Ask Me Anything About One Direction

Seriously, anything. I’m pretty sure I now know everything there is to know about these adorably over-stylized, manufactured hipsters. As I knew nothing about the band, my nieces (9 and 7) considered me the perfect escort for the movie One Direction – This Is Us: an intimate, all-access look at the boys’ rise to stardom and life on the road.    

The movie is one hour and thirty-two minutes. That’s a total of ninety-two minutes of One Direction. 5400 seconds of impossibly tight jeans, preppy jackets with just a hint of punk and perfect, just-out-of-bed hair.

It’s in 3-D. Harry was practically sitting in my lap. You could almost reach out your hand and brush his tousled hair out of his dreamy eyes for him.

It also received an audience rating of 76% on rotten tomatoes, which is proof that people should never be trusted. Or that our children collectively have way too much Internet access.  

My nieces and nephews are my absolute favourite people on the face of the planet and getting to spend time with them is an honour I don’t ever take lightly. My nieces are sweet and spirited, fabulous and funny, and I find myself desperately wanting to fit in with them because they are just so f’ing cool; way cooler than I ever was at their ages. Admiring their poise, I worry that they are way cooler than I am right now. I dance with them and sing with them and laugh with them, hoping I haven’t crossed the line between Awesome Aunty Wendy and  Mean Girls’ Amy Poehler.

Since I work alone and only attend geriatric workout classes as a personal policy, I’m not usually the oldest person in the room. The theatre though is brimming with under tens, all excitedly discussing who their favourite 1D-er is. The nine year old likes Zayne. The seven year old likes Harry but she also likes Louis, even though they have a life-size, cardboard cut-out of Liam at home. I do see two girls around my age who are there unaccompanied by kids and I spend the whole of the previews trying to determine if they are attending ironically. 

Trying to keep them occupied before the movie starts, I tell the girls that Harry used to date Taylor Swift and that rumour has it he’s the “trouble” she’s referring to in her song, Trouble.

“Really!?” they ask, wide-eyed. “No way!”


I’m buoyed by them being impressed with my knowledge of Hollywood gossip. This pushes me to share an age-inappropriate tidbit because I am obviously a very small person. I can’t help myself. I’m want to hit a home run. (Clearly my sister-in-law is not only generous in that she insisted on paying for our movie tickets and snacks, but that she also lets me spend time with her daughters unsupervised. I love her.) 

“When One Direction won an award at the VMA’s, Taylor was caught mouthing “shut ‘the f-word’ up!” Scandalous, right!?”

There! Who’s the coolest grown-up now!? That ought to make up for the fact that I don’t know the words to a single One Direction song!  

The nine year old: “what’s a VMA?”

The seven year old: “what does scandalous mean?”

“It’s behaviour that causes a scandal.”

“What’s a scandal?”

“Like, when people act badly publicly and it gives them a bad name. You know, like what Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky was a scandal.

They do not know.

“Huh? Who did what with a Monica?”

Oh f-word!

Thankfully, the lights dim and all attention is focused on the screen. The pre-tweens’ excitement is palpable.  The movie starts with baby pictures of the boys taken last week and the whole theatre collectively identifies them out loud.

“O.M.G! Harry!”





Who!? I think. There are five of these guys!? Zayn doesn’t spell his name with an “e” at the end?

What!? I think, as the entire theatre sings every single song, clapping and dancing along in their seats. (This includes the two girls my age, putting my initial curiosity to rest but leaving me with way more questions about them.)

I can’t even watch the movie because I am so busy watching my nieces on either side of me: the younger one’s feet bouncing in the air, the older one’s head moving side to side as she belts out notes like a rock star.

Usually, I feel so much uncertainty with myself so that no matter what I am doing I always think I should be doing something else. If I am pounding away at legal work, I think I should really be writing instead. If I am writing, I think I should be cleaning the house. If I am cleaning the house, I think I should be taking the dog for a walk.  If I am taking the dog for a walk, I feel guilty that I didn’t put in overtime hours of my legal work to get ahead. I live in this perpetual cycle of never being in the right place at the right time. Except when I am with my nieces. When I am with these precious girls, I am in the moment; knowing for certain that I am exactly where I should be. I should be doing exactly what I am doing with them. I should be playing with them or reading a story with them or being sandwiched between them at a movie. There is nothing in the world that could be more compelling. I wonder if this is one of the best parts of parenthood: the certainty of being just where you should when in the company of your children. I can’t imagine getting to feel that way for any extended period of time.

“Did you love it?” the girls ask, as we get in the car.

“I loved it!” I say. And I did. I love everything with them. 

I load iTunes and blast Live While We’re Young all the way home, fumbling through any lyrics other than “whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.”

Watching them in the rearview mirror, I wish they could stay young forever. I wish they will always want to play with me and read with me and sit beside me. I wish they will always need me to take them to a movie. And then I think how great it will be to get to watch them grow up. How amazing it will be to see their tastes change, to watch them hit milestone after milestone. I think about how awesome it will be when they get their licenses. How lucky my future kids will be when their cool, older cousins take them to see the latest movie about some new, overly-stylized boy band that their mom has never heard of.