I just saw your tags on the reblog of GoodbyeAdulthood's ask about RBB. What was the acting out in 2012 that you are referencing? So much backstory to learn!
Oh goooooooood. Such a huge story. Trying to be brief but understandable: in spring 2012 Harry stopped cooperating with his closet as much as he had before, he started finding ways to desexualize or divert questions about girls (vs. Paris on Valentine’s Day, the radio interview when Louis stuck his hand down Harry’s pants the second they were asked about girls. Harry said to the female interviewer: ‘Yeah I’ll take you out on a date! We can do that right now!’). Obviously Harry doesn’t do stuff like that anymore. His behavior intensified until you got the very beginning of the U.S. leg of the UAN tour. Harry was asked what he thought of American women and he responded ‘I think they’re very polite’, leaving the interviewer dumbstruck. They were asked in an interview who is single, and Harry did not answer the question and all of the other boys looked completely shocked, and Harry eventually, after a long pause, answered the question (protesting he didn’t hear it). Louis stayed calm the whole time, then ended the interview early by moving everyone off camera. On stage Harry was pushing the homoerotic behavior more and more, not just the subtle sexual stuff that seemed to be just between him and Louis, but actual stuff for the audience, like kissing Louis on the cheek and stroking his cheek. And then, especially with the U.S., singing romantic lyrics directly to Louis, looking like the lovesick puppy he was (while Louis struggled to control his reaction).
So the beginning of the American leg of the tour, as a result of all this gay rumors were going through the roof, fans were screaming that they were on the verge of coming out, this was the time when the Stylinson love child doll was thrown on stage—and it suddenly got shut down and hard. Eleanor was flown in and we got videos like Eleanor and Louis on the balcony in Toronto while Harry did a double take staring at them, they started separating Louis and Harry on stage—putting another boy between them but they would step around him to interact together anyway, stationing Louis behind the couch, I saw Louis look at Harry once and then slap himself. At the same time, the other boys started acting very awkwardly homoerotic, and when they tried it on Louis Louis pushed them away or gave them withering looks. So when the same tactics were implemented on the tmh stage—separation of Louis and Harry, ramped up homoeroticism between the other boys—I knew what I was looking at.
They also did the Much Music interview in Toronto at that time in which they ‘denied’ their relationship, and according to a story told by Dani they had to stop filming in the middle of it and take a break because the denial was so difficult for them. In that interview, you could see Harry get pointed about asking the female interviewer about her interest in seeing boys kiss, and I think that was him questioning the whole premise of why they must be closeted.
While this was going on Harry was acting absolutely miserable. And then they performed in Chicago, and Harry went to kiss Louis on stage at least a couple of times. He went to kiss Louis on the mouth and Louis tore his face away and then said very obviously NO, and Harry laughed in a hysterical manner. Then Louis went to sit down, looking like he was getting over the shock. And then I think Harry went to kiss Louis a second time, and Louis put his hand up to cover their mouths at the last minute and the camera got them just as they were pulling away, so that it looked like Harry was ‘whispering into his mouth’.
I think Harry came close to breaking their closet, without thinking of the consequences. And that was the close call for them, and after that Harry started getting a bunch of protest tattoos—the Temper Trap lyrics about a closeted man fighting against oppression that he had tweeted before, ‘I can’t change’, the hanger, the masks, the cage, etc.
I think in 2012 Harry was more innocent, and I’m thinking that 2014 is better planned.