On ‘shipping’

Afy Nou
22 January 2016

I learnt a new word the other day.

My sister (who is 17 and cool) and I (who am neither of those things) were talking about YouTubers.

Well, she was talking about YouTubers and I was taking notes for use at trendy parties and such.

Then she said the sentence with the word in it that this blog post is about.

She said: ‘People always ship Dan and Phil.’

‘Hmm, do they,’ I said, nodding thoughtfully. Then I said: ‘What?’

‘People always ship Dan and Phil.’

‘They ship…?’

As she began to explain I couldn’t help but notice the overpowering brightness of her youth in comparison to the overpowering frownyness of my old, creased face.

‘If you ship someone it means you want them to be in a relationship. So, people ship Dan and Phil.’

‘They ship. So not, “they try to ship”, like set up. They either ship or they don’t.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Can you say, like, “I ship him.”’

‘No you have to say who you ship him with. But you can say “I ship them.” Like when there’s like a massive popular ship that everyone loves you can say “I ship them too.”’

‘Ah, I see. What?’

‘So there’s names for each couple’s ship. So Dan and Phil are Phan.’

‘So you can ship a ship?’

I looked this up afterwards. Apparently this whole ship business began in the 90s. Fans of The X-Files shipped Mulder and Scully, who were colleagues on TV – but in the steamy embrace of fanfiction, so much more.

These wishful fans were called relationshippers at first, then r’shippers. Today they’re just shippers.

Shippers who ship ships.

‘A ship might even be your OTP,’ sis continued, ‘one true pairing.’

‘Hey can I blog about this conversation, for work?’

‘Um. Okay.’

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