Will One Direction and their orbiters ever find a bit of peace? It seems that it’s not just the girlfriends and immediate family members of Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne who are feeling the heat and burn of the spotlight — extended family are also now targets of One Direction-watchers, especially the vocal “Larry” cohort of fans, who “ship” (theorise about and promote the idea of) a relationship between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
Georgia Fowler — the New Zealand model who was whisked off to a villa by Harry Styles for some barely-clothed Scrabble, as reported by Sugarscape — first got One Direction fans talking when she posted this Instagram shot of some long pants.
Georgia captioned the image “Harry High Pants meet Larry Long Legs” and was quickly deluged with comments demanding to know what she was referring to, and whether she was disrespecting (or supporting) the “Larry” theory, which is guarded by believers (“shippers”) with a rabid-dog defensiveness and hostility rarely seen outside the fatwa-issuing pockets of the jihadist world (or perhaps the fundamentalist bible belt in America, with its trawling of the Gospels for evidence and policing of terminology).
“Antis” (fans opposed to the theory) argue that it amounts to mass-projection of pubescent fantasy onto unwitting Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, whose lives are co-opted by fans and reduced to a screen onto which a bogus narrative is continuously and relentlessly superimposed. The “Larry” theory may also prevent One Direction’s music from reaching a wider audience, as new fans and casually-interested music journalists are discouraged by waves of hostile “Larry” pushback when they attempt to publicize the band.
Supporters of “Larry” argue that the true crime would be to cooperate with Simon Cowell and Modest Management in suppressing the genuine love between Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson, and in cashing in on the fabricated heterosexuality of the boys while concocting elaborate cover-ups and striking deals with “beard” girlfriends.
Georgia Fowler got a taste of what it means to go public with Harry Styles when she posted her Instagram snap. A day or so later a woman named Ashley (apparently the cousin of Louis Tomlinson baby mama Briana Jungwirth) posted a comment on Georgia’s picture.
“I get the Larry comments all day. I understand your pain 😐”
Fans hit back at the alleged attention-seeker, accusing Ashley of trying to secure some second-hand fame, and questioning the motives of the blonde Jungwirth-cousin and future aunt, who runs her own beauty YouTube channel and occasionally engages One Direction fans in public stand-offs (in contrast to “shy” Briana herself who does not have many accounts on social media, according to The Mirror).
“Oh how I love being in this fandom,” one person wrote with relish upon seeing the hate the blonde Jungwirth cousin was receiving for her audacity. “Stop trying to be relevant,” wrote another fan amidst declarations that “we are only using you to get to Briana.”
In other One Direction news, the guys hit the red carpet at the BBC Music Awards, wearing an eclectic mix of outfits. Liam Payne’s scorpion-patterned shirt was a standout. It looked from a distance like Payno’s shirt was covered with a smattering of gas station pump handles, but a closer look revealed that the black marks on Liam’s shirt were definitely tiny arachnids.
Harry Styles wore a pair of striped boot-cut trousers that divided fans and which have drawn commentary from The Mirror, who highlighted some unflattering shots and declared the trousers a miss. Louis Tomlinson wore a short sleeved T-shirt that showed off his arm tattoos and Niall Horan a bomber-jacket with artfully-placed panels of color.
The appearance followed the final U.S. One Direction performance for 2015 (possibly ever). Simon Cowell, perhaps mindful of stars like Cher Lloyd and Leona Lewis who have left the Syco label unexpectedly recently, has said of the One Direction hiatus “if they want to come back they’ll come back…but it won’t be because of any pressure from me.”
One Direction honored their final U.S. appearance by discussing what they like about America, with Niall citing the weather in California, Harry talking about food portion sizes and the variety of activities available, and Louis and Liam agreeing that they like In ‘n’ Out burger (before spacing out and digressing into an impromptu MC battle).
Should Ashley follow Briana Jungwirth’s example and stay off social media? Will One Direction be back after their break?
[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]