have hit the snooze button on your alarm, slipped on some just barely work appropriate leggings, and treated yourself to a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte during lunch. But it’s not just another Friday—today is special.

Is he thirty (one), flirty, and thriving? One may say so. In honor of the OG prince of pop’s birthday, I wanted to honor all the women who used to write Aaron Carter fan mail, including myself. I know I’m not the only one who has fond memories of using a gel pen to hand write a letter to the man boy I hoped to spend the rest of my life with. (Thanks, Mom, for helping me to address it properly and use the right amount of postage.)

Did Aaron Carter ever read that fan mail? Did his assistant throw it in the trash along with the other 1,000 sparkly, Lisa Frank sticker-laden professions of love? Was one of those letters yours?

This one’s for all the girls who begged their parents to buy them floor seats to AC concerts in hopes he’d spot them in the crowd and fall in love at first sight.

Maybe I watched Almost Famous at too young of an age, or maybe all fans secretly have multiple daydreams about being spotted in the crowd at a concert, whisked onto stage, and having their favorite artist fall madly in love with them. I certainly had these daydreams regularly.

To all the girls who hated Lizzie McGuire’s guts—but also wanted to be her.

I can’t blame my prepubescent self for internalized misogyny, but I definitely exhibited that mindset when I hated on Lizzie McGuire. She had the privilege of kissing Aaron Carter during the holiday episode of her show, and the hatred grew deeper when news broke (likely via J-14) that the fling made its way off-screen, too. Years later, Aaron will still say Hilary Duff was his first love.

To all the girls who definitely called dibs on the Aaron Carter tattoos that came with M Magazine.

Does M Magazine still exist? If so, does it still come with tattoos? Nothing was cooler than showing up to the neighborhood pool with a temporary Backstreet Boys tattoo on your bicep. Although the magazine’s tattoos of celebrity faces never looked quite right after five seconds of wear, you simply had to claim all the Aaron Carter tattoos. It was your only option as a loyal fan.

To all the girls who put Aaron Carter merch in the time capsules they made at school.

I don’t recall owning an Aaron Carter T-shirt, but I do still have an Aaron Carter glow stick (long since dimmed) sitting in my time capsule somewhere. You know, because 8-year-old me thought it was one of the most important memories from my childhood.

To all the girls who were secretly jealous of Aaron’s twin sister.

I know it doesn’t make sense, but once I found out about Angel Carter, Aaron’s twin sister, I secretly hated her. She got to share a womb with Aaron! Some girls really do have all the luck.

To all the girls who somehow still find a way to be connected to Aaron Carter in their adult life.

I’m not sure when my obsession with Aaron Carter fell to the wayside. It was likely sometime after his second album (you know, the one with “Oh Aaron”). By the time he released his third album in 2006, I had moved on to lusting after boys with long hair, skinny jeans, and electric guitars. I had stopped writing Aaron Carter fan mail, and started writing “Rawr XD” to cute boys on Myspace messenger. This lasted for at least five years before a brief stint in white rapper fandom (I don’t want to talk about it).

Ultimately, I grew up and started focusing on my own life/goals/career. Okay, fine, maybe I just started focusing on guys with slightly less star power.

And yet, in 2016, the year I graduated college, I found myself on the phone with Aaron Carter, telling him I wouldn’t be able to make it to his show.

Before you get all excited that Aaron and I finally found true love in each other, let me explain. I was working for Galore Magazine as a perma-lancer, where I regularly interviewed bloggers, experts, and celebrities. When my editor at the time got a pitch from Aaron Carter’s agent asking if we would do a story on him, she asked if any of us wanted to claim it. I may no longer identify as an Aaron Carter fangirl, but I hopped on that assignment like white on rice.

When I chatted with him on the phone, he was heading to a concert—but, unfortunately, it was about an hour away from the city where I was living. I didn’t have a car—and I was happily in a relationship at the time anyway. My younger self would have been disappointed; I didn’t leap at the opportunity to meet Aaron in person.

That being said, if a more opportune moment ever arises—he could totally still get it.

*extremely Aaron Carter in the Lizzie McGuire Christmas episode voice*: Happy birthday, Aaron Carter.