Imagine being IU for a moment. I know that might be tricky, but don't worry - I'll help.
I don't mean imagine being IU right at this moment in her career, but imagine being her back in the twilight of "Nation's Little
There you are, sometime in 2012, singing and dancing to "Good Day", "You And I" and all your other mildly-received hits at some gathering of Starcraft fans or whatever the fuck it is today. You don't actually even know what the exact event is, this is just the sixth thing your label has on your agenda for today and you don't care anyway - all you know is that you go up there and sing the twee songs that your songwriter wrote for you and act cute and entertain people. A gig is a gig, right?
The crowd of derpy sexually atrophied nerdboys and their drooling dads who just happen to be there because you're the half-time entertainment are eating this up, you suspect not because of the music, but because you're dressed in something like this:
The stares and catcalls from the rows of people who look like they have never seen a woman except for on TV before makes it feel like performing for an audience of sex-starved prisoners, but what's worse is the odour of unwashed socks and shirts - it's one thing to have to dress like a maid for these bullshit "cute" concepts, but to put up with the same workplace smells is taking things to a new level, and this isn't the first time. Frankly, you're fucking over this bullshit.
You can't wait for all this fucking crap to be over so you can go to bed but before then you've got a couple of jobs to do, so you get down to them. Firstly, some after-show interview where some cunt asks you the same three questions you always get asked and you have to answer them like you're doing it for the first time and pretend to be all "bubbly" and shit, something you can barely even do anymore. There was also a really insipid photo session that you barely got through without crying.
Once that's over, it's back to the hotel to open the latest batch of boxes of postal mail from your fans that LOEN just sent over - with the kind of mentally questionable fanbase you've been attracting lately, what could possibly go wrong?
No acid-spraying postal bombs this time around, but you've never opened so many bits of cardboard that smelled like stale piss, and that one letter with the pages glued together by a mystery substance had you dry-reaching. You probably would have actually vomited if you had anything in your stomach left to throw up, but your real diet is even less than what your character in Dream High ate, so there's no fear of that.
It's obvious that it's all these cute concepts and the "Nation's Little Sister" tag that is bringing in the pedos and making you a nerdboy psycho magnet. You're 20 years old for fuck's sake - fuck this shit. You're no dummy though - you know that there's a pot of gold in this and there's no way the label is going to let you stop doing this shit until you turn about 30 and can no longer pull off the cutesy look. Fuck waiting that long - you'll be hanging from a rope long before that eventuates.
The solution to preserve the last fragments of your decaying sanity is obvious. You get on the phone to your good friend Eunhyuk from Super Junior - you're not feeling so good, a visit might make you feel better. So might taking a photo together, "accidentally" uploading it to Twitter and completely blowing the shit out of your relentlessly annoying public image in a way that no label's PR department can do anything about.
I used this image because it's marginally less scary to look at than the real deal, okay?
LOEN and SM release the statements that you and everybody else knew they would. They do their best to exert damage control.
However, their influence only goes so far. Meanwhile, you don't say shit to anybody. You wait and cross your fingers.
Months go by. The crazy letters become crazier and full of heartbreak... "how could you do this?" etc... and then a wonderful thing happens - the absolute hardcore crazies stop writing. You still get correspondence from concerned fans, but nothing creepy like before. It's actually fucking working, these unwashed pedo freaks are leaving you alone. Also, LOEN doesn't know what the fuck to do with you anymore so you get to go on a little hiatus from schedules while they work out exactly how they're going to rejig your image, it's not like the old style will still work. They're talking about sexing up your image a bit but they're still trying to figure out exactly how. Great, you get a break and when you come back might get to wear proper adult clothes for once, that'll be nice.
While this is happening, a new kind of letter starts arriving in your mail. Here's what it looks like, with minor variations:
You don't know which groups are sending you these, but every time a group discards their usual "cute" concepts for a "sexy comeback", you nod and smile to yourself - you know why, that glazed-over expression in their faces is all too familiar, it's wasn't so long ago that you were in that place. Surely the next one of these letters has to come from APink - they seem to have resisted longer than most. Perhaps they secretly like it?
Oh well, that's their problem. In the meantime, it's time to be happy.
The moral of the story: whether you find IU sexy or not, IU is quite possibly the root cause of all the sexy comebacks in k-pop lately. Thank you, IU - if my make-believe scenario has even a grain of truth in it, the Fapgod has a special seat in heaven reserved for you. He'll even wipe it before you sit down.