Shipping Larry

“X-Factor” successes One Direction (now busy making money for Simon Cowell) have a fan base that, if you are not the parent of a tween, you might not believe.

A Directioner can identify the place and time that any photo of the band was taken. They know which interviews an animated GIF comes from, and they analyze these interviews with the diligence of Biblical scholars (or conspiracy theorists). Directioners speak in British accents and use British slang in their blog posts (“favorite” becomes “favourite”; the “boys” are “lads”). They create elaborate images of how they picture their backyard gardens — if they were to live with any of the boys — and detailed outfits for imaginary occasions. (“Disneyland with Harry” calls for pale coral lipstick and skinny jeans; a “movie date with Niall” requires a fishtail braid and Converse). They also “ship” different combinations of band members — that is, they celebrate fictional romances between them, which many believe are real (see “Larry Stylinson,” code for the perceived amour between Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles). The ships can lead to erotic fan fiction, a plethora of GIFs, and video mashups of every wink, glance, or touch the boys have ever shared.

This is pretty amazing. And yup, the Larry Stylinson tag on Tumblr is endlessly rewarding.