Aug 20, 2013

The Comprehensive Guide to One Direction (if you're not a teen)

Okay. If you're here, you're probably wondering what all the hooplah is surrounding One Direction. I have asked myself the very same question. "What's the deal here?" Then I saw this video, and my life changed. Not sure for the better, but it has changed. Who am I kidding? It's definitely changed for the better.

Basically, there was so much hype on the internets about this video being released, that I HAD to watch. And that's when I was bitten. These guys can sing, act (at least in a video) AND THEY'RE BRITISH? I'm sold. When adult duties bog down your life, sometimes you want to feel young again, and this is exactly what 1D has done for me. They make me giddy, much like puppies. Thank you, God, that I am not 14... I would probably cry myself into a deep depression every night and be glass box of emotion at all times.

Just like anything else I get interested in, I have to do some serious research. I have become so curious about the 1D fandom that I decided to dive in, head first, and I'm truly at a loss for words, at least verbally. So I shall write about it. But let me just explain a few things first: this information is not hard to find. There are millions of Youtube videos, gifs and comments to back up everything I'm chatting about. These boys are going to break sales of a BILLION DOLLARS NEXT YEAR. So hold on, because there's a lot to take in.

If you are a die-hard Directioner, you best understand and abide by the following:
- The Haylor period was the most traumatic time in your life (Taylor Swift era)
- The boys can do no wrong. Nothing is their fault.
- You understand all inside jokes and know when they are overdone, played out, dead, etc. (Louis and carrots, Niall laugh, etc.)
- You obviously know everything about them. Birthdays. Hometowns. First girlfriends. What hand they write with. Religions. You are aware of their baby photos.
- And, while it might sound scary, you know where the boys are at all times. (I'll get to how they know this info later.)

Okay, now that you know this... time to cover some ground.

I'm most amazed by the fans. I find fandoms on the internet amusing: they are fiercely loyal, to the point that I question their sanity and their emotional health. For instance, you may have heard about the One Direction covers for British GQ. Directioners, are they are affectionately called (or call themselves), went all kinds of postal over them.

As you can see, Harry's includes the tagline "He's up all night to get lucky," which alludes he's probably sleeping with countless women. (Not an invalid assumption to have for a young rock star.) This not only outraged, but enraged, so many fans that they took to Twitter and threatened to murder, maul, mutulate... mame... what am I missing here... defecate on... anyone from the GQ staff. Granted, the actual article exposes Harry as what we (I mean... Directioners) know him to be: a sweet, emotional, jovial British 19-year-old who has slept with two people in his lifespan. But did I really need to know his number? No. I didn't. But that speaks to what open books all of them are.

On that note, I think that's why I dig 1D. First off, they're a boy band, but there aren't any gimmicks. They don't wear matching outfits. They swear, they drink, they have loads of tatoos; they make penis jokes, get in riffs with other bands (and they aren't polite about it). They're pretty much the antithesis of the idea of what we all grew up knowing as a teenage boy band. And I think that's pretty refreshing. They aren't trying to keep up with appearances or expectations. They aren't perfect. They appear to be normal 19-year-old boys.

And, for the most part, these dudes are not "Biebering out" -- they appear to have their heads on straight, and unlike a solo act, they're able to keep each other grounded and humble. So essentially their egos are in check, and they still act young. (Exhibit A: standing on stage for five minutes making farting noises after a fan named "Pooh" tweets them.)

Regarding the GQ antics, some of the fan comments were hilarious. I read a few aloud and had a few laughs, but some of them are downright terrifying. Moreso, these kids are like, what, 14? 15? I'm sure none of their parents realize the language they are using. This is the wrong direction, folks. Granted, most true Directioners would argue this poorly portrays the entire fandom (as did the Channel 4 documentary... which is on a whole other level of madness, where 42 Larry Shippers were alleged to have commited suicide over. Just read here.)

I can appreciate loyalty, support and wanting to "protect" someone, but on the other hand... I'm going to need you to calm down, people!

But I think, at the bottom of it all, that's what makes the band such superstars. They are more attainable to their fans because they are all over social media, and also, they treat them like friends. (Take a look at the photos from their Meet & Greets on Tumblr.) These women (children?) feel like they know them. To the point that they can track their every move.

They follow the band and the crew in an effort to know exactly where they are and who they're with at all times. No, seriously. If you were concerned that the FBI or CIA may be lacking in qualified applicants come 20 years, don't worry. They all will have been Directioners at one point or another. One tweet is all it takes and they instantly know how many of them are back in the UK and who is still in the US. (They track them by saying "3/5 spotted" "5/5 following" or "4/5 eyes on but Louis is MIA", etc.) Hell, I knew that Harry was back in the UK today based on photos being posted. Kind of mad considering I'm not even 95% involved in One Direction's lives as these kids are.

When I was in love with *NSYNC, I did go to plenty of concerts and meet and greets, but I really had no way to share that. I could tell my friends and take my photos, but there was no posting it on Facebook, or tweeting about something JC said, or Vining a dance, or creating GIFs from my videos to post on Tumblr. And frankly, I am thankful. I know I'd be one of those 13-year-olds that spent their time online, hopelessly devoted to five boys. 

Furthermore, the effect these boys have on women is cruel. I truly do not wish this upon anyone. Women are losing their damn minds — it is very reminsicent of The Beatles, in fact. These guys aren't walking around thrusting (well, there's always a crotch grab or two), or shirtless, or doing anything remotely sexy for that matter. At their concerts, they have water fights, dare each other to barrel roll down the stage, cover Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me," answer questions like, 'If you could be a Disney character, who would you be?' (Harry went with Musfasa) — practically the opposite of sexy. And girls, women and teenagers comment with things such as "I just can't. I'm done here!" "TEARS!" "SO MANY FEELS!" (yes, feels... a term they have coined for all of the feelings they experience just seeing them) and my personal favorite, "(ENTER 1D MEMBER HERE) MAKES ME EMOTIONALLY UNSTABLE."

Don't believe me? Read for yourself.

Here's some interesting commentary from Tumblr...

Then read the comments that come from a video that expose Harry's complete and ultimate clumsiness.

In case you didn't know, these boys literally put their lives in danger by going on that stage every night. I commend them. At any given point, women are throwing objects on stage: bananas. Sandwiches. Glowsticks. (And yeah, bras and undies.) At one point, Harry got pelted in the finger while singing and in the crotch during a Q&A. Once, a fan threw a cell phone and the boys took videos on it and gave it back to her, so now women from all areas throw their cell phones on stage, hoping they'll get a personalized video. Can you imagine getting pelted in the noggin from an airbourne celly from the nosebleed section? You'd be lucky if you didn't get knocked unconscuious.

Moreso, the fans are hilarious. They make fun of themselves. They know they've lost it. But they are their own little cult; a giant sorority, even, initiated by what makes them almost certifiably insane.

I know I've brought up Harry moreso than the other boys. I think it's important to note he is the easiest to name-drop based on his dating life: he's dated Caroline Flack, who was 32 at the time (he was 17) to 23-year-old Taylor Swift. He's also been reported with Kimberly Stewart, 33. If you can't read between the lines, he is a cougar hunter. Yet he still resembles a cupcake. Which is why he has this effect on women of all ages. I reckon his curly hair and deep voice have something to do with it.
Whether you're 13 or 33, Harry is probably the one you feel a little less Chris Jansen-esque about.

(He bites his lip at like 2:45 or something)

Speaking of his dating life, we should probably cover ships. I kept reading about these "ships" in the comment section of videos. Upon looking it up, apparently it's the support of a relationship: real or fake. It can be a relationship that's happening, like "I ship Zayn and Perrie!" (his real life girlfriend) or one they imagine is happening, like Louis and Harry. The vote it split 50/50, but they believe Harry and Louis's bromance has escalated into a full-fledged hidden relationship, which they refer to as Larry Stylinson.

And I think that's what makes this a new age boy band. The girls actually wish two of the boys were in a homosexual relationship. Some of them find it more attractive to think of them together; others ship for selfish reasons. "Then they can't have girlfriends!" (I told you this was all kinds of neurotic.) 

Please don't get the fans on the subject of management. They hate them. They believe the management is responsible for the hiding of Larry's romance. When Harry won favorite hottie and best smile at the TCA's, they didn't announce it. Why? Management didn't want to separate Harry from the rest of the boys (according to the fans, but this may very well be true). Basically, the management ruins lives, shatters dreams, creates world chaos, kills puppies... everything terrible in the world, the management is responsible for.
From photoshopped pictures of Louis with Eleanor (his girlfriend) to reasons why Harry isn't bashing Taylor Swift in the press... the management is involved. It's kind of like The Capitol in The Hunger Games. They are despised, but control a lot of what the boys do. 

Okay, I truly can't go on because unlike everyone else in this fandom, I have full-time job that is required of me to pay the bills. But just take a gander at some of those links and try not to fall deep in love with these little muffins. Because they're just so darn cute!

Also, I got to hit up their last show in LA on 8/10, thanks to Office Depot. So here are some photos from that epic night. And if you like videos, I have a few on my Youtube channel. x

Standing up against bullying with Office Depot

Allowing my inner 13-year-old to thrive.


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