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OTP (One True Poll)

* Check out the follow-up poll for this post. It's much more comprehensive. And longer (which means it's more fun).

I found this post (through metafandom, I believe) on OTPness to be interesting. Especially some of the ensuing discussion/disagreement. I was struck by what I saw as a huge definitional gap between some of the participants as to what having an OTP actually means, even though it's recognized that it literally stands for "One True Pairing". So, in my fashion, I decided to poll on it. :)

Whether you have an OTP or not, take the poll and choose which definition best fits your understanding of the term. Go!

How do you define OTP?

Recognizing only one pairing (One True Pairing) as valid in canon.
Having an exclusive preference for one particular pairing.


( 73 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
The first one doesn't really make sense to me for many canon, considering how characters often go through two or more relationships in the course of the series (especially in the Buffyverse). It also is odd to me, since it's not unusual for me to ship pairings that aren't canon and are extremely unlikely to ever get together in canon.

I assume you mean "exclusive preference" as "I only ship these two characters with each other" as opposed to "THIS IS THE ONLY THING I SHIP IN THE ENTIRE CANON". Because that's pretty rare for me.

I've seen people use OTP to mean that it's just their favourite pairing, not the only one they ship those characters in. I do that sometimes too, if asked about my OTP, since I have multi-shipping tendencies.
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:36 pm (UTC)
The first one doesn't really make sense to me for many canon, considering how characters often go through two or more relationships in the course of the series (especially in the Buffyverse).

Yeah, exactly. I read that option and went, "Whaaaa? How is that even possible in most fandoms?"

I've seen people use OTP to mean that it's just their favourite pairing, not the only one they ship those characters in.

I'd say this is closest to me, because I do like other pairings (as well as Spike and Buffy in other pairings), but Spuffy is by far the majority of what I read and write.
(no subject) - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 12th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elisi - Jul. 13th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 13th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
I find it interesting that though for other people and for discussions, I define OTP as a preference, for myself, I define it as a chosen canon ship I want to see after it started/was hinted on screen. I'm multishipper :)
I call my OTPs Buffy/Spike, House/Cuddy, Doctor/River, Jack/Ianto and other stuff that was clearly shown (or heavily hinted) on screen. All other, non-canon pairings, I prefer to call 'my favorites', but not OTPs.
But when discussing ships in general, I will use OTP as a term for perosnal preference of a person who has only one pairing, regardless of whether it's canon or not.
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Obviously, the first poll option is dependent on a ship being canon, but the second isn't. And I've seen some people with non-canon OTPs. But I'm getting the feeling that what OTP means varies widely depending on who you talk to. :)
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:28 pm (UTC)
I've always seen someone declaring a 'ship as OTP to mean it's their favorite. Another problem with the first poll option is than many people's OTPs are obviously not canon (though obviously non-canon pairings may be more common in anime fandoms than tv ones).
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)
Very true. :)
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
I have, like, three true pairings, but it's definitely the preference thing.

There are people who think the other way?

There are people in this world who have the raw nerve to think diffrently than ME?


This is almost as bad as that time I found out about the Sun.
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC)

I think exactly like you. In fact, I am you. You're hungry. Get some food.
(no subject) - me_llamo_nic - Jul. 12th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 13th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
You know, I think it's entirely possible to be okay with, or even to actively root for, a certain canon 'ship, while having a strong (or exclusive) preference for a completely different 'ship in fanon/fanfic. For example, I have a het 'ship that I really want to see in canon on Eureka, but I almost exclusively read/write a slash ship for the same show.

But there are people who will swear up and down that pairing A is the only possible canon pairing, and anyone who likes pairing B is delusional and stupid. And then folks who feel the same about pairing B will get just as pissy about pairing A.

Honestly, though, it's rare for me to have anything like an OTP, because I don't really buy the idea of soul mates, or that there's only one person out there who could make another happy. As much as I love Spike/Buffy, in the hands of a good writer, I could believe in Wes/Buffy, or Spike/Faith, or... Well. You get the picture.
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:55 pm (UTC)
For me, OTP is less about believing that two characters should only be with each other. It's more about just liking those characters together to such a ridiculous extent, you have to give them a special name. :)
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I think I've only used the phrase OTP in an ironical fashion, usually preceded by "ZOMG!!!" and followed by "!!!1111!!ELEVENTY-ONE!!1!" and referring to phenomena such as the Clinton-Obama Caramell Dansen video.

Jul. 12th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
lol! Yeah, I've seen other people who only use it facetiously. :)
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
The second choice is the only one that makes the slightest bit of sense to me.

Except for Friday Night Lights. In that fandom, and that fandom alone, the first one makes sense to me because I would seriously go insane if Coach/Mrs. Coach weren't together.
Jul. 12th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - penny_lane_42 - Jul. 13th, 2010 12:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 13th, 2010 12:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - penny_lane_42 - Jul. 13th, 2010 12:39 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
I've heard people use it to describe a three-way, platonic friendship between characters, or a character who can be paired with more than one other character, e.g., Buffy/Angel/Spike as an OTP. Does that make any sense? Is it perhaps only people in my other fandom who use it that way?
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:32 am (UTC)
I typically hear B/A/S referred to as an OT3, which is a variation on OTP. Though I haven't heard it used in reference to a platonic friendship. In my experience, it always has romantic/sexual connotations.
(no subject) - cybertoothtiger - Jul. 13th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - menomegirl - Jul. 14th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
Okay, now I've gone through and read the linked post and whoa. All of a sudden there's, like, anger that seems to come from nowhere. I'm thinking there must be some sort of history with those people.

Anyways, I literally haven't met anyone who I think believes that OTP means THE ONLY PAIRING ANYONE CAN BELIEVE IN EVER AND IF YOU DON'T YOU'RE WRONG WRONG WRONG. Like, who are these people? It may have originally meant that, but it definitely now means "preferred pairing." This is a whole lot of anger over semantics. And semantics absolutely can matter...but not when you're talking about fandom!

Gah. People are crazy. I quit.
Jul. 13th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Heh. That post is something else, isn't it?

I have a feeling that a lot of hostility is coming from Old Who fans who abhorred the Doctor/Rose storyline and who are irked by fandom's vehemence about it. And...well, I sympathize cause I am one of those Old Who fans who gets *rollseyes* at Doctor/Rose. On the other hand, the original poster opened her post very reasonably and openly, so I didn't have a problem with it or the ensuing discussion over what constitutes an OTP. It's just when it degenerated into pretty blatant hostility that I proceeded to *headdesk*.

OTPedness is an interesting topic, though. :)
(no subject) - penny_lane_42 - Jul. 13th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ruuger - Jul. 13th, 2010 07:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zanthinegirl - Jul. 13th, 2010 10:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
I always thought of OTP as the one pairing to rule them all, crossing fandom lines. Which is why I've never been able to decide which one of my potential OTPs is my actual OTP. The leader tends to favor whatever fandom I'm more involved in at the time.

I don't know how you could ever be a happy fan if you followed the "My OTP is the only option" train of thought, especially in the Buffyverse. Willow/Tara are one of my OTPs, but I happily ship Willow with Oz and Xander.

Jul. 13th, 2010 03:10 am (UTC)
Huh. I have different OTPs depending on which fandom I'm looking at. Xena/Gabrielle, Buffy/Spike...okay, I don't have many OTPs. But those are my two. :)
(no subject) - ladycallie - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
The only person who is qualified to pick option A is the creator and runner of the show in question. Anyone else espousing this opinion is talking out of an orifice not found above the shoulders.

I went for B. I may enjoy more than one or two ships but there is only *one* ship that I have stars in my eyes for, that I write for and gather pics and vids for. They are the *only* couple that occupies me when I'm sleeping, cooking, or showering. Or driving. The only one that reduces me to 12-year-old level squeeing. The only one I mean when I declare "I love my ship." To me, that's an OTP.
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Exactly. There are many pairings I enjoy to some extent. But there's only one that I love.
Jul. 13th, 2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Good grief!
It's a preference. The first option is odd. I agree with samsom That sort of OTP gets written by people with names like Joss Whedon. All others can calm the eff down and go with choice B.

I read that linked post and was baffled. I'll leave them crazy Who people to their funny rants and stay over here with the folks who argue about important stuff, like what Buffy really smells like, and whether or not Spuffy did indeed destroy fandom. *smiles big*

ETA: *facepalm* Sorry for all the edits. Tequila, thou hast ruined me.

Edited at 2010-07-13 02:01 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:12 am (UTC)
Re: Good grief!
lol! I don't drink tequila anymore. I had a Tequila Shot Night years ago...it turned me off the stuff completely (6 tequila shots in half an hour? Not of the good).
Re: Good grief! - samsom - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Good grief! - aerintine - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
To me OTP just means the pairing I like best and prefer to write/read about. But I've certainly run across plenty of people who seemed to be all about option 1.
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Word. It seems our corner of fandom is fairly unanimous on this one, though. I consider that a good. :)
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
I always thought OTP meant the ship that you preferred above all else. So you could have an ultimate OTP or a ship OTP. I read the link and I didn't really connect OTP with what was being discussed about the Who Fandom. That seemed more like a discussion about shipping and Who vs. OTP's.

Jul. 13th, 2010 03:14 am (UTC)
The comments on the linked post were odd. I think some other issues were being conflated in with it. The post seemed to be basically about mono-shippers vs multi-shippers, as connected to OTPedness. The comments went some other places.
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:56 am (UTC)
OTP is always referred to as "my OTP is..."

It's ownership, and you can't own canon ;)
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
I own vamp!Willow. Really. ;)
(no subject) - ms_scarletibis - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyofthelog - Jul. 13th, 2010 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:32 am (UTC)
The fairly narrow breadth of our choices perplexes me.
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
I imagine it'll make more sense once you read the post that inspired the poll.
(no subject) - waddis - Jul. 13th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ladyofthelog - Jul. 13th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Here via metafandom
As someone new to the Who fandom, I read that post and found it completely bizarre. I know there is a TON of tension with Ten/Rose shippers vs. basically everyone, but I've been in other fandoms with huge ship wars, and even so, I've only ever seen OTP defined as "my favorite pairing." Now, of course, some people like to argue that their OTP is the be-all-end-all of canon, but that still never made it part of the term itself.

Indeed, for me, it never even meant that it was the only pairing I could enjoy with those character, or that I thought those characters were definitely soul mates or whatever. It's just the one I love in a different way.

If something is my OTP, it's about ME, not about what I think is "best" for the characters, or "right" canonically. I OTP-ship Spuffy like crazy, and while I certainly think there is potential there for a real, loving relationship to develop, I would never deny that their relationship is also really dark, complicated, occasionally somewhat twisted, and not something I would actually recommend to Buffy if she were a Real Life Friend. I also won't deny that Buffy/Angel is also super-important in canon.

Spuffy is one of my ultimate OTPs not because I think it's the best interpretation of canon, or that the two characters HAVE to be with each other and no one else or they won't be happy, but because it hits all of MY fictional-relationship kinks in an awesome way, and was great to watch. That's all. It's about me and my preferences, nothing else.
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Here via metafandom
Word. Right down to the Spuffy OTP. :)

I think a more detailed OTP poll is in order to follow-up this one. I'm gathering some questions from the comments as to distinctions people may have. It's an interesting topic (And kinda a shame it went all wonky on that Who post).
Re: Here via metafandom - agnes_bean - Jul. 13th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Here via metafandom - gabrielleabelle - Jul. 13th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
I mean, I'm kind of handwavey with the OTP thing. I don't take it very seriously. Of course Spuffy is my quote-unquote OTP, but that doesn't stop me from loving up some other pairings or disliking them shipping with other people from time to time. (Spangel, Fuffy... the good stuff.)
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Heh. You're cheating on your OTP. :)
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
I tried to read the linked post but got lost pretty quickly (I know nothing of Dr. Who.) (but whoa boy, there are some angry comments there.)

The second option is the way I've always thought of what an OTP is. But I have seen comments by fans who act as if their OTP is the only valid pairing.
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Same here, though not many of those fans appear to be voting on this poll. Huh.
Jul. 13th, 2010 05:31 am (UTC)
I get irrationally annoyed when people interchange OTP with 'ship. Like, there are people who will say: "House/Cuddy is my OTP. And so is House/Wilson." Um, NO. I know that people will always interpret OTP differently, but the exclusivity is right there in the name - ONE True Pairing. You can 'ship that person with others, but the OTP will always be the one you prefer above all others.

(That's my interpretation, anyway. I know that there are some people who think that the one-ness refers to the show as a whole, which makes very little sense to me. I usually only have one OTP per show, but that's because I become very single-minded when I find a pairing I like enough to declare it my OTP.)

(And now that I've gotten to the truly idiotic comments in that post:)

I have NEVER heard of anyone who declares an OTP to mean that as "all other 'ships are now invalid for EVERYONE EVER". OTP-ing is nothing but a personal choice, it's not a universal thing and if you think it is? I'm sorry, I'm not even sure I can have an argument with someone whose logic does not resemble my Earth logic (or someone who insists that my interpretation of the acronym is invalid simply because they take it to mean something different. And apparently something different that 98% of fandom doesn't agree with.)

Edited at 2010-07-13 06:13 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
I get irrationally annoyed when people interchange OTP with 'ship.

Interesting distinction. *ponders*
Jul. 13th, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
Eh, 'OTP' confuses me. I use 'OTP' for Buffy and Spike, but I also use it for Spike and Angel, and then Angel and Darla. I'm also not willing to budge on any of them. XD It's complicated.

You can't knock multi-shipping. It's how I've managed to not be annoyed by any of the romances in New Who. I loved the Doctor & Rose when it was all about them (granted, I was 13 at the time, so who knows how I'll feel about them on re-watch), then I easily moved on to Ten and Martha, and now I love Eleven & Amy and Amy/Rory equally. I think conflict happens when people actually want their ship to end up together - so, I guess, when people define their OTP by the first option. Shipping, man. It's like religion.
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Shipping, man. It's like religion.

Word to the max. :)
Jul. 13th, 2010 07:17 am (UTC)
I've always understood OTP in its strictest sense as basically short-hand for "I'm only interested in this one pairing and would watch a show where the two of them stand in an empty room snogging for 45 minutes and what do you mean there are other characters in this show too?"

So in a way my answer would be between those two options - the OTP might as well be the only pairing (and the only characters) in the fandom because nothing else matters. At the very least it means not wanting to see the two halves of your OTP in relationship with anyone else, sometimes to the degree that you dismiss any other canon pairings that may have existed for them ("He never loved X at all, Y is the only true love that he had. Also, X was abusive and ugly and he always faked his orgasms when they had sex").

Hence one of my interests being "Not having an OTP" :)

(the closest I've been to having a true OTP was Sheridan/Delenn in B5, because back in the day I was only interested in reading J/D fic, but even then I liked Anna/Sheridan and didn't mind pre-series Delenn/Neroon or post-series Delenn/Ivanova - it was only during the time that they actually were together in canon that I didn't want to see them with anyone else)

Edited at 2010-07-13 07:19 am (UTC)
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)

I think your initial paragraph would fall more into the second option because it's still in the realm of personal preference. But with this:

At the very least it means not wanting to see the two halves of your OTP in relationship with anyone else, sometimes to the degree that you dismiss any other canon pairings that may have existed for them

That stumbles into the first option (and does seem to preclude the second) because that is making objective declarations about the canon of other ships.
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:45 am (UTC)
I ticked the second box, but it's not even that - in the Buffy verse I have two OTPs: Buffy/Spike and Spike/Angel. Often these are in conflict. I use OTP as a shorthand for a couple that I ship.

And as for Doctor Who... oh, don't get me started. *g*
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
I use OTP as a shorthand for a couple that I ship.

*g* That seems to irritate some people. :)
Jul. 13th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC)
The thing is, while Option 1 seemed too strong a statement as a definition of OTP, Option 2 didn't seem strong enough. "One True Pairing" feels like a phrase that should mean more than just a preference.

(I actually rather like ruuger's OTP definition just above.)
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
It appears most people who actually have an OTP would disagree on that, though.
Jul. 13th, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I had to think hard about which option to choose, as my Spuffy heart has led me to be vehemently anti-Bangel over the years, but then I remembered that I am a hardcore Angel/Cordelia and Angel/Kate shipper, so I picked the second option. Hell, I'm a big fan of Buffy/Riley too, as I thought it was adorable in s4 (I'm still pissed how they blatantly stomped all over that ship in s5).

But yes. I tend to ship characters with different partners at different times, most notably Angel and Cordy (who I lovelovelove with Doyle too). But when it comes to Spuffy I cannot accept Buffy ending up with anyone else, because I felt that that ship was the culmination of her journey to find the partner that could accept both her dark and her light. I think my OTP-y views are reflected in my RL belief that there is not just one person out there for everyone - it depends on who you meet and at what stage in your life you are at.
Jul. 13th, 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
Interesting thoughts. :)
( 73 comments — Leave a comment )


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