According to King Princess, the queer writer/performer of the ingenious “1950,” playing 1950 can be defined by:
“Queer love was only able to exist privately for a long time, expressed in society through coded art forms. I wrote this song as a story of unrequited love in my own life, doing my best to acknowledge and pay homage to that part of history.”
She then elaborates:
“I was reading a lot of gay literature and there was one book, The Price of Salt that really stuck with me because it’s just a beautiful story, and I think what I loved about it was it took place in the ‘50s and the way that queer people were allowed to be public was so censored it and it was all about body language and this kind of icy interaction because you had to hide yourself and so I was interested in the parallel between the metaphor of 1950 being how queer love looks in public and how it’s very similar to having a very cold relationship.”
These metaphors perfectly describe Zarry’s ongoing relationship, especially after the dizzying euphoria they shared so openly in 2013. Larries try to use similar logic to justify the apparent death of the Larry bromance after 2012, but the notion of “playing 1950” does not apply to Larry.
Mainly because it’s clear Harry and Louis were never romantically involved (since during the height of Larry in 2011 strong traces of Zarry’s romance was already apparent, from them sharing the same bed to snuggling unabashedly in plain view to tender handholding caught candidly on film) but also because after Larry’s friendship died in early 2012, they became totally indifferent towards one another. They were not behaving coldly towards one another as some sort of pretense to hide their secret love affair, they were not interacting because they simply didn’t want to and had no inclination to. Simply put, they had outgrown their friendship.
When it comes to Zayn and Harry, however, it was manifestly difficult for them to pretend to be uninvolved or emotionally uninvested, and they often failed at playing 1950, thereby giving us glimpses into the relationship that persisted between them behind closed doors.
Examples of them failing at ‘playing 1950’: Them slipping up and playing with each other’s fingers at the 2014 AMAs, Harry’s tell-tale body language in multiple interviews in late 2014 revealing his desperation and longing for Zayn, Harry kissing his hearts for Zayn at every given opportunity, Harry dropping the lyric ‘you weigh’ while Zayn was ill with an eating disorder, and lastly Zayn writing in his secret 2014 song for Harry “I Won’t Mind’ that they “are who we are when no one’s watching”.
Watch here (The 1950 part starts at 12:20)