These five boys (Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson) are the reason why my life has taken a rather unproductive turn this quarter. They are also the reason why I have lost the ability to function like a normal human being. For example, I was working on a student film set this past weekend, and when we were filming shot 1D – which is also short for One Direction – I had a minor freakout moment and had to stop myself from bursting out and singing “What Makes You Beautiful” (their debut single).
It really is both wonderful and terrible at the same time.
One Direction didn't originally start out as a group. All five members were individual contestants on the seventh series of the UK's The X Factor in 2010. Even though they were all cut individually from the "Boys" category, they were called back by the judges who gave them the choice of either leaving as solo acts or competing as a group (under the mentorship of Simon Cowell). The boys finished third overall, and, even though they didn't win the competition, I honestly feel it doesn't really matter, because their talent and massive fanbase were enough to launch their careers as one of the most well-known boy bands today.
Part of the reason I love them so much is because all five of them are so endearing – and incredibly attractive – in their own ways. There’s no getting around the fact that all of them are ridiculously good-looking. I actually want to punch myself in the face every time I see a picture of one of them, because the level of handsome in each and every one of their pictures (even when they’re making what’s supposed to be a weird expression) is unfair. Whenever I watch a video of these boys – whether they're being interviewed or playing some random game they've made up – I can't get over how real they are. There's never anything fake or contrived about the way they present themselves, and it's really great as a fan to be able to experience their crazy and adorable personalities through these videos.
The boys definitely have a good mix of qualities between them. I'd describe Niall as this ball of energy with the greatest laugh I have ever heard. Seriously, I dare you to listen to his laugh and not even crack a smile. Harry is the one you'd want to make dirty jokes with. He's definitely the biggest flirt and gets made fun of for it quite often. Liam is, without a doubt, the most mature member of the group. He does know how to have fun and be just as crazy as the other boys, but he's definitely the one that keeps the entire group grounded. Louis is – simply put – loud. He's definitely the craziest of the five, and that's honestly what makes him so great. Zayn is really interesting in that he's able to somehow be quiet and loud at the same time (but for some reason he can't be anything in between the two). In interviews, he's usually the quietest member, but sometimes he literally just goes insane.
I don’t really understand what just happened in this video, but I like it (and you know you like it, too, admit it). That’s the thing about One Direction. They’re all amazing individuals, but as a group, they really bring out the best – and craziest parts – in each other. It’s great to watch as a fan, because you can tell that they really are best friends and love each other so much. Honestly, every time one of them says “I love you” to another member, the world becomes a slightly better place. Seriously, they are so affectionate with each other – and they’re not hesitant to show it at all – which I absolutely love. Every time I see them being adorable with each other, I just want to scream into a pillow, because I can’t deal with how perfect they are.
It’s also really great, because as one of the most well-known boy bands (which are typically geared towards a young female audience), you know they’re under a lot of pressure to portray themselves in a very hetero-normative way (which would mean not being as publicly affectionate with each other as they normally are, even though I personally believe that that is part of their appeal to their fans). I bring this up, because I’ve had several people say to me, “But you know they’re gay, right?” and read things online that pretty much amount to the same thing. Whenever I run into something like this – in real life or online – it bothers me quite a bit, and I’ve never fully realized my reasons for this until now. The whole “But you know they’re gay, right?” comment implies that if one or all of the members is gay (or some other sexuality besides heterosexual), that somehow takes away from the fact that they are one of the most talented and attractive boy bands to ever exist – which it doesn’t, not even a little. That kind of comment also suggests that one of them being something other than heterosexual should somehow stop me from being a fan, which makes no sense at all.
Speaking of how talented and attractive these boys are, let’s talk about their singing abilities, which is what made me fall in love with them in the first place. Once you’ve heard them sing, you can’t deny the fact that the reason they’re so successful is because they really do have talent, and not just because they’re five pretty faces (although that doesn’t hurt them at all, obviously). Just listen to Louis, Harry, Niall, Liam and Zayn singing individually. All five of them are so amazing on their own, and, collectively, they sound like some sort of angelic chorus that has deemed mankind worthy enough to listen to them sing together.
Then there are their songs. Okay, I admit it: their songs don’t exactly have a lot of deep meaning behind the lyrics, and you’re not going to have any sort of epiphany while listening to them, but you know what, their songs make me happy. They’re catchy and fun, and I like dancing around with my roommate in our room while listening to them. Also, their songs have this weird magical quality that somehow allows me to listen to them repeatedly without getting sick of them. In the last month, seven One Direction songs have appeared on my Top 25 Most Played playlist on iTunes, and all seven of them are somewhere in the first ten spots.
So that’s my story. I vaguely remember a time when I didn’t know about these perfect human beings, and I was somewhat productive and could sleep at a normal hour. Now, all of that’s gone, but it’s okay, because I have no regrets. Life just seems happier and crazier with the knowledge that One Direction is a group of boys who actually exist.