While it's very possible, even likely, you know who One Direction is, comments about "Larry" might make you pause. Or at least try to remember which One Direction member Larry is. But when One Direction member Liam Payne was interviewed by Attitude magazine and mentioned the "Larry" fans, he ignited a social media firestorm from both One Direction's ordinary fans and One Direction "Larry" relationship fans. So who or what is "Larry," and what are the fans so upset about?
"Larry" is not a person, but a Portmeantu Couple Name. But unlike the names taken from real-life couples, such as the famous "Bennifer" for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, the two One Direction members that make up the name, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, aren't a couple in real life. Payne himself characterized the rumors that Styles and Tomlinson were in some sort of relationship as conspiracy theory, and nonsense on the part of One Direction fans. He also commented on rainbow flags at One Direction concerts being a symbol of some such relationship, which upset other fans, who said that it wasn't always intended that way. Others stayed silent, possibly because those One Direction fans who displayed them knew there was some truth to it.
It must be said that not all of the One Direction fans who read or think about "Larry" as a couple are creating elaborate conspiracy theories about it. They admit it's just fictional, and purely for fun. At the same time there's also no denying that some of the fans who do ship "Larry" are quite elaborate about it. There are Tumblrs, YouTube accounts, and Twitters all devoted to how Harry and Louis are in love. Those accounts don't just stop there, either: they can go into quite elaborate detail about how the two One Direction members are in a relationship but are being forced to lie by management, have been assigned fake girlfriends to disguise this, and in Tomlinson's case, fake a pregnancy with said fake girlfriend. The reasons given why the One Direction management want them to lie vary in degrees of plausiblity.
And while, to an outsider, it seems mind-bogglingly insane, other celebrities have their own versions of "Larry" fans. There are a group of devoted fans who think that the Twilight actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are not broken up and are married with two children, and the world of the devoted "J2" fans who think that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are secretly in a relationship with each other, complete with dissertation-length essays about "proof" is another kettle of fish altogether. (Just as with the One Direction "Larry" fans, there are also fans of both that admit it's not real and just a fictional thing.) It's not even a new phenomenon: 1930s film stars Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald starred opposite each other so much there was at least two fan clubs devoted to the idea they were in a relationship and as shown, people who think that still exist today. (Ironically, the two secretly couldn't stand each other. At least the members of One Direction don't seem to hate each other in real life.)
When Jr Thorpe wrote about the "Robsten" relationship fans for The Bustle, he speculated people like conspiracy theories because it makes them feel like they are part of a group who are the only ones who can see the truth. Maybe the One Direction fans who are also "Larry" fans feel the same. Or maybe it's just an appealing fantasy, like many people have about celebrities, One Direction included.
[Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images]