What Two Grown Women Learned At A Wild One Direction Show
We went to see One Direction at Madison Square Garden. Now we get what being a teenager today is all about.
Katie: Hey hey! So...ONE DIRECTION.
Doree: Yes! So we got to MSG in time to see the opener, and girls were screaming and going crazy, and we couldn't figure out who was singing.
Katie: Yes. It was Ed Sheeran!
Doree: Apparently guitar beatboxing is a thing. I like that both of us had only heard of him in the context of like, gossip, but had no idea what his music sounded like or what he looked like.
Katie: I have a feeling they had only heard of him and not heard him.
Doree: The girls around us had certainly heard him. They knew all the words. How would you describe his music?
Katie: I would describe it as: the most annoying kind of music a white person can make. Sort of Kaki King meets Against Me!, which sounds like it would be awesome, but is terrible. He's really bro-ish.
Doree: Yes. I feel like he'd be one of those guys who wore those rope bracelets in the '90s. He might wear one anyway, or a pukka shell necklace.
Katie: I’d call it “dorm rock.”
Doree: I think you just nailed it. Dorm rock. Also made for singing along.
Katie: Totally. I wonder if he's actually popular with the bro set, or if his teendreaminess among young girls makes him too uncool for college guys.
Doree: I bet the latter. Also, how many guys did you see there last night who weren't dads? I think two? And those guys were on dates, which seemed...odd to me. But what do I know.
Doree: Let’s talk about the outfits we saw.
Katie: So many girls wearing matching outfits!
Doree: SO MANY!
Katie: Homemade fan T-shirts!
Doree: There was that group of girls in front of us all wearing 1D shirts tucked into miniskirts and knee-highs. And they put their arms around each other and sang along to one of the ballads! Not to sound like an old lady prude (which I am), but that girl in front of us on the escalator, who was WITH HER MOM, wearing sequined hot pants and tights? I feel like I saw too much of that on 14-year-olds.
Katie: Ooooooooh. :(
Doree: Yeah. :( But speaking of moms, there were a lot of moms! That mom right in front of us was probably confused as to why we didn't have a bunch of 10-year-olds with us, but this clearly wasn't her first rodeo. Unlike us, she brought earplugs.
Katie: I definitely had "a moment" with her where we made eye contact while plugging our ears and mouthed, "help," "I know," to each other.
Doree: She and her friend took a selfie pic, which was kind of cute. We probably messed up by not taking one of ourselves.
Katie: We definitely blew it.
Doree: Let's discuss the girl behind us. I mean, that was inhuman, the way she was screaming.
Katie: I’m pretty sure my right ear was more damaged from her even though the speakers were to our left. It was very LOUD, even the music was loud. That is something an old person (me) just said.
Doree: So...THE BAND. What did you think of their opening sequence?
Katie: I thought the video montage was cute — them riding like a red bus around London, etc. I feel like their gimmick right now is early Beatles when they were goofy and playful, and they're using their Britishness as part of that. And if you're going to emulate something, early Beatles is pretty solid.
Doree: Totally. Harry's hair is sort of Beatles-esque.
Katie: He's totally the Paul.
Doree: However, they are not Beatles-esque in that...basically none of them play an instrument. Niall sort of strums at the guitar, but he can barely play. Also, when he tried to sing while playing, he couldn't really handle it. So something that surprised me was that when I think about the boy bands of my youth, like New Kids, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, even 98 Degrees, there was always dancing involved. But with One Direction, there was no dancing.
Katie: This was a big disappointment.
Doree: Huge! Instead they are just really into jumping. And occasionally do something "wacky." Do girls today not care about coordinated dance moves?
Doree: So I also think that maybe the point is that their music basically all sounds exactly the same and has the same lyrics. Has it always been that way with boy bands and we just never noticed? Or are they particularly same-y?
Katie: Their upbeat songs are kind of all the same. I think their singles are pretty good, but what happens is that at an hour-plus concert, you're hearing a lot of the album tracks, and we don't live in an album-tracks time.
Doree: I like “Live While We're Young.” But ugh, those ballads. There is the one song about being in love with another guy's girlfriend if I understood the lyrics correctly. I mean it's sort of from the Taylor Swift school of songwriting. I guess it makes them "accessible," but it's so, like, fake-modest.
Katie: It’s very much like they're these humble guys who worship girls. It’s also that's sort of the "you don't know you're beautiful" thing.
Doree: Yeah. It’s fucked up!
Katie: Julie is very, very wise.
Doree: She really is. I am always suspicious of the guys who say they don't want you to wear makeup or like, brush your hair, and also that they are the only ones who appreciate your beauty. WTF is that? I mean the FIRST lines of the song are
"You're insecure, don't know what for,
You're turning heads when you walk through the door,
Don't need makeup to cover up,
Being the way that you are is enough”
Katie: At first I thought it was about girls who are maybe aware they're not head-turners, that guys will love them for them anyway. But it's still about TURNING HEADS WITH NO MAKEUP. And don't even get me started on the cult of guys THINKING they like girls with no makeup.
Doree: It's the worst. I only want to date someone who also likes me when I’m fully done up. Because in all honesty, I look better! Why would I want to walk around with no makeup?
Katie: It totally doesn't understand the concept that women care about their appearance for reasons other than attracting guys.
Doree: YES — that too. Actually, that's almost maybe even more important?
Katie: This reminds me of what we were talking about earlier, about girls wearing matching outfits and homemade fan shirts. That's a really good example of ways that women express something about themselves by their clothing that is totally removed from trying to appeal to men. Because those fan-made shirts are UGLY and their matching outfits are not cute.
Doree: REALLY ugly. Also, those girls come to the show with other girls; it's a girl bonding experience.
Katie: There's something about expressing yourself through clothing and wearing matching outfits with your friends that is empowering. You're communicating a very nuanced emotional experience of friendship and bonding through your clothing, and it has nothing to do with looking cute for guys. Except, of course, it's all under the auspices of totally loving this cute boy band. Speaking of clothing, what did you think of the band's outfits?
Doree: I was totally confused by Liam’s outfit in the first half. Was that a...tuxedo? Or was it a vest? But the pants were sort of tuxedo pants with the red stripe down the side. Then in the second outfit he was wearing a plaid shirt and khakis.
Katie: It was a "dad cleaning out the garage on the weekend" outfit. Are they doing a whole U.S. area tour, do you know?
Doree: I think they already did one, and this date was just like added one, and they're playing the Jingle Ball on Saturday.
Katie: That makes sense, because this seemed like it was kind of slapped together on the cheap — the anemic stage show and the video backgrounds were kind of lame.
Doree: Like they didn't do all the production, that makes sense.
Katie: By the way, I just saw on this on their tour schedule — the WORST corporate-named arena ever: the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida.
Doree: I love that amphitheater. I think he's like a personal injury lawyer. I asked my friend who's from Tampa about that once.
Katie: Can you imagine having to say "HELLOOOOO, 1800ASKGARY!!!!! SO HAPPY TO BE HERE TONIGHT! WE'RE ONE DIRECTION!"
Katie: One other thing I noticed was that for more than one song, they had the lyrics up on the screen.
Doree: But it's all of a piece, right? The outfits, the singing along. OH I JUST REMEMBERED — the Twitter questions from the audience they answered during the show through their screen!
Katie: I found that part really annoying.
Doree: It was so annoying! And went on forever.
Katie: It went on soooo long.
Doree: Next time we'll bring earplugs.