Being in my mid-20s, I was almost positive it could not happen again. I had taken precautionary measures to make sure it would not happen again. I had already gone through a grueling relationship with the Backstreet Boys, who consoled me during the tough transition between schools from 2nd to 3rd grade as they courageously told me, “What you did and where you’re coming from…I don’t care. As long as you love me.” This unconditional love caught me off guard in my fragile, vulnerable state–and I was theirs. As with any first relationship, the connection was a shock to my tiny blood-pumping veins. I did not know how to handle the situation and willingly dove head first, straight into their sensitive, open arms…At that point in time, I was blissfully unaware of the infamous term “boy band.”
For many years, they continued to shower me with affection. No other boy could have turned my attention away; these five Backstreet Boys were my first true loves. Even as other “boy bands” vied for my attention, I remained loyal. Sure, I flirted on occasion with BBMak, Five, and LFO, but that was the extent of it. And I did not dare to even go near ‘N Sync because I knew they were the Backstreet Boys’ main rival. I was the model of the perfect girlfriend. And why shouldn’t I be? They unabashedly promised me unconditional, everlasting love and even professed it numerous times in front of enormous crowds of people. They were so funny and outgoing but sensitive and serious at the right moments.
Unfortunately, it was around junior high that things started to change. My love-blinders were slowly beginning to wear off, and I started seeing clearly for the first time. I began to question little things here and there. For example, in 2001 they released a song called “The Call,” in which they talk about the advances of another woman and sing, “I can’t take it back; what’s done is done. One of my friends found out that she wasn’t the only one.” I wasn’t sure what they were trying to say even though I had a good idea. I really do not like to be called naive, but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially since that same year, they proved they still loved me with their song “Shape of My Heart.” They actually received a Grammy nomination for it, and I was so, so happy for them. But I just couldn’t help thinking about where we stood. At a tea party, I asked my friends for advice. And that was when it happened. Each one of them blankly stared at me. Then after an awkward moment of unbelief and silence, one shouted, “Wake up! They’re not in love with you! They’re a Boy Band!”
I was shocked. How could my friend say this to me? I indignantly excused myself from the room. At the time, I didn’t appreciate the delivery but to be honest, I’m not sure anything else would have gotten through to me. The next day at school I decided to take a break from the Backstreet Boys sketches I had been working on and looked around at the other girls nearby. It’s amazing I had never noticed it before. There were girls everywhere with Backstreet Boys paraphernalia: Backstreet Boys backpacks, Backstreet Boys books, Backstreet Boys shoes! It was like they had gone into my bedroom and stolen everything I had ever owned! But they hadn’t; these were their belongings. In my sweaty fervor I darted my eyes around some more and noticed groups of girls giggling at pictures of the Backstreet Boys and having heated discussions about who deserved to be president of their Backstreet Boys club. It was clear. All the signs were there. I was the epitome of the fool in love. And clearly, I wasn’t the only one. This was definitely not turning out to be the kind of love story Disney had taught me to expect.
Having had my heart broken I solemnly promised never to fall for a boy band ever, never, ever again. And I kept that promise with my hardened heart for many, many years…until now. I have fallen in love with One Direction. How could this possibly have happened? It was just a few times that I had heard their song “What Makes You Beautiful” on the radio during some of my less flattering days. And just a few times that I had come across their beautiful smiling faces on magazines in the grocery store. I would laugh all these things away thinking they had no effect on me. I knew what their game was. I knew what they wanted from me. I knew they were a boy band.
But the more I saw One Direction and listened to them, as the media forced them upon me, I began to see a flicker of something special in them. Whether it was their clean-cut nature or their ever-persistent sweet smiles and candid fun-loving nature, something made me feel that they actually believed the things they were saying and singing to me. It was getting more and more difficult to shake this thought out of my mind. Of course, eventually, I was rendered helpless against their surprisingly deep-for-18-silky-voices, boyish model good looks, and heart-breakingly thoughtful lyrics. I know, I know. Before you say it, I promise I still am extremely cautious as I proceed into this relationship with a boy band. I know exactly what I am getting myself into. I understand how this boy band thing works now. I’m not as naive as I was at the age of 9. And I’m sorry this took so long to get out. But all I really want to know is.. One Direction, do you really love my “Little Things“??