Somewhere in the midst of becoming ironically obsessed with the sassy, silly new princes of pop, One Direction, I actually became obsessed with them.
Yes, One Direction is a band made up of younger boys. Yes, they are most likely not done with puberty. But they are fun. That’s all it is. And I feel no qualms about being a Directioner in his mid-twenties. One Direction’s new single, "Kiss You," exemplifies everything there is to love -– and today, finally, after a long hard wait, the official video is out.
So I'd like to come out as the adult who wore a onesie to their concert.
Let’s start with a brief history of me. My name is Alexander Gold, and I love pop music. My first concert was *NSYNC at Madison Square Garden with P!NK opening -– as an R&B artist! The only radio station I listened to was Z100 and my first AIM screen name was “britneyboy81188.” I put my father through daily quizzes so he knew everything current. He isn’t a regular dad -– he’s a cool dad!
In the summer of 2011, my good friend and pop music deity Sam Lansky introduced me to One Direction. Ever since Sam and I became friends, he’s become my pop music drag mother. No one has a more vast knowledge of obscure, delicious pop music. If a teen star released one single in a Third World nation, Sam has it. But enough about Sam -- the song was "What Makes You Beautiful," and Sam told me that it was the new guilty pleasure. And it was -– it really was.
This is the one sentence where I admit that I did not watch the UK version of "X Factor" and only learned about One Direction very late.
Anyways, that was the beginning for me. I had that single on repeat for months, and then one day at work was handed a press kit for "Up All Night" that no one wanted. It had the most hang-up-in-your-locker one-sheets for each member and a copy of the yet-to-be-released-in-the-US debut album. The upbeat songs went into constant rotation, and I loved that Kelly Clarkson wrote a song for them. But the obsession hadn’t begun –- yet.
The real obsession with One Direction began when I joined Tumblr, and for the first time became active on the site. The community of Directioners is vast and fervent. What is most interesting to me is the number of young girls that worship the band and also love the idea of members being gay or having a “bromance” with other members.
At its surface, it just looks like fun fan-fiction. But if you think about it, these are young people who are openly accepting of the LGBT community and love the idea of members of their favorite boy band being whatever sexuality they are.
Who cares if any of it is true or if it’s just manufactured rumors by intense fans? I personally think Larry Stylinson (the combo of Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson) seems the most legitimate 'ship with the substantial existing “evidence” -– but honestly, that’s not what matters. The boys could all be straight, and that’s wonderful! It’s all a fun guessing game, and the boys are, for the most part, more than willing to play into it.
The members have acknowledged in interviews that they read fan-fiction and know what their fans are talking about. I’m sure their management is aware, too. And they play into it very well.
We have five young boys who, along with their management, are savvy and have figured out how to play the game. As someone who works in PR, I find it absolutely fascinating. We are in an age where everything is on the Internet so celebrities can be completely in tune with what fans are saying and play along to their advantage. Social media especially gives us an instant reaction from people to gauge future actions and play it to our advantage.
It was their second album that solidified my obsession. The first single was a cookie-cutter but inappropriate jubilant pop jam essentially about YOLO and hooking up because YOLO. Then, my good friend and fellow Directioner, Tyler Oakley, came to stay with me while visiting NYC. We made it through Hurricane Sandy as the album began to leak online, and the obsession online turned into real-life fangirling. All the songs on "Take Me Home" are a step up from "Up All Night." It’s just fun. Through a crazy number of circumstances, I ended up with two tickets in good seats for One Direction’s milestone Madison Square Garden show for free.
A month before the concert, I took a trip to One Direction’s pop-up shop, 1D World, and bought a onesie. On top of being the most comfortable thing I own, it’s also fucking amazing because it’s literally a One Direction onesie. I said that if I ended up with tickets to One Direction’s MSG show, I would wear this glorious onesie. Isn’t that how "The Secret" works? I put it out into the universe that I would be that asshole, and the universe let me be that asshole.
Along with my best friend from college (who is used to me being completely and utterly embarrassing), we headed to Madison Square Garden -– him in cute going-out clothes and me in my onesie. The concert got a little uncomfortable at the beginning because I had to get used to tons of young girls running around that were short and just too close to my inappropriate area. Onesies are pajamas. They feel like pajamas. I felt like a creep –- but whatever, I’m gay.
The concert was electric. The boys essentially performed their first album with a few new songs. Zayn sang like a diva, Niall was adorable, Louis was sassy, Harry was intensely concentrated and Liam was a goof. The screams were unlike anything I had ever heard but everyone was just having a blast. The boys could have just farted in their microphones, and girls would have been crying at the beauty and their perfection. I screamed along to every word and had a blast.
It only took minutes for the initial awkwardness to fade. Did I get some shit from my peers for going to a teenybopper concert in a onesie and live-tweeting the whole thing? Sure. But that’s not important and certainly not the One Direction spirit.
With "Kiss You," One Direction releases another single where they play the underdog that will do anything to woo over the girl of their dreams. They acknowledge insecurities, send a positive message and just want to have fun. That’s why people love them. Their music is cheesy and delicious.
We could sit around a pizza talking about its basic properties and how it’s essentially just a bread-cooked tomato sauce with cheese –- or we could just fucking eat the pizza and fucking love it. Not everything has to be that serious. I mean, for Christ’s sake, Niall actually sings “chinny chin chin” in "Kiss You." We could spend all day talking about the ridiculousness of that -– or we could just smile and dance to their infectious cheesy pop perfection. You know you want to. Just have a slice.