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Welcome to Larryland

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Written by: Andrea Ariza

Let me guess: either a family member or friend sent you this, you are queer, mildly interested in pop culture, or you are already Harry or a Louis fan. If the latest options are the case, you’ve clearly had the incredible privilege (or rather, the misfortune, depending on who you ask) of encountering one of us in the wild waters of social media—that means Twitter (or X, I guess) and TikTok, these days—and you’ve been left second-guessing everything you thought you knew for certain. 

Now, in the fascinating process of conversion, you must have been presented with some kind of undeniable proof. If you are reading this in 2023, I’m afraid to tell you we are still All Along-drunk, so that’s what you are getting. In the probable case that you are farther away into the future, though, something even bigger will have come up by then, I’m sure.

Yes, yes, Harry and Louis are together. Yes, they’ve been “sending us signals” I suppose, yes, they are very loud (loud: outspoken  about their sexuality or relationship in any possible form), and yes, you’ve missed a lot. 

In this fandom, we like to use the metaphor “falling into the rabbit hole”—seriously, we are Alice In Wonderland-crazy, leave while you can. Some people, however, prefer to compare us with conspiracy theorists, or, straight away, with your good old cult, go figure out why (not as cool an insult as they may think it is, shall I add, there are actual victims of cults out there who were lied to, brainwashed and abused. It’s not funny, you guys).

Wow, you are still here! Good job, I’m sincerely impressed. Unfortunately, I considered it a highly unlikely scenario, so I have nothing planned. Okay, no, seriously now: here is your initiation manual into Larry Stylinson. It’s thus my great pleasure to welcome you into our rabbit hole.

*Dramatic orchestral music*

What is Larry Stylinson? How it all Began?:

Linguistically, Larry Stylinson is nothing more than the combination of the names Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson (genious, right?). As for semantically, well, that’s a little bit more complicated. Some people call it a ship name, others (that’s me, I’m others) prefer the term “couple name,” since a ship is commonly used to refer to a couple (ideally, a fictional one, although not necessarily) you are rooting for, not one who simply exists in real life or that you support in a serious manner, beyond how cute you think they are or how strongly you feel they belong together. 

As for how it all began, it was a glorious day in 2010 in London, inside the (not so) luxurious toilets of The X Factor, when a boy peed on a boy and… No, okay, I get it, I’m saddened, but I can’t say I’m surprised you prefer the summarized version.

Basically, the two members of One Direction were, at first, thought to be cute together. For us fans, it was nothing serious, at the very beginning, although, I will say, for the way they behaved around each other, the only reason anyone even doubted they were together is called homophobia. They flirted on stage, in interviews, on social media, they were the only members of the band who chose to move in together, it was a whole thing. 

What changed? You may wonder. Well, the narrative shifted and long-term fans assure it happened from one day to another in a very artificial way, which made them reasonably suspicious. Suddenly, the fans were told Larry Stylinson had ruined Louis and Harry’s friendship, that it was bad, that it made them uncomfortable, they were moving out of their shared flat at Princess Park, absolutely despised each other, and that they were oh, so very straight! They had these very public bearding relationships (fake relationships with beards, aka people hired to hide a celebrity’s sexuality) and publicity stunts (fake relationships used as a marketing strategy) with girls, and they denied the rumours, although never very convincingly.

This was when a lot of fans became Antis (against Larry being a real couple), and others looked into Closeting in the Music Industry, listened to what Harry and Louis had to say, and proudly recognised themselves as Larries.

Okay, Top 10 Proofs in no Real Order, Hit me with All You’ve Got:

Before we start, you ought to know this is extremely summarized. If you want to continue investigating, please go to “Useful Resources Made by and for Fans.”

  1. Matching Lyrics:

I won’t extend myself here because this month’s issue is precisely full of lyrics analysis pointing at the connection between Harry’s and Louis’ songs, and I myself have written plenty of them for older issues I will link bellow, but just know that their songs (those they are credited in, of course, which are most of their solo ones and handful of One Direction tracks) tell one and the same love story, about two boys who fell in love and wrote lyrics full of love and heartbreak to each other.

  1. Specific and Undeniable References in their Lyrics: Two Ghosts, Habit and All Along.

Two Ghosts is a song Harry wrote in 2014, but it wasn’t released until 2017 with Harry’s self-titled, debut album. The reason was said to be how personal the song was, perhaps too much to share it with the whole group.

Over the years, some people have interpreted it as a break-up song, others think it describes a situation where two lovers are forced to hide their relationship in the public eye. Still, no matter which one it is, one of its loudest parts will always be the first two lines, where Harry literally compares his and Louis’ physical appearances at the time (tour version):

Moving on, Habit is a song Louis wrote and released for his debut solo album Walls in 2020. The lyrics are a way for Louis to tell someone that he misses them  and their “addictive heart,” that they are the habit he can’t break, the feeling he can’t put down, and the high that he needs right now. As I mentioned before, after The X Factor, Harry and Louis shared a flat in Princess Park (London), and well, Princess Park is literally mentioned in the song:

And it’s been ages, different stages

Come so far from Princess Park

I’ll always need ya

In front of me, in front of me

Nothing further, your honour!

And if this shocked you, wait until you hear about Larries’ holy grail: All Along. This song is one of Louis’ most unknown tracks and there is a reason for that: it was never released. As for how we got it, you know, the Internet… *Nervous laugh.* 

Despite its status as one of the tracks which didn’t make the cut for his debut album Walls, Louis  publicly acknowledged its existence in radio interviews last year, so, I will say, it is as official as an unreleased can get.

The reason why its lyrics caused such a shock? Well, leaving aside the references to a young couple living together, watching shit TV and going to Tesco (where Harry and Louis were often spotted, may I add), there is a mention of attending an Ed Sheeran gig in Manchester.

Okay, picture this: it is October 2011, Harry and Louis are seen at the show and they take pictures with fans still going around. Six years into the future, Louis is pictured with his ex beard in an Ed Sheeran show in London, and those are the only two times he’s publicly attended a show, Manchester 2011 being the only time he was available to do so in the city up until 2016 due to his job. Then, in August 2022, a song with the following verse is leaked:

We saw Ed in Manchester

I held you while he played

Everytime I hеar these songs it takes mе to that place

Even after all we’ve done, I had the nerve to say

I wish I met you later, I wish I met you later

These lyrics about a young love who is lost and found again (I mean, “it was you all along…”) were written around 2017, and the fact that Louis acknowledged them in recent times suggests he still relates to them, that these are probably about a long-term relationship he is currently in. 

On a further note, if you want a more detailed explanation about why All Along can’t be about anyone else, with a presentation included, you should go to @ashashlynash ‘s video on TikTok. 

  1. Covers: You’re Still The One & I Will Survive at Coachella 2022.

You’re Still The One is a Shania Twain song released in 1997. This legendary artist has been mentioned and praised time and time again by Harry and his closest family members, like his sister, who, when her brother performed the song with Shania herself last year in Coachella, said they used to listen to it in the car with their mum. 

It is obvious there is sincere admiration in Harry’s love for Shania, and that her entire discography is probably pretty special to him, but their duet at Coachella is not the only time he’s sung You’re Still The One: he had already done so four years before, in the company of Kacey Musgraves. 

Shania, back in 1997, wrote what would become her biggest hit in the US to deal with the criticism her marriage was receiving, after people began questioning her love for her husband and accusing her of using him solely for her career. In the song, the singer would tell her husband he was still the one she loved, that they’d made it, despite the hardships, and the public betting against them, he was still the one she ran to, the one she belonged to, the one she wanted for life.

Does it sound familiar? Well, Kacey must have had a similar train of thought when she performed it with Harry in 2018, because she changed the lyrics from “we’re still together, still going strong” to a third-person plural, while gazing at Harry with a big smile. Harry, meanwhile, couldn’t help but smile even bigger, showing how much the song meant to him.

Another song Harry chose to cover in Coachella was I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, this time with Lizzo. This caused an uproar, since I Will Survive was the song One Direction burst into in one of their concerts in 2015 after it was published Louis’ bearding relationship was over (which is done with a BUA or break-up article).

Harry’s attitude while singing the song was something else, there is truly no way to describe it that would make it justice. After that, it became an anthem for the fandom: every time we got a break-up article, we would post videos of Harry that night, or send the lyrics in capital letters to each other. It’s our way to celebrate, to say to these giant companies that we are here, and we are going nowhere, to hope the end is near. And, interestingly enough, Lizzo declared it was a last-minute, surprise decision, maybe inspired by Larries in Stan Twitter joking about how it would be amazing if Harry sang that particular song weeks before the event. 

In April 2022, Harry brought our anthem back to the main stage for Coachella. Less than a year later, his stunt with Olivia Wilde to promote Don’t Worry Darling was over, as was Louis’ bearding relationship with Eleanor Calder (which ended for the second time last January).

  1. Lyric Changes:

When the boys were touring, they sure loved lyric changes. Harry, however, often used them to make a statement, and sang some really loud ones while he serenaded Louis on stage, in front of thousands of fans.

A classic from 2012, for example, is “I can love you more than Stan” instead of “that,” Stan being one of Louis’ best friends in high school. Another one which became somewhat recurrent every time they sang Little Things is “I’m in love with Lou, and all his little things.” We also have recent ones such as “blue eyes” instead of “your eyes” during Adore You (because of Louis’ blue eyes), or “Lou” instead of “you” in Medicine once or twice.

The loudest one without a doubt, though, will always be the one Harry does in Golden. Just a month before he began stunting in 2020, for example, he sang “I’m hoping someday I’m open / I know you’re scared because I’m so open.” Besides, he’s done a different version of the same lines on other occasions where he’s sung “And he’s golden / and he’s golden / and I’m hoping someday he could be open / I know you’re scared because I’m so open.”

  1. Blue and Green: on Clothes and on Stage.

Blue and green are the two colours representing Harry and Louis, not only because of their eyes, but also because those were the colours of their microphones in the band. 

Harry often uses blue, which represents Louis, but not just any shade of blue, Louis Blue! We know this is not coincidental, because the stylist working with him for his photoshoot in a Gucci, Louis blue dress for Vogue declared Harry asked specifically for that shade of blue, and couldn’t tell her why. He’s worn it on numerous other occasions, like in his “Bring back manly men” photoshoot. Moreover, he has a blue bandana he is seen with often, and this item first appeared for a bandana project 1D fans organised where you had to wear a bandana of the colour of your favourite member. The day of the project, Harry appeared on stage with his own bandana in Louis’ colour, and he still uses it!

Louis too likes to use those two colours in his clothes, and I’d even say he does so a little too much, not that I’m complaining (no, for real, it’s insane). He wore them, for instance, for his first show of the FITF tour.

Regardless of their outfits, this is a very frequent combination of lights during their shows, for example, during All This Time in Louis’ tour, an extremely queercoded track which talks about how the pain and the struggles caused by their careers are worth it, that the time is not lost or wasted, and we know the artist chooses those. 

It can seem that this is a silly proof on its own, it is definitely not our strongest, but the proof here is not that they use these colours at all, but how they do so at an exaggerated rate, all while being perfectly aware of what they mean to the fans. If they wanted to desperately deny certain rumours, they would avoid blue and green at all costs, don’t you think?

  1. Matching Tattoos: He Got the Dagger!

Harry and Louis have tons of tattoos: to this day, Harry has more than 56, while Louis has more than 40. Not all of them are matching tattoos, of course, but many of them are, and were even made by the same artist in a short period of time from each other, or belonged to a couple design. There is also the fact that, before they began getting their tattoos in 2012, Harry posted a picture of a couple tattoo in his Instagram, and coincidentally, that’s precisely the picture you get when you google “couple tattoos.”

Among them, we find Louis’ “it is what it is” and Harry’s moth—originally from a couple design by Liam Sparkles—the ship and the compass, the anchor and the rope, the heart and the arrow, “hi” and “oops”—the first words they spoke to each other when one peed on the other in the X Factor urinals—the rose and the dagger and, a pretty underestimated one, Louis’ horseshoe lacking three nails which Harry has, just to name a few.

From these, we can extract two stories, which make, to this very day, two of our most significant proofs. The first one is around Harry’s rose and Louis’ dagger. 

Harry got his rose tattoo in September 2013. This was very commented on by Larries because roses are tattooed more often than not with daggers, but Harry’s lacked one.  From this moment on, fans tagged Louis all over social media asking him when he would get the dagger to compliment Harry’s rose, or straight up affirming he would. After more than a year, just like Larries assured would happen, Louis, who has repeatedly affirmed he sees everything on social media and has even accidentally interacted with Larry posts once or twice, was seen with a dagger on his arm. 

The second biggest Larry event tattoos-related is from not too long ago, for the anniversary of Walls, when the Spotify canvases for Louis’ songs were changed to drawings suspiciously similar to Harry’s tattoos (like the month for Defenceless, the heart for Habit or the rose for Too Young, all very Larry-coded tunes).

  1. Public Narrative from 2013 on: They Hate Each Other!

Okay, look, this is not meant to underestimate Sony, they are a very powerful, multimilioner company and they know what they’re doing, but it’s just a little bit funny how one of Larry’s biggest confirmations is everything they did to cover it. 

Like I wrote at the beginning of this article, Larries began suspecting because Harry and Louis, according to the press, went from being besties to declared enemies from one day to the other. What kind of business decision is to promote bad blood between two band members? As someone who was a teenage girl not terribly long ago, let me tell you, that’s not the kind of thing that sells. In fact, and we’ve seen this with other bands, normally the public is told all band members are best friends, and it’s not until they disband that we get to find out whether or not they truly got along.

One common speculation in the Larry fandom is how things would have changed if they had allowed Harry and Louis to remain friends in the public eye, most Larries would have probably never become one. Regardless of how cruel and abusive it is to force two young teens in love apart in front of the cameras, this strategy was, from a pragmatic point of view, completely ineffective.

Due to this narrative, we got to see quite absurd situations such as Louis being told off on camera for offering the rest of a smoothie to Harry and other gestures of a similar nature, them supposedly moving out of Princess Park only to later slip up they were still living together, or the hotel room mystery, when it was leaked the team would always book four hotel rooms for the five band members and, instead of saying Louis was staying with Niall, Liam or Zayn, he spent years supposedly sleeping alone in the tour bus until they confirmed he was staying with Harry, in 2015 after the break-up article with Eleanor, so that his enemy could console him. 

Besides, please bear in mind this latest article was published in the same year The Daily Mail told fans their favorite band was taking a break due to, among other reasons, the animosity between Harry and Louis. Thus, their story wasn’t even consistent, there were contradictions all over the place.

Ultimately, the harsh narrative against Larries, who were called all kinds of names in the press, and of course, against any type of bond between the boys, made it obvious there was indeed something to hide. 

  1. Denials (Jokes and Horse Noises):

Similarly to point 7, the attempt to quiet any possible rumours was precisely what (partially) continued fuelling Larries (and this, of course, is all merit of Harry and Louis). 

The way I see it, the most serious denials were done in written articles and, believe it or not, on Twitter. It could have worked, if it weren’t for the fact that there is absolutely no proof anyone is who they say they are on the web, and in fact, celebrities’ accounts are always controlled by their teams, which is the standard procedure. If we take into account that Louis was caught tweeting to his beard he loved her while, in reality, Liam had taken a picture of him asleep on a plane, and their management once messed up and used Liam’s account by mistake, it’s completely unreliable, and we shouldn’t pay any more attention to it.

Moving on, denying Larry on video never got any real impact, at least, not the kind of impact Sony hoped for. During the band, we got some very staged and unserious denials: take, for example, the 2012 interview where Louis commented, all while keeping his right arm around Harry’s shoulders, that some people genuinely thought they were in a relationship (I wonder why) and Liam chimed in “you are though.”

A very sad one also occurred in 2012, when Louis seemed to repeat what they must have been told by their teams and said that, if he were a fan, he wouldn’t like the idea of Harry and Louis, and would prefer to dream about the boys with them as a fan.

We could go on forever, because these were pretty usual, but a personal favourite of mine will always be later in time, in 2014, when the boys were asked what was the craziest rumour they had ever heard about themselves, Louis was seen mouthing “no” to their team, standing off camera, Harry declared “some of them I quite like,” and they went on to talk about how they had all been declared dead several times. 

The band may have been over in 2016, and while that meant Louis and Harry would not share the same space publicly from then on, do not think denials stopped during their solo careers. As long as they feed us, and as long as we exist, there are going to be denials and damage control—up until, of course, the day they are free, and it all ends.

In relation to this, my (and I would dare to say everyone’s) favourites are when Harry was asked if Sweet Creature was about his relationship with Louis, and what we shall call the “obviously” fiasco. In the first one, Harry stuttered and stumbled, making what Larries in the fandom called horse noises, before replying that people could believe what they wanted to believe, but that the song was not about that. The problem—horse noises aside—is that, due to this moment of stress, he forgot to deny he was in a relationship with Louis in the first place.

The other time we’ve seen one of them fail at denying Larry was in 2017, when Dan Wooton promised to ask Louis about Larry Stylinson on video and end us Larries once and for all. Yes, well, the result was the complete opposite, and because no description could possibly replicate it, I’ll leave you Louis’ response below:

“I’ve never actually been asked about it directly. Erm… It’s a funny thing. People can believe what they want to believe, I just think it comes across sometimes as a little bit, um…, a little bit disrespectful to the ones I love, y’know like, Eleanor. Erm sometimes it comes across as a bit disrespectful. It’s like anything… You could genuinely— If you google conspiracy on iPhones, right? You’re gonna get a conspiracy. So I think it’s one of these things that people love to buy into, but in reality obviously there’s no truth to it, obviously.”

Overall, denials were done following tactics such as trying to convince the public there was no difference between Larry and bromances or ships like Liall and Zarry, which are unserious or simply untrue. Harry and Louis, however, made sure not to deny it too seriously, or perhaps, sometimes, they just weren’t able to do so and lie no matter how hard they tried, and this is why Larry denials have been meaningless as of yet.

  1. Verbal Confirmations:

Let me share an undeniable fact with you: Harry has only verbally confirmed two relationships since he first became famous, and one of them was with Louis, which he’s done on more than one occasion. 

You will find, online, many Larries who will tell you he’s only ever confirmed he was dating one person and that person is Louis Tomlinson. It sounds way more impressive when you put it like that, I know, but the truth is that calling someone your ex-girlfriend is indeed confirming a past relationship. 

Do not misunderstand me, it doesn’t make said relationship any less fake, since that is actually the norm when it comes to stunts, even if Harry has always tried not to recognise any of these women as his girlfriends (one of the many signs he gives us to know it is staged). Besides, he was talking about the stunt song with her voice at the end, so really, when it was time to explain what it was about, what did you all except poor Harry would do?

What is undoubtedly true, though, is that the only relationship he’s said to be in at the time of the events is indeed one with Louis, and the nature of these bursts of honesty was clearly unplanned and organic. 

We have many confirmations around 2012, before things got bad, and the narrative shifted, if you recall point 7. The two most popular confirmations to this day are when Harry was asked in an album signing if he was dating Louis, he nodded, the fan then replied “I figured,” and he broke into the biggest smile; and another one when he was asked who his “real” first crush was in an interview, and he answered “Louis Tomlinson.” The interviewer, in this second instance, questioned how Louis felt about him, to which he responded “it’s mutual, we’ve discussed it.”

How on earth can anyone not see it, right? Well, during an interview in Paris that same year (commonly known as the Paris Interview), Harry and Louis flirted shamelessly, up to the point Louis was asked if he was a good boyfriend, and Harry answered “he’s kind, he treats me really well.” Could this be a joke? Well yes, but the mere notion heavily denies the idea that they were uncomfortable with Larry Stylinson. Besides, why is it every time two boys or two girls declare their love for each other, they are thought to be joking? What would have been the public and the rest of the fandom’s reaction if these scenarios were protagonised by a boy and a girl? Please, do think about that. 

There is something special about the Paris interview, and it is the fact that this exchange belongs to an extended version that wasn’t released until 2017. Something similar happened with the following snippet, which only came to us thanks to some unknown person who decided to film the interview with their own phone while standing behind the cameras. If they hadn’t, we would have never got it.

People learning about the industry often wonder why closeted artists do not simply unexpectedly come out to free themselves and, contract obligations aside, this is why: they do, there are people like Harry who, while hearing Liam explain how him and Louis  had girlfriends (yes, sure!), chimed in he had a boyfriend, and later clarified he was “Louis’, Louis’ boyfriend!” Or Louis for that matter, who dared to exclaim A) “We are all each other’s boyfriends!,” or B) “and the rest of them all have got boyfriends!” 

P.S: Have in mind there is no official transcription, which is why there are differences of opinion.

  1. 🌈 💫The Rainbow Bondage Bears 💫🌈 :

This topic is large enough to do hours-long presentations, which is why I will merely clarify what they are, and leave some links below so that you can dive farther down into the rabbit hole. Basically, the Rainbow Bondage Bears are two, rainbow, stuffed bears thrown on stage in 2015. After this happened, we began seeing them on stage and online, in their Twitter account, dressed with pretty expensive clothes, and always referencing queer art and artists. Quoting myself in my Louis & Queercoding article for Pride Month, “The Rainbow Bondage Bears made countless references to queer icons such as Judy Garland or, evidently, Freddie Mercury, to queer history and the love between Louis and Harry (with that epic “Love Larry” autograph, the blue and green stickers on their shoes and other items). They also sent a message of hope and strength at a time when, thanks to baby gate, all kinds of talk about their closeting would have been gone forever otherwise, and we could even see them holding pregnancy tests and other baby items which told us none of what we were seeing was what it looked like.” 

Before wrapping this up, I feel like I must share with you one of the fandom’s biggest mysteries: the phone the bears were seen with once, which you were supposed to text and whose screen was full of “Larry is real” messages during the whole show. The telephone number is still active, you can still call or text, which means someone must be deleting these every once in a while to allow more texts to arrive, and paying the bills. Who? Well, given that Louis was seen in the reflection of one of their sunglasses in a picture, and taking photos with fans in the gay bar the bears were in on the same day, I’ll let you take a wild guess.

Useful Resources Made by and for Fans:

Here you can catch up on everything you’ve missed over the last thirteen years!

An explanation on The Rainbow Bondage Bears and what they were there for.

Freddieismyqueen used to be a very celebrated Larrie YouTuber, and the creator of some of the most well-known videos in the fandom: from heartfelt edits to informative videos and hilarious crack vids. The mystery here is that they were allowed to share revenue for some of the 1D, Harry and Louis songs they used, and that can only happen with the express consent of the artist or their teams. Unfortunately, this legend in the fandom was attacked and harassed, and left forever due to the hate, which is why we can only find old videos reposted by other fans.

Nowadays, something similar is happening to Cosmic Leeds, who got these same news after they used too much of Golden (by Harry) in their queer coding video about him linked in this section. 

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