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Supreme

How One Direction saved my relationship

Don Jaucian - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Fresh off a new relationship, one that has blossomed after three months of proper dating, my then new boyfriend flew to the US for several months of work. As someone who has never fully functioned in a mature relationship, this was a problematic situation. Like Sam Smith, I still need love because I’m just a man, and miles and miles of land and oceans isn’t going to help me sustain my, uh, allegiance. There were too many distractions, the pre-Tinder era was a world teeming with cute boys who are eager to explore their sexuality and I, being a vulnerable semi-attractive human being, wasn’t immune to their charms. And what news, when I heard that one of my crushes was suddenly unattached. The lord has his ways, and boy, was he testing the hell out of me.

Then, one blurry day on Twitter, I got fed up of reading about this Zayn Malik from a friend’s incessant tweets about the band. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I googled what this One Direction was, and from then on, they became my life—and this is no hyperbole or exaggeration. You can ask my friends or my boyfriend. One Direction was all I could talk about.

This was no mere adoration, this was hardcore stanning. Working on a 9-to-5 desk job, my stanning schedule took up most of my mornings. The moment I arrive at my desk, my computer would open to my choice websites: Tumblr (for the One Direction tags), ONTD (where the hardcore stans lived and commented on every trivial One Direction news), and Google Chat where I would narrate my online travails to my friend who shared such spiraling interest with me. Fortunately, I spared myself from fan alternative universes and other forms of fan fiction. Hell, the ongoing bromances of Larry Stylinson (Louis Tomlinson + Harry Styles), Ziam (Zayn Malik + Liam Payne), and Harry and Niall (or, in my head, Niall and the entire touring band of One Direction) were enough to consume bandwidths and bandwidths of gifs, videos, detailed speculations, and other proofs that there was really something going on between these boys.

SUBSTITUTE FOR CONTACT

Suffice it to say, this stanning became my substitute for my need for physical contact. Who needs another warm body next to you when you have five gorgeous lads saying, “It’s gotta be you” in your ears, sweetly and almost full of anguish? One Direction circa Up All Night were the clean-cut versions of themselves, before all the tattoos and rock and roll lifestyle. They were unabashedly cute, charming, and fine as hell. Instead of being distracted by apps and other devices that can encourage me to cheat, my energies were focused on five boys and it was exhausting enough. There was no lonely haze or intense bouts of longing that were typical of a long-distance relationship (ours might be a temporary one, but they still apply). At night, I would have nothing interesting to report to my boyfriend, except whatever happened to One Direction that day. This, he encouraged by showering me with One Direction swag when he came home — Yearbook editions of their albums, concert DVDs, and magazines. For me, it was more than enough to make up for his absence.

As coma-inducing as it sounds, One Direction was enough to get me through each day, and it was a fact that I gradually accepted (“I am a grown man! I read Michael Chabon and subscribe to The New Yorker!”). I took the band’s blissful pop music as an exploration of happiness, just like any person who evokes music as an extension of my emotive state. Pop songs are especially conducive to that, be it Celine Dion or St. Vincent. We locate portions of ourselves between the lines, and as in my case, I am a shrieking, 15-year-old assuaged by proclamations of love and devotion, accompanied by cheeky beats and hooks. And when we look back at these moments, we won’t remember how cool we were or how indie was the music playing in the background, it’s the emotional core that fuels the memory.

As Nick Hornby put it brilliantly in Songbook, “Because music, like color, or a cloud, is neither intelligent nor unintelligent — it just is. The chord, the simplest building block for even the tritest, silliest chart song, is a beautiful, perfect, mysterious thing, and when an ill-read, uneducated, uncultured, emotionally illiterate boor puts a couple of them together, he has every chance of creating something wonderful and powerful. All I ask of music is that is sounds good.”

* * *

Tweet the author @donutjaucian.

ALL I

AS NICK HORNBY

CELINE DION

DIRECTION

GOOGLE CHAT

HARRY AND NIALL

LARRY STYLINSON

LIKE SAM SMITH

ONE

ONE DIRECTION

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