leela that liveshow was. a lot. so cute. Dan talking about love made me 👀
it was definitely a lot oh my god. one of my favorites in a long time and a real treasure trove of open stories, asides, opinions, and general insights into his mind, his opinions on work, his life, and of course, yes, his thoughts on love. i almost wondered if he was a little bit tipsy from the sushi dinner he mentioned going on since he’s always sort of told us that he’s pretty sensitive to wine (he was tipsy while editing that sims video when he left the flipside christmas party in december and he’d only had one glass of wine?) because honestly there was so much rambling and vulnerability in this that i wasn’t prepared for. uhhh, brace yourselves bc this is like,, the longest shit i’ve written about them in ages. i can always count on a dan live show to bring out my inner desires to write an actual novel haha
INSIGHTS ABOUT HIMSELF
the meditation bit. that was so lovely on so many levels. to know that he’s tried meditating is one thing. to watch him try to walk us through some of the fundamental tenets of a meditative mindset was another. it was so fascinating to me to hear him confirm the way in which he feels plagued by the onslaught of noise in his life, and crucially, for him, that’s all online noise—he kept talking about imaginary conversations, how all of our communication is text on the internet, and that he ingests so many of those voices constantly and always feels their presence. even though that is a generalizable thing that all of us suffer from, to an extent, in a world where we’re so digitally connected, it’s staggering to think about the scale on which he has to deal with all of the white noise and that all of it is both distressing to him and also inescapable in that it’s the foundation of his career. i just see dan as being someone who is so internally conflicted about so many things and that includes, most centrally, the role of the internet and his presence on it, and it doesn’t take much reaching to understand why he must love and hate it in equal measure.
the hydration campaign. y’all i’ve been trying to track every stay hydrated mention since the one in pinof 8 when they literally made like a psa, with no explanation or context, about the importance of water and staying hydrated and just stuck it in the middle of that vid. i’ve lost track though bc they’ve worked it into nearly every video they’ve made since then and i WANT TO KNOW WHAT ITS ABOUT. i am adamant that it’s an inside joke of some sort. i don’t think they actually give a fuck how much water we drink lol. so today when dan was like “i need to find a way to work that into the next video .. .might already be in it,” and then at the end when he said he needs to leave to go “get hydrated,” i was living bc it was the most open confirmation yet that this is something they’re so intentionally doing and working into their vids. idk if it’s just a funny thing but … my instinct is that it has some sort of deeper meaning that only they know and i’m ANNOYED THEYRE ALLOWED TO RUB THESE JOKES RIGHT IN OUR FACES UGH. jk they can carry on w their married behavior but. i want it all to lead to some sort of announcement that they’re starting a joint bottled water business at the very least. or maybe its just a euphemism for sex. who knows. ugh
dan acknowledging his pretentiousness about music is all i’ve ever wanted. it’s so funny to me how just his self-awareness that he is very pretentious and particular about his tastes is all i needed to forgive him for all of it because what pissed me off more than anything ever about dan’s approach to talking about music were his flimsy attempts at trying to act like he was so accepting and tolerant of all people’s music tastes and that he’s some sort of diplomatic saint who respects and celebrates everyone’s preferences bc … literally no he fucking doesn’t he has never even tried to make it convincing hahah. so him just outright apologizing for it today in his usual self-deprecating fashion was like the funniest, best thing to me bc god at least he knows and realizes and like maybe now he can actually work on talking about music in the deeper and complex ways that he so clearly wants to. also as a music snob in my own right i feel him on this and i’ve always just found it way easier to preface every conversation w the clear statement that these r just my own standards and i’m a douche and i’m never actually trying to disrespect anyone who might like different things than me. anyway, i love dan
INSIGHTS ABOUT WORK & LIFE
i suspected and even posted about the fact that unexpected things might have happened this week that caused phil to be delayed in posting his video and dan to be all but silent on twitter for several days. i speculated dan may not have been in a good place this week based on his silence and also the way he seemed to teeter on the brink of quite overt negativity during last week’s live show. to me, today’s live show seemed fully in the throes of that negative headspace. there was a resurgence of bleak little comments about how he’s tired (of living), how he looks like a rat and doesn’t want to be reminded about the reality of his existence, how his life is a joke, how he can’t comprehend that anyone could draw inspiration from his videos or that his stories could brighten people’s days, etc. etc. all said as casual asides and mostly followed by little laughs as is his norm, but it was very reminiscent to me of the time in early january around his 2016 memes video and his first couple live shows of the year where he talked so frequently about craving death and feeling anxious and judging his own work output too harshly, and the constant pressure of scrutiny from his audience. i don’t think this live show was as bad as all of that but it’s clear that things might be a bit difficult right now and dan confirmed that himself when he stated that it’s been a challenging week in ways he can’t talk about with us yet. i was so interested to hear him say we could ask him about it in like five months though. literally,,, i put it in my calendar for august because i’m just so curious. we have almost no hints to go off of in terms of speculating about what it could be, but to me the fact that we would be able to ask him five months from now seems to suggest that it’s not personal (i jokingly wrote in tags that he and phil had gotten in a tiff this week lol) bc if it was he wouldn’t mention it at all i don’t think and definitely at the very least wouldn’t have given us such a specific timeframe about when we could ask about it. it’s likely work-related bc of that timeframe: a new project of some sort that will be out later this year, for which perhaps several planning meetings or deadlines had to happen/be met this week? it’s hard to say why that would put dan in such a negative headspace but he’s said before that he gets that way when he’s sleep deprived and he did just seem very very tired beneath everything. … also possible it could be about moving? maybe house hunting was very stressful and didn’t go to plan. late summer (five months from now) would be a fitting time for them to have made their move, and really it’s the only other possible thing i can think of with a timeframe that dan would specifically tell us. in any case,,, mark your cals for august y’all bc i actually can’t wait to hear more insights about this week even if we have to wait months for them.
that being said, the new dinof video is coming tmrw or the day after and he was still pretty vague about what it will be about. as i spelled out in completely unnecessary detail after last week’s live show i believe he was going to make the video about dropping the dinof user name but then changed his mind (this is the video he referenced today when he said “i was going to make a video but then decided it should be the next one” before going on like a 3-min rant about how sometimes he just feels the timing isn’t right to post a particular video.) so that leaves the field wide open for what this next vid could be. the only other hint we got was that it could be kink-related because the premium he opened that said “kinkshame me daddy” prompted him to say “well you’ll like my next vid,” but then he quickly walked it back as though to dispel anyone’s expectations that it would be kink-related? it was all a bit confusing. on that subject he did note down the idea of doing a video about going to the dentist back in a february live show, so there’s a high possibility to me that it could be about that since it’s like sort of (maybe jokingly) a kink for him, but he wouldn’t want to tease something that’s mostly NOT about kinks by saying it’s kink-related, hence his rapid back-tracking. but like. tbh who knows … dan is confusing and could pull something totally out of left field behind all of this quibbling. i mostly ardently agree with the way he told us to feel about it, which is to have literally no expectations or theories about what it could be hahah … best advice he’s ever given tbh
confirmation that he and phil will attend playlist this year, and a sort of allusion to the traditional lester clan april holiday in florida. probably means that he will join them again this year. it was kind of nice to hear him basically walk us through how all of their decisions about conventions and travel are made jointly, even months and months into the future, and to have no qualms with sharing that. he also just kept reiterating vaguely that they might have plans at various points of the year and idk about y’all but i feel like he’s trying his hardest to let us know that those plans involve each other and probs always will. could be work things (the same project that may have caused them stress this week), could, as he said in his own words back in january, be “life things.” could be both. but regardless, the plans are always danandphil things, both of them together, and i’m not sure how there is still a strain of people that insists on arguing that a moving apart or separation is on the horizon for this year. all of that is summed up in this one amazing exchange for me, when someone in the chat asks, “are you excited for australia again?” and he answers, “yeah, we are.”
i also really dug the insight about how he likes to structure his work in such a way that he’s working for three weeks straight with no days off and then takes a whole week to lose himself in a game. it’s very dan to be so all or nothing about the way that he works and to become consumed so completely by whatever’s at hand (whether it’s work or leisure) and although i might’ve suspected that that’s how he operates i don’t think we’ve ever heard him lay it out that clearly
INSIGHTS ABOUT PHIL & LOVE
that he opened this live stream with such an earnest celebration of phil (thanking him, literally, for existing and making videos even though it was technically a misspeak) was so lovely and not what i expected but it set a nice tone for the start of this stream. the bants-y way in which he acknowledge the subscriber gap was also a tiny bit noteworthy to me, especially in light of that ask i answered recently about how they must approach the subscriber gap. i argued it def isn’t something they are sensitive about and probs isn’t something they joke about either, but dan sort of showed that he might approach it w humor if the situation calls for it rather than ignore it altogether. interesting. he’s clearly so proud of phil and was a little flustered in talking about how exciting the milestone was. and then, relatedly, so so animated and excited about “promo-ing (awkward pause and sidelong glance) his pal” and the gym video. i fucking loved hearing his version of the story and how surprisingly soft and tender he sounded when he was describing phil on the phone asking for an exercise plan (like, his tone was verging on adoring there) and then the way he looked when he got back. the way that dan says “what happened?” when he’s recounting how he talked to phil after he got home literally set my heart aflutter bc it was sooooooooo concerned-sounding even in a re-enactment, even in front of thousands of people, so i can’t even imagine how worried he must have genuinely been in that moment. the thing w videos is that they allow these real-life stories that happen to dnp to take on a sort of surreal almost fictional feel bc of the storytelling dnp employ—videos have like a real narrative arc and they’re packaged to be entertaining so in some ways it’s easy to forget that this is actually a true thing that happened. phil lester went to the gym and threw up twice from over-exertion and came home in half the time he was supposed to be gone and dan, the worried partner, was there to receive him when he did. and then, of course, to get super angry on his behalf and tell us about it later. i was literally rejoicing to hear dan be so honest about his emotional reaction to this happening to phil bc it might be something he would have usually phrased another way (‘can u believe phil asked for this one thing and got this other thing instead what is wrong with people this is why we don’t go outside’) instead of literally just stating his emotion so bluntly (‘i was actually like really mad … like honestly i was so angry when he told me.’) that difference in communicating how he feels is so hugely important to me and it’s what gave the story so much dimension,, i could literally picture dan and his instinct towards protectiveness that we’ve seen time and time and time again when it comes to phil, just full of irritation, disbelief, and actual anger in that moment and he had no problem with telling us that was what happened. i nearly thought that when he said he couldn’t go to that gym bc he didn’t want to see kyle/leon, that he was saying any real-life encounter with him would end in dan giving kyle/leon an angry speech about his lack of professionalism and total ineptitude at his job. i totally believe that it would.
the other part of dan’s reaction that i feel is worth noting is the way that he immediately said to phil that he needs to learn to be more assertive in a knowing tone as though it’s something they discuss often and, to be honest, it IS something that has come up before over and over in the way that dan portrays phil. that he’s too “polite” to call people out if they’re abusing him online, that he believes in things like etiquette and courtesy, that his personality is adorable and, in not so many words, soft. we even have seen him describe it in certain specific real life scenarios. an example that comes to mind is when they were doing the joint live show in november last year and dan wanted to talk about the sound guy who fucked up his mic at dapgoose LA, subsequently causing him to loose his voice for the boncas. dan clearly wanted to go off about how incapable the sound guy had been but asks phil for permission basically, and phil tempers dan’s response a lot and recounts the situation diplomatically. a random example that also comes to mind from ages ago is in dan’s what not to do at the cinema video from 2012 where he talks about a scenario when he and phil go out to see a movie and he, dan, is assertive enough to both 1. ask for people to completely get up and move if they’re sitting in his and phil’s seats, and, 2. shush them if they’re being too loud. he even acts out phil saying “oh my god you did not just do that, i don’t know you,” and trying to hide. i feel like this is a difference between them that’s sometimes under-discussed or noticed because the main focus is always on their anxieties and insecurities and general distaste for human interaction. people also focus on phil making small talk with people in social settings and take that to mean that he is more confident and calm. but i earnestly believe that he is more reserved than dan in many ways and that includes in facing negative or stressful situations and dan, despite his own set of anxieties, has always been much more able and willing to demand and ask for what he feels he (or phil) deserves.
obvi the thing everyone wants to talk about (and i’m right there with y’all) is dan’s truly surprising decision to entertain a question about love and then give a definition of it. after a bit of waffling and dithering about whether it is or isn’t a social construct he seems to insist that it is a real feeling and defines it as “the fear of that person not being there mixed with sexual attraction.” super interesting to me because he seems to totally approach this question from his own perspective and experience which is why in the moment he seems to suggest that you need to experience sexual attraction in order to love people (and where does that leave people on the ace spectrum?) and, moreover, that love is definitely a feeling people feel (and where does that leave aromantic people?) he definitely interprets the question to be about romantic love rather than talking about something perhaps “safer” for his usual topics such as platonic love or familial love and it’s for that reason that i definitely think he was trying to say that this is what love means to him and in his own experience because i don’t think he would be so cavalier about conflating romantic and sexual attraction and implying that asexuality and romantic attraction cannot coexist in one person if he had had time to think about this answer rather than spontaneously deciding to answer it on the spot.
but that he’s speaking from his own experience obviously makes his answer profoundly interesting because he settles on, coincidentally or perhaps not, one of the only ways of expressing affection for phil by proxy that he’s ever been okay with sharing with us, which is that he needs phil around bc he can’t bear to be alone. this combined with the protectiveness/defensiveness he exhibits for phil pretty consistently, as well as the occasional recognition of phil’s creativity, are pretty much the full spectrum of ways in which dan ever talks about what he feels for phil in a public setting. it was so strangely emotional for me to hear him confirm that his fear of being alone and being without this hypothetical “love” is so fundamental to the experience of love for him that it becomes a big part of the way he defines it. i mean people make fun of dan’s neediness all the time in so many ways but he straight out confirms here that the feeling of needing your partner near you at all times and staving off the genuinely frightening prospect of the anxiety of being alone are so central to what he takes the experience of love to mean. and that’s true for both of them i feel because as “needy” as dan is, phil is just as attached, chooses to spend all of these moments with dan, chooses to call dan up on stage when he wins solo awards, chooses to travel and socialize and create and live with dan next to him always. the concerning degrees of codependency they exhibit are such common topics of conversation amongst us as outside observers that it’s very nearly startling to hear dan basically say that, yes, this dependency on this other person, this feeling of paralysis when they’re not there, that’s what love is to him, fundamentally. it’s the awareness that your life would be empty without them around. that is … concerning honestly, and as always i have some burning questions about how they make such an unhealthy level of codependency work but like. they do. they so clearly do. they have for so long and they show signs every day of only growing stronger and happier in their partnership, if that’s even possible.
then there’s the sexual attraction bit which like, sure. obvi.
i also thought it was immensely noteworthy that when he read out “some people never find love” from one of the chat comments he didn’t even try a little bit to make it relatable and crack some joke about being forever alone or even just a cheeky little “same.” like just, generally speaking, he approached this whole topic very much with the tone of 1. someone who has definitely experienced the emotion of love, 2. someone who is then trying to articulate the emotion of love as he experiences it, and 3. someone who still feels that emotion and is in proximity to that person to whom it is directed. there were no attempts at trying to say he can’t relate or that he doesn’t know (or to apply it to FOOD which he has said on countless occasions is the number one love of his life,) and if anything he got quite flustered and even red around his ears and cheeks by the end of the whole ramble. flustered but not actually uncomfortable, at least in my assessment. it was really so, so lovely and incredibly insightful. not a topic i ever ever thought i’d hear him venture into and certainly not in a live stream and certainly not in that much depth. to me the whole topic played out almost as though he couldn’t let some overly analytical smartass in the chat reduce this emotion that clearly means so much to him into a mere social construct or even a release of hormones (oxytocin). he needed to push back and play devil’s advocate, but instead of doing that in a contemplative philosophical way he somewhat accidentally got super personal with it and this ramble and completely rare look into dan’s experience w this particularly touchy emotion is what we got. it reminds me a lot of the vyou he answered back in 2012 about whether he believes in love, in which he is quite literally upset and completely rude to the person who asked it, saying “no offense to you but what kind of a stupid question is that?” as though he has never even entertained the possibility that people could not believe that love is a true feeling and emotion. it’s incredible to see that 6 years later dan has evolved in so many ways and is calmer and more thoughtful about so many things, but on this subject little has changed: love is so important to him and there’s no way for him to talk about it without immediately demonstrating that :( :( :(
“hydrate, meditate, contemplate, get a mate.” such a fitting closing line because is there any set of four directives that better encompass who dan is lol? overall such a good live show with so many moments of vulnerability and emotional openness. however dan really is in this moment i hope things only get better and better for him and that he can get over whatever hurdles have been holding him back from dinof and that he can edit/post this video and then let himself take that week off that he mentioned wanting, in order to play games and chill or at least get to a calmer place. love him lots :(((
(live show: meditation and hydration with your new life coach - 2017.03.14)