Leave it to a band called One Direction to swing both ways.
Since at least as far back as the Backstreet Boys, and probably much further, boy bands have been popular targets of gay rumors (And hey, it occasionally turns out to be true.) They coordinate their outfits and dance in sync, so some confusion is to be expected.
But the new crop of male pop groups is taking it to the next level: It’s unlikely we would’ve seen 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey affectionately nuzzle Jeff Timmons back in the 1990s. But the times, they are a-changin’. The latest wave of crooning dudes are serving us behavior that’s so homoerotic, it basically surpasses gay and circles back to straight again.
Case in point: One Direction. The Fab Five aren’t the least bit afraid of getting bromantic with each other in full view of the media—which has everyone from Lance Bass to The Wanted hypothesizing that at least one member is gay.
So maybe one is, maybe none are. (Maybe they all are.) Regardless, these guys are confident enough in their boy band-liness to let their brotherly love be known to the world. In honor of that, we’ve rounded up 1D’s 8 Most Bromantic Gestures.
1. The Ass Grab
The boys are awfully fond of subtle bum-touch during photo ops.
2. The Crotch Grab
Less discreet? The frontal grab, which the boys are even more fond of.
3. The Group Hug
This one kinda just makes you go, “Aww.” But we don’t remember New Kids On The Block being quite so touchy-feely…
Zayn’s peck on Harry’s cheek in that fragrance ad was nothing new. The lads have done plenty to make us think that “Kiss You” is more about their feelings for each other than any female in their lives.
5. Nipple Tweaking
Speaking of “Kiss You”… Harry and Zayn strike again! Popping up on the back of Zayn’s motorcycle in the single’s music video, Harry gives his bandmate’s nips a playful tweak. (Poor Liam is none the wiser off on his sidecar…)
6. Candy Thong-Nibbling
Just this week, Zayn and Harry’s bromance chronicles acquired yet another chapter when Zayn took a bite from Harry’s candy thong during a concert. Unfortunately for Zarry shippers, the thong was worn over his clothing, or else this moment would have been something else entirely.
7. Whatever This Is
We’re not sure exactly how to classify this — a hug? a snuggle? a photo op from a high school dance? — but we know a bromantic gesture when we see one. This is one, no doubt.
8. Ballroom Dancing
The boys have danced together in a number of music videos, but this was new. Niall and Harry did a nice waltz at a show this week—until Harry tripped and dragged Niall down on top of him. Accidentally on purpose? That’s our suspicion.