One True Pairing

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You may be looking for the zine publisher OTP Press (aka One True Pairing Press) or the zine publisher OTP Press (aka Other Times and Places Press).

Synonyms: monoship
See also: OTC, Shipping, Multishipping
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One True Pairing, or OTP, is a fan's favorite pairing in a given fandom. The term implies extreme devotion, and some fans have no interest in creating or consuming fanworks for anything but their OTP. However, other fans with OTPs are also interested in fanworks for other pairings or fanworks with no pairings at all (gen). OTP is pronounced "Oh Tee Pee."

Only shippers can have an OTP, and not all shippers have one. Having an OTP does not preclude a shipper from enjoying gen fanworks.

The opposite of an OTP is a NOTP. OT3 is a riff on OTP, and means "one true threesome" - there are a number of other terms riffing on OTP that refer to polyamorous ships.

Original Understanding of the Concept

Back in the days of Mono-Fandom fans, the term OTP meant the only pairing that the fan was interested in, period. There wasn't even a second fandom, let alone a second pairing within the fandom, that was included as part of the definition.

One of the first uses of the term was in 1984 from a summary from the publisher of zine Alternaties #2, "This zine has something for everybody...The stories are mostly Spock-centric, so if you love a certain Vulcan, this one's for you!...And boy, does he get around -- we have Kirk/Spock, Spock/McCoy, Spock/Chapel, Spock/and various others, including T'Pring...And of course, more Kirk/Spock, because we all know that's our one true pairing!!!...Variety is the spice of life -- and this zine is extremely spicy."

Another early mention was in 2002 in Discovered in a Letterbox #23 in which a fan commented on whether Daniel (in Stargate SG-1) could be slashed with anyone other than Jack: "... I guess that could be applied to any fandom and the idea of OTP (one true pairing)."

Contemporary Usage

As time went on and multishipping became more common, the term OTP and its derivatives became more synonymous with shipping, with some fans using OTP to refer to their favorite pairing in a particular fandom, rather than their favorite pairing full stop.

However, a September 2021 tweet by @DANILALONDERS that treated the terms "ship" and "OTP" as interchangeable received some pushback from fans.

@DANILALONDERS

no more SHIPS we gotta bring back OTP[1]

@RatNeon

But there's a difference! OTP stands for your most favourite ship, you obsessed with, which you think is or supposed to be canon. When ship is just relationship you enjoy[2]

@fujowshe

otp is ur ride or die. the one you write ship manifesto for. your entire lj / tumblr / twt personality. ships are just the revolving pairings you read fics for. the two terms are not interchangeable. fandom etymologists would be disappointed with this.[3]

@laraisuncool
They mean different things…

Ship is any pairing you like

OTP is your favourite[4]

@LiliLiliLilianB

but ships and otp are different thoo!! ships are just casual, like,, canoe or like,, you know,,, pirate ships. otp is like your mothership!! like the biggest ship in your whole armada!![5]

Decline in Use?

Fans have debated whether the term "OTP" has fallen out of use in recent years. Some believe that it has simply given way to the term "ship", while others insist that the term is still in active use.

[@DDTaylorificus]

Did people stop using OTP as a phrase??[6]

[@bubbleyoongz]

I think so? I never really noticed it but yeah it happened, back in like 2016 i remember it being used a lot and over time I guess it just kinda faded and people just use "favourite ship/pairing" now[7]

[@Ivana2804]

No. Maybe some people on Twitter have decided they've over it or something? It's definitely used on Tumblr, I saw it used there in ship asks going around last week.[8]

@random_moomoo1
Lmao i remember we used that word constantly in like 2013-2015 djskdjsk

I think we used shipping/to ship as a verb , while the noun was OTP (or simply "pairing") instead of ship

So like "I ship this pairing" or smth

On the russian-speaking side of the internet at least lmao[9]

@tauntcorp
the way that my bestfriend and i used OTP sinc like 8th grade to 10th grade, then out of nowhere using "ship" as a term from 11th grade to now.

its so weird that it just faded[10]

@LoversBf
Y'all pretend as OTP has been out of usage like the word Lemon for NSFW fanfics in the early 2000s 😂

Now that's a relic of the ancient texts, OTP is still being used[11]

Further Reading/Meta

References

  1. ^ Tweet by @DANILALONDERS, posted September 30, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  2. ^ Tweet by @RatNeon, posted October 2, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  3. ^ Tweet by @fujowshe, posted October 3, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  4. ^ Tweet by @laraisuncool, posted October 2, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  5. ^ Tweet by @LiliLiliLilianB, posted October 1, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  6. ^ Tweet by @DDTaylorificus, posted October 1, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  7. ^ Tweet by @bubbleyoongz, posted October 1, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  8. ^ Tweet by @Ivana2804, posted October 3, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  9. ^ Tweet by @random_moomoo1, posted October 2, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  10. ^ Tweet by @tauntcorp, posted October 1, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).
  11. ^ Tweet by @LoversBf, posted October 3, 2021 (Accessed October 3, 2021).