No longer that New, but still so cool

When New Kids on the Block comes to Charlotte next week, I'll be there. And I'll be dancing. And screaming. And singing along.

I'm 38 years old … and I have no problem professing my love for Dannydonniejoeyjordanjon (what? as if you didn't refer to them in one breath).

There's really no reason to be ashamed of being a fan of New Kids on the Block, which reunited this year after almost a decade and a half apart. Don't believe me? Here are five reasons why it's perfectly OK – cool, even! – to show your face at the group's concert on Thursday.

1. They're still making music … and it's not bad. NKOTB's new album, “The Block,” has songs that are as good as anything else on the radio right now. And they'll probably play a bunch of them – so this is much more than just a nostalgia tour. Also, the guys are very aware of how lucky they are that the fans still want to see them. Donnie Wahlberg, the dude most responsible for getting the group back together, has said the enthusiastic response on the tour has touched him so much, he's cried.

2. They're still hot. The guys range in age from 35 to 40, and they are grown and sexy! Dannydonniejoeyjordanjon look so much better than they did 20 years ago, when “Please Don't Go Girl” made teen girls swoon. Back then the guys were harmless – rosy cheeks, razored haircuts, skinny limbs in baggy clothes. Now? They are men with toned, healthy bodies, sexy, slightly worn faces and eyes filled with knowledge. They have wives and kids. They have lived. These are people you can actually have a conversation with.

3. We're still hot. Just as time has made the guys so much better, it's done a fabulous number on their fans as well. Sure, we may not have the bodies we had when we were teenagers, but we also don't have the naïveté and all-or-nothing drama of that era. The confidence, knowledge and self-awareness that come with age have their appeal. And while we may reach for a hug or a quick butt pat, we would never snap and try to rip the guys' clothes off if they chose to sing “I'll Be Loving You (Forever)” straight to us.

4. It's a great reason to partay … on a school night, no less. When was the last time you and your friends got together, had dinner and drinks and acted like fools? We all need to do that sometimes, or we lose what makes us vital and fun. A concert featuring a band you and your pack o' pals have fond memories of is just the thing for making new memories. And it gives you an excuse to wear those new (fill in the blank) you bought, just because they were cute, on sale and you look smokin' hot in them.

And finally:

5. We can like whatever we want to like! Pop music isn't trying to make some huge statement about the world, or stop global warming. It's music that makes you feel good. It makes you smile. It makes you dance. It makes life's stresses fade into the background for a couple of minutes. And if you choose to like it, that's your business! Our taste in music is part of what makes us individuals. If you want to spend two hours with Dannydonniejoeyjordanjon, don't let anybody talk you out of it! And maybe I'll see you there.