An epic Phan analysis awaits.
So. Yes. *Ahem* This is a bit nerve-wracking because of the comments I might get (but tbh I have a rubbish number of followers so it’ll probably just get ignored), so yeah.
(long I’m sorry oh god I’m a nerd)
Here it is.
I love Dan and Phil. Like I actually, truly care about them in way that I’ve never cared for celebrities or internet stars ever before. Why? Because I can feel the love between them, and I know they are genuinely good people. I’m also their age (right between, actually). I can relate to their experiences, both of them. They click with me.
I also wholeheartedly believe that Phan is real. (well, no one can be sure, but I would bet a helluva lot of money on it). If you’d like to read my ramblings why, feel free! Or just keep scrolling and avoid my madness, idc. I’d understand.
Before I start, listen. I don’t really “ship” people. Not that I see anything wrong with it, but I just don’t - especially not couples that I don’t believe are possibly canon. It’s never appealed to me. This might be because I’m 26 years old and totally missed a ton of internet culture…
guys, I was in high school when YouTube came out in 2005, so… The only other couple I have ever shipped was Brolin/Merthur because it seemed sooo plausible. I root for canon relationships in shows. That’s just me, but I don’t judge others! I’m totally a fangirl regardless.
For some background on me, not that it really matters, I have two bachelor’s degrees, a Master’s degree, and have just applied to PhD programs. I have traveled alone around the world and lived and worked in various countries, so it’s safe to say I’ve witnessed a lot of human behavior and interactions. I have also been in my fair share of relationships, had best friends that doubled as roommates, and even been in a secret “friends-with-benefits” sort of situation that escalated into more because I realized that I can’t, apparently, separate sex from emotion for very long (and I’m not convinced this is possible for any extended period, but I could just be a hopeless sap). I’m not saying that I know anything more than teenagers do. I’m a teacher. I respect teenagers. I just want to take preemptive measures in order to avoid arguments against me accusing me of being young/naive, because I’m neither of those things.
These are some facts that stand out about Dan and Phil that I just can’t rationalize if they’re platonic (though, again, I’m not some all-knowing oracle and could be wrong). I feel weird putting so much time and investment into such a
creepy detailed relationship analysis, and have been avoiding it, but they’ve pulled me in… and I’m also starting to get really annoyed by all of the poorly-informed and thought-through debates that focus more heavily on opinions than facts. The real truth is that NO ONE KNOWS THE NATURE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP. But I do think we can make a pretty educated guess. And here are the truths on which I’ve based mine.
1) They have never stated that they’re straight, so it’s wrong to assume as much. Even if we try to be fair and ignore old Formspring answers, we have no reason to believe that they’re hetero; all we know for sure is that Dan “likes vagina” (and also Evan Peters). Bi-erasure is so commonly talked about on tumblr that I’m sure you all understand this already, but it drives me crazy when some people spout out things like “They’ve repeatedly said they’re straight and not together, GAWD!!!” just… no. No, they haven’t. Why do people ignore Dan’s constant comments about guys being attractive? Phil’s much more quiet on the matter, but we all know what he’s admitted in the past (and he was in his 20s at the time, much older than Dan was when he claimed he often lied to get attention, and was probably much less likely to say anything untrue). Also, straight people don’t generally have problems admitting that they’re straight when asked. It’s quite telling that they haven’t.
2) They haven’t openly denied being in a relationship in YEARS. (A surprised Dan telling a phangirl no when she asked him on the street and a mouthed “no” at TATINOF don’t count, because what else was he supposed to do? But remember that the “no” did, apparently, follow a wink, so make of that what you will.) Why wouldn’t they put the phans to rest and just say “No, we’re not together” if they’re not? I refuse to believe that they’re simply manipulating us to believe in Phan in order to increase their views and popularity. If people believe that this is, in fact, what they’re doing, okay. Maybe it is. Maybe I am naive after all. I just think that they are better people than that, and if that were their intention, it would be played up much more than it is. Despite accusations of queer baiting, they’re actually very tame around each other. (I’ll get to that later).
3) They avoid stating that they’re single, at least in those exact words. Look at Jameela on BBC1 asking if they were and both just awkwardly laughing and Dan saying “Is it that obvious?” That’s evasion. So was their answer to the American radio interviewer who asked if they were married (awkward laughs and ”Don’t ask me about the future” instead of simple denial) or Phil reassuring a viewer of his live show that it was okay to be single without saying “I am too, I get you!” Not definitive in and of itself, but surely indicative of something.
4) If Dan and Phil were mixed-sex, ie if one of them were female, it would be much more difficult to argue that they’re platonic because of the whole “straight people of the opposite sex can’t just be friends OMG there’s always attraction there” (despite the fact that this isn’t necessarily true, it’s a common belief). Just an observation. So if two potentially gay/bi/pan guys live together, doesn’t that at least create a scenario of possible mutual attraction? At the very very least. Start to put these numbered points together, guys.
5) People wonder why, if they’re both gay/bi/pan (or even if just one of them is), they’ve never officially come out. That seems clear to me, and it’s also another reason I believe in Phan. If either one were to reveal his sexuality, it would immediately put pressure on the other to make a similar declaration, or at least to handle a bunch of invasive, personal questions. It would also basically force an official relationship confirmation or denial just because their audience would be relentless, and avoiding the questions would be just as telling tbh (as it already is now but x100). The best way to protect their relationship is to avoid stating anything concrete about their sexualities, though I do believe (or hope) that the hints we’ve been getting might be a gradual, unofficial coming out that won’t require any public declaration. If they weren’t together, Dan and Phil strike me as the kind of people who would have come out a while ago, especially Dan, since Phil is more naturally private.
6) I hate dredging up Dan and Phil’s private and largely deleted past, so I’ll just be general, but come on. Over the years, they’ve left a trail of evidence indicating a relationship so irrefutable that they’d be found guilty in a court of law if they were trying to defend their platonic-ness (if this makes sense). At the very least they’ve created reasonable doubt that should mean anyone with common sense should be able to admit that a long-term relationship is a distinct possibility.
And no one can tell me that the V-Day video was a prank. It’s much too genuine, detailed, and heartfelt, and not funny at all - shouldn’t pranks be funny?
7) There’s just the constant feeling that they’re hiding something and avoiding the elephant in the room. Sure, they play up Phan a bit now, at least more than they ever have, but in the big picture, they’re such small things. The occasional innuendo. Hands-on-heart. “Ironically” written vampire phanfiction (but goodness if that didn’t tell us how strong Dan’s emotions really are for Phil). We have ONE on-camera hug between them in SIX YEARS (2 if you count the tackle at the end of PINOF, and it was completely spontaneous). Yes, they always sit close together (their default, I think, which just shows their fondness for each other), but they generally avoid open touching that isn’t a pat on the back. And people think they’re queer baiting? I think the opposite. They know how to make fans happy, but they’re not going to make a total mockery of Phan and the idea of a physical relationship because it would turn their love into a joke. It actually makes me sad to look at collabs Dan especially has had with others because he is so much more unabashedly physical - hugging Caspar twice in their video and joking about him getting a boner because of it, touching hands with Tyler and saying that his crouching friend looked like he was giving him a bj, even Phil skipping around and holding hands with Dean was something he never would have done with Dan. Why? There’s clearly something to hide. Doing those things with each other, taking their affection up a notch, would increase speculation that might force a coming out, even though all of it was clearly a joke with other people. It’s sad they can’t just be themselves. They don’t even say very affectionate things (though we can feel the love through the screen in other ways, and the “I hate you’s” and “You’re the worst person in the world’s” carry a lot of subtext). I just think of Joe hugging Caspar from the back around the shoulders and saying “I’m so proud of you” in Caspar’s 5 million subs video. D&P don’t do that.
8) They just don’t act like roommates. It’s true that there’s not one “right” way to do anything, but look at other YouTube co-inhabiting duos. Joe and Caspar, for example. Yes, they’re shipped together, but so is basically everyone. They laugh about it. They’re very, very touchy with each other (*ahem*
because they’re not hiding anything *ahem*). Their apartment doesn’t feel like home, and they don’t seem to have many shared possessions. No one thinks that they’ll live together forever. Even Ian and Anthony moved into their own places, and stayed that way after splitting from their girlfriend/fiance. Why? Because they were financially independent and secure and wanted to start their own separate lives. Even if their friendship is as strong as ever, that’s all it is, a friendship. There’s just no great reason to have a platonic roommate for much longer than Dan and Phil have for anyone else in a similar position, especially since they’re both creeping out of their 20s and might naturally want to get their own place and look for a partner to settle down with. They’ve already done that. I think that if they live together for even one or two more years, that’s basically confirmation. Dan even said in the TABINOF audiobook “What if we ever don’t live together?” Not “when”, but “if”.
9) Can we stop talking about 2012? Aside from Dan’s snarky denial comments on tumblr and some scattered live show moments, we have no idea what happened. He’s lied about plenty (both of them, for example, have changed their origin story multiple times, despite the fact that real phans know the truth, which not only indicates that they’re hiding something, but that they’re willing to lie to protect themselves
for whatever the reason may be). If anything, I think Dan’s actions were of a protective person trying desperately to hide something important to him, especially because the video leaking had to have really hurt Phil - he wanted to protect Phil, and he didn’t care if he had to lie to do so. Moving further apart on camera may simply have been a way to keep their relationship personal and not for our consumption, to not make the same mistake again. If the video were a prank, and if Phan weren’t real, I don’t think he would have gotten so angry and defensive. A break up is definitely possible for around that time, which seems to be many people’s headcanon, but I just don’t buy it. Why would Dan have moved in with Phil that same year? I would never want to live with my ex, though I guess anything’s possible.
10) Just look at everything. All of it. The whole picture. Not just what I’ve said above, but the shared vacations. The movie premieres. THE FACT THAT WE HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ANY OTHER ROMANTIC PARTNERS FOR EITHER OF THEM IN 6 YEARS (and the phandom would have discovered this, no doubt). Their clear and obvious love, fondness, loyalty, mutual understanding, and even co-dependence. Dan’s occasional displays of jealousy in live shows. Little slip-ups that have gotten past (”the bedroom”, Dan’s duvet on Phil’s bed in the prank video and the pillows set up for two), sneaking off together at parties, never getting sick of each other. And yes, the old tweets and Formsprings, though I hope I’ve kept this analysis somewhat minimally invasive (
we all know what tweets I’m talking about).
In conclusion? I would be much more surprised if they’re not together than if they are.
But really… I just want them both to be happy. Their relationship is goals either way. Let’s leave them alone, stop arguing, and admit that we don’t know. They’ll tell us if they want to, or if not. (
but I sure hope so)