The last time Aaron Carter toured in Japan he was smothered by theunconditional, harassing love normally reserved for teen idols Hanson or theBackstreet Boys. Amid the ardor, one starry-eyed native gave Aaron her phonenumber and told him she'd wait for him 'til the end of time if he promised tosomeday marry her -- a common, albeit hackneyed solicitation in the pell-mellworld of rock & roll. Thing is, the girl was a twenty-six-year-old woman andAaron is a ten-year old boy.
"I told Aaron, 'man, I thought I was pretty popular in high school. I don'teven come close to you.'" says Mike Self, Aaron's bulky bodyguard. "No onecan." This coming from a lifelong friend of Aaron's older brother, Nick,better known as the blonde one in -- pre-programmed drum roll, please -- theBackstreet Boys.
Young Aaron is sporting a Ken Griffey, Jr., jersey, jean shorts that almostcompletely cover his legs and hip-hop style gold chain around is neck.Fidgeting in his chair at New York's All-Star CafT, Aaron has one eye on theBritish Open being projected on a big screen and the other on the dinner knifehe's precariously moving about his face to the apparent ambivalence of hisbodyguard and one of his management representatives.
Behind him, an adorable young girl, about Aaron's age, is disengaged from herfamily and prowling around his backside. Without Aaron noticing, she stealslong, obvious looks at him. Maybe she recognizes him from the covers ofmagazines like Bop or Big Bopper, or maybe she just thinks he's fine. Aaron'smanagement rep Melinda Bell and Self think she knows.
It's several hours before young Aaron goes to work and now it's playtime.Tonight, he will take the stage at New York's Radio City Music Hall, sing morethan fifteen minutes of pre-recorded Cocoa Puff's-and-Yoo-Hoo synth dance popfrom his self-titled debut, listen to impresarios tell him how great he was,maybe catch some of the Backstreet Boys' act, and be snug as a bug in a rug inbed by nine o'clock. If the boy from Tampa is even a little bit nervous aboutmaking his debut in New York, it isn't showing.
"Everywhere we go, there's an arcade," Aaron says. "There's an arcade outthere." Hint, hint. Aaron's a little bit tired of answering questions abouthis likes and dislikes, subjects of monumental importance in Teen Beat-typemagazines where he's routinely featured. But Aaron can't quite get his saplingarms around less-fluffy questions like, 'Do you know who Todd Bridges is?'
"I don't really know what you mean by that," Aaron responds when asked if he'sworried that earning fame now will mean heartache later. "I don't think that'sdone that to me. Do you think that's done that to me?" Well, Aaron, you'reonly ten.
For the record, Aaron likes the film Mousehunt and sushi, and dislikes Englishclass and girls. "What does that mean?," asks Bell, regarding Aaron's lastdislike. Right now, Gunblade, a pugilistic arcade game, has Aaron more hot-and-bothered than any icky girl ever could. Waiting patiently for another boyto finish his quarter's worth before Aaron can take over, Self seems quitepleased no one at the restaurant seems to recognize the kid.
"We can't go anywhere," Self says. "We were in Germany and we tried to goshopping -- me, Aaron and a dancer. Aaron had a hundred fans behind us ... Ihaven't experienced Asia yet but I hear it's big over there. We might have toget another security guy."