Written by Kate Leaver

Voices

Why I ❤️ my 1D T-shirt

Kate Leaver is a full adult woman and a huge One Direction fan. Apparently the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Kate in her 1D T-shirt

Inception: 27-year-old human woman gets ready for the 2015 One Direction concert, wearing her One Direction 2013 concert T-shirt.

Alright, you’ve got the next 30 seconds to judge me.

Laugh it up; I’m a 27 year-old human woman wearing a One Direction (1D) T-shirt in public. You should know, it’s not my only piece of 1D merch. It’s not even my only 1D T-shirt. And I’ve worn it to my place of employment before, with a sensible blazer.

That is to say, I have no shame. None at all. I’m young enough at heart to wear the image of five male teen idols across my breasts and expect you to take me seriously.

Speaking of which, your time is up. Judged me sufficiently? Great. Now take my hand, hum a few bars of Steal My Girl, and understand this: Life is better when you’re wearing a 1D T-shirt.

Imagine. You’re a woman, walking down the street, just moving your feet from one to another place.

You see a group of men in your path. Perhaps they’re on a construction site. They hear your female footsteps coming towards them, they swing their heads around, look at you, and open their mouths to wolf whistle/catcall/tell you to smile, darl.

BUT THEN.

They notice you’re wearing a ONE DIRECTION T-SHIRT. They stop, paralysed by the sudden thought that you may, in fact, be a teenager. They shut their mouths, lower their eyes, and get back to work.

You’re invincible, in that 1D tee. It’s a classic age-scrambler: a single item of clothing with the power to confuse strangers and knock years off your estimated age.

Kate and Sophie

With my step-sister Sophie, when she was nineTEEN. So I was technically accompanied by a teenager.

And that’s great, but it’s not their only magical property. The 1D tee also makes you instantly popular with one of society’s most elusive, misunderstood demographics: The Teenage Girl.

When I wear my T-shirt, girls from the ages of six to 16 smile at me like we’re buddies. I’ve seen surly teenage faces transform from a smirk to a grin the second they realise we have the same core values in life (1D 4eva, etc). It’s completely delightful.

So, we arrive at the truth of the 1D tee experience: That a life lived in boyband fandom is just more pleasant. I know this because I’ve tried it both ways; I’m a fan, but before I was a fan, I was technically not a fan.

Pre-2013, there wasn’t a single 1D T-shirt in my wardrobe. Pre-2013, it would not have even occurred to me to count “Na na na na na na / na na na” as a legitimate sentence. It was a very different time. A darker time.

Sure, so the band sustained a 20 per cent reduction in male singer in 2015. Twenty-three year-old Zayn Malik successfully ‘Timberlaked’ his way out of the world’s most lucrative band. Just like Justin Timberlake left *NSync to pursue a solo career, ol’ Zayn thought he’d leave Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan to continue as a four-piece. It broke hearts around the world, but not mine. Oh no.

For one, I’ve already mapped out alternate lives for each of the boys. Harry stars in a Mick Jagger biopic, comes out as bisexual, and half-heartedly pursues acting until either Taylor Swift drops her standards again or they legalise polygamy for famous people. Niall starts his own Irish-inspired rock-pop band called The Chuckling Munchkins, and runs for office. Louis starts his own boutique record label for 1D tribute acts and releases a line of mahogany-scented pocket squares. Liam moves back to Wolverhampton, where he marries a sweet English teacher, and directs their kids’ school musicals. It’s all sorted.

Zayn onstage

Zayn Malik. Taken at the boys’ first concert this year, in Sydney. When we learn to sell our memories for cash in the future, this will be worth a fortune.

But quite apart from securing the future wellbeing of each boy, surely my T-shirts will be worth something one day, yeah? I mean, give it a few decades. One of the boys will do something truly magnificent or truly dreadful; Simon Cowell’s ghost will force the remaining members to go on a world nostalgia tour, and One Direction fandom will have a brief but intense resurgence. The robot-run future eBay will be overrun with teenagers wanting to buy one of my T-shirts.

Now that you know how lovely it is to wear a 1D tee in public, I’m sure you want one. But you can’t have one like mine. You can’t buy merchandise from their Sydney 2013 or 2015 concerts featuring all five original band members standing in a telephone box, can you? Because they’ve disbanded. You chose dignity and an adult taste in music over the 1D tee.

When I sell mine to your kids in 2040, who’ll be laughing then, ah?

(Me. I’ll be laughing. Just so we’re clear.)

@kateileaver

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Written by Kate Leaver

Wandering Australian journalist, professional-level Harry Potter fan, occasional funny person, gelato enthusiast. Still worried about the state of Britney Spears' mental health.