Phan (pairing)

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Pairing: Dan Howell/Phil Lester
Alternative name(s): Dan/Phil, Danisnotonfire/Amazingphil
Gender category: slash
Fandom: YouTube RPF
Canonical?: unconfirmed
Prevalence: common
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For other definitions, see Phan (disambiguation). You may be looking for Phandom (disambiguation).

Phan is the portmanteau ship name for the Dan Howell/Phil Lester (or Danisnotonfire/Amazingphil) RPF pairing in YouTube RPF fandom.

While the ship was long considered a tinhat conspiracy much like the contemporaneous One Direction Larry ship, the two were confirmed to at least have had a prior romantic history in June of 2019, though it is unclear what their current relationship status is.

Gen Use

'Phan' is sometimes used in fandom as a general term for Dan & Phil's platonic friendship pairing as well as the romantic ship. It has been used outside of fandom to name things related to Dan & Phil in general, for example in the BBC Radio 1 page announcing the return of their radio show, titled "The Phan boys are back!"[1] However, fans' reactions suggest this is an incongruous use.[2][3]

Canon History

Moved to Phandom's Canon History.

Canon Resources

Considering how intertwined Dan and Phil's lives are, the amount of canon is immense. They make frequent appearances in each other's videos, tweets, liveshows etc.

Their official joint projects include:

Ship History

This article or section needs expansion.

Pin-pointing the exact moment the ship took off is tricky due to fans being spread out over various sites, some of which are now defunct. According to the Wayback Machine, speculation about their relationship is documented as early as mid-2010 on their Youtube Channels. [4] The (friendslocked) youtube-slash community featured Dan/Phil stories as early as Sept 15, 2010. The term "Phan" appears soon after, and as early as Oct 29, 2010, seems to have become the accepted smushname.[5] The oldest fic still extant from the comm is Dan is On Fire by lucy_and_ramona, which was posted in November of 2010, but as the term was in use before that date it's likely that there were earlier fics that did not survive the deletion of the comm. Tweets from prominent members of the community also go back to November of 2010, with most implying that the term had been in use for some time, as there is no extant discussion on Twitter of what to call the ship.[6][7][8] Other anecdotal use on twitter appears as early as 2010, but the ship really seems to take off in the Spring of 2012.[9]

The first Dan/Phil posted to AO3 is dated March 26, 2011,[10] but the fandom remained quite small on the site until somewhere in 2015. That year, the Phandom made the list of most active fandoms on AO3: in their yearly statistical round-up of works posted to the archive, destinationtoast identified it as having posted 3693 works on the archive that year, which represents 82% of the total works on the site for the pairing.[11][12] Similarly, the most popular Phan story extant on Wattpad was posted in July of 2015[13] and most activity on that site seems to trace back to around that time. The first Dan/Phil story on was published on Jan 2, 2012, which seems to indicate that prior to Dan and Phil the majority of the fannish activity was on sites such as Livejournal and rather than the now popular AO3 and Wattpad.[14]

On Tumblr, the 'Phan' tag was used as early as Jan 2011, before Dan and Phil moved in together.[15] The tag was sparsely populated at first (mostly occupied by posts about YouTube makeup guru Michelle Phan) before becoming a major fandom tag in later years. The Phandom is now particularly active on Tumblr and in 2015, Dan & Phil made the "most reblogged ships" on Tumblr list[16] and ranked number 2 in 2016[17]. The pairing was still extremely popular two years later in 2018, although they lost their place at #2 to Reylo and came in at #3.[18]

A 2015 auto-generated fan-organized survey that recieved over 30,000 responses estimated that 84% of the Phandom ships Dan and Phil.[19] The numbers had dropped by the 2017 survey, however, to just over 50% of the fandom.[20] This drop in shippers between 2015 and 2017 could be attributed to the release of The Amazing Book Is Not on Fire in October of 2015, which left many people feeling that Dan and Phil had queerbaited the Phandom in order to keep interest in their content.[citation needed]


June 13th 2019, Dan uploaded a video to his main channel after a year long hiatus titled "Basically I'm Gay" [21] where he comes out as Queer and discusses his personal relationship with Phil saying "Obviously we were more than friends." He discusses how shipping culture affected him, and does not give details as to what their relationship is like now to maintain privacy.

Phil later retweeted the video, adding "Me: When I make a video about my sexuality at some point it’ll be pretty low-key y’know. Dan: Hold my pride flag- *45 minute masterpiece later*." [22] Two weeks later, he uploaded a video titled Coming Out To You [23] where he talks about his experiences growing up Gay and the need to keep coming out throughout your life.


This article or section needs expansion.

The pairing taking off went hand-in-hand with fandom in-fighting and wank. As a general rule Dan and Phil go to a lot of effort not to address or feed the wank, and take care to acknowledge their fans and fandom in a respectful way. Some examples of controversies in Dan/Phil fandom are:

'Dangirls' vs 'Philgirls'

See Phandom for more information.

Pre-2019 Tinhatting

Just like in many other RPF fandoms, there was a contingent of Dan/Phil tinhats who maintained the belief that "Phan is real" while they were closeted and their relationship history had been a source of speculation.[24][25] Speculation began with the reconstruction The Phan Timeline made by The Phan Directory, which documents every interaction Dan and Phil left a trace of on the internet beginning the moment they met. As they met over the internet, lots of people within the Phandom can see themselves in the image of Dan as the youtube fanboy who managed to become friends (or more) with his favourite Youtuber, AmazingPhil, who he then began a romantic relationship with before moving in with him permanently. Documentation is incredibly important in the Phandom, due to the fact Dan and Phil have been known to erase and remove videos, tweets, and anything to do with their history before they were an on track brand. This lead to the cataloguing of every video on a Phandom circulated Google Doc in addition to the 2009 Timeline, etc, as well as a fan-run forum with an immersive FAQ section documenting every discourse and history new fans may inquire about. [26] [27][28] They will also save and archive anything posted to an ephemeral social media such as Snapchat or Instagram Stories that they think supports the theory that Phan is real.[29]

While the opposite sides of the fanbase have clashed on many topics, a hot button item has been since it's leak in 2011, the Valentines Day Video. [30][31][32] about the supposed relationship between Dan and Phil, although none of them have ever confirmed this relationship to be real or not. YouTuber Evan Edinger once tweeted that many YouTubers have seen the Valentine's Day video and "talk more than yall [sic] behind closed doors" in response to someone asking if he's seen the video[33] and Dan's younger brother, Adrian, was also harassed off of tumblr by Dan and Phil fans in 2013, with many of the question being about the relationship between the two.[34]

Phan has historically also had an anti-tinhat segment of Phandom who go to similar lengths as the shippers to prove that Dan and Phil are not dating through lengthy video analysis[35] and collection of evidence they believe proves their point.[36] Much like the people who believed Phan is real heavily relied on the Valentine's Day video as their proof, Phantis rely on Dan's now deleted "Customer Service Department" blog where he went on several lengthy rants reflecting his frustrations with invasions into his and Phil's privacy. He later touches on this in his 2019 video, Basically I'm Gay, saying his intention was to tell people to back off, rather than that he was totally straight. [37][38]

Genres and Tropes

  • Hurt/Comfort, often with Dan as the woobie,
  • Fluff, specifically fluff resembling fanon or near canon is very popular.
  • Alternate Universe fic is diverse, the most popular Phanfiction on Ao3 being a royalty au featuring Phil as a prince who meets Dan at an anti-bullying campaign. [39]
  • Deathfic, as bemoaned by Phil himself,[40]
  • Shockfic, while not a popular read within the Phandom, is referenced often as in-jokes both by the fans and by Dan and Phil. The infamous Skin Fic, a ficlet in which Dan peels off Phil's sunburnt skin and eats it,[41] and other Darkfic like the Chair Fic, in which Phil tortures and abuses Dan in horrific ways.[42]
  • Punk AU historically was fairly common, often with Phil as a punk and Dan as a pastel, though mostly phased out by 2016.
  • Like most fandoms, High School AU is abundant.

Example Fanworks


Come What May by PhantasticFiction
An epic noncon fic that is the most-kudosed Dan/Phil fic on AO3 as of Oct 1, 2014.[43]
A List of Available Smiles by ficster28
This is the truth of depression: it doesn't stop you laughing. It just stops you feeling happy. And it tugs at you, nags you: this laughter doesn't last, it tells you. Laughter never lasts.
Wait Until it Hits You Round the Face, Dan by eiqhties
And Dan’s going to call everyone that they’ve ever known and tell them to all pay up however much they've bet now, because he’s finally got it. Alternatively titled: Five Times Dan Didn't Get It, And One Time it Was Really, Really Obvious.
You're The Straw To My Berry by ughitssophie
A popular phanfic on Wattpad from 2013.
Let Me Be Your Call Boy by auroraphilealis and embarrassing_myself
An over 260k word AU epic where Phil is a call boy who is hired by Dan's friends for one night when Dan comes out as gay. Won 1st place in the "Best Smut" category in the 2016 Phanfic Awards.
The Stained Series [1, 2, and 3] by audrat
Winner of "Best Series" in 2017's The Fanfiction Awards.
Muse by panickyphanter
A popular High School AU that features punk!Phil.
Guilty Pleasure, Cobra Starship by nicoleh262
A fairly early fic featuring Phan, which used to be more of a side pairing than a main pairing in the Youtube Slash community.
Balcony by TheSmushFaace
Also some of the only fic that survived from the Youtube Slash community.
Somebody find me, find me love by Anironsidh
For the phandom reverse bang 2021, a cafe AU.[44]


Infamous Phan shockfics that are still often talked about, read and shared today.[45] These fics are described as disturbing and are often followed with a "do not read it!" and other warnings (do heed the warnings), which of course just encourages this phenomenon further. Although most have now been taken down by the original authors, they are often reposted by phans. Dan (mostly) and Phil have read and/or are aware of their existence, sometimes referencing or mentioning them in their vids.[46]

The Skin Fic [5] by WeirdFicGirl
A ficlet in which Dan peels off Phil's sunburnt skin and eats it. Dan and Phil discussed the Skin Fic on several occasions, such as doing a dramatic reading of "The Skin Fic" during a video[47] and referring to it in follow-up YouNow livestream.[48]
The Cherry Fic [6] by Mycatshipsphan
A fic wherein a yandere Phil kills Dan.
The Hat Fic[49] by Kittycat496
In this fanfic, Phil buys a hamster, but then wakes up in a room, to a naked Dan. Dan proceeds to kill the hamster, making Phil drink it's blood along with Dan's own semen.[50]
The Chair Fic[51] by strykeroptic
Phil is basically possessed by a chair, and forced to do horrible things to Dan, involving things like physical abuse, snakes, ants, boiling oil, ect.[52] Also has a prequel called "Into The Attic"[53] and a sequel called "A Very Chair Fic Christmas."[54]
The Kitten Fic [7] by phillesterspenis
A smut fic featuring scatplay and implied bestiality. Also known as "Kittens and Steamrollers" (the actual title), the author's note states that Dan has actually read the fic and laughed.[citation needed]
The Tentacle Fic[citation needed] by Unknown
A Phan shockfic featuring tentacles.


dan, you're too close[55] by alliando
A painting of Dan & Phil playing video games.
digital art[56] by mymindisnotonfire
A painting of Phil consoling Dan.
Phan by keepcalmandsparkle91
A painting of Phil and Dan kissing.


Dan & Phil | When You're Gone by EmilyyCano
An angst vid posted January 4, 2013 set to "When You're Gone" by Avril Lavinge.
phan {amazingphil & danisnotonfire} - fix you by URKOOL13
A Story Vid posted June 13, 2013 set to "Fix You" by Coldplay.
Phan | The Movie (Trailer) by 1georgia
A Fake Trailer type vid posted Jan 10, 2014 set to an instrumental version of "Kiss You" by One Direction.
Dan x Phil// Paparazzi by imjustsophie
A vid posted March 13, 2016 set to a cover of "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga.
Sincerely Me - Dan and Phil by phanecdotes
A vid posted July 2, 2017 set to "Sincerely Me" from the musical Dear Evan Hansen.

Fandom Resources


  1. ^, The Phan boys are back!, posted Oct 2, 2014.
  2. ^ namrachel, Tumblr post: the Phan Boys…… Now who is the biggest phan shipper. posted Oct 2nd, 2014.
  3. ^ btwhowell, Tweet: ive finally stopped crying but im laughing at 'the phan boys are back' bbc pls, posted Oct 2, 2014.
  4. ^ pinof 1 june 2010
  5. ^ LJ user in locked 29-10-2010 youtube-slash post: Previously, I had severe annoyance of the brain when I realis'd that we know DanIsNotOnFire's surname... but not AmazingPhil. Now, thanks to KickthePJ I now know that it is Lester. So, when typing out Dan/Phil in full, just in case there are any other Dans or Phils that pop up, and to save us having to type out Danisnotonfire and Amazingphil, we can now write Dan Howell/Phil Lester. Thank you, KickthePJ!! <3 (Of course we could just type Phan, which is what the pairing is called... but where's the fun in that? :D) (retrieved Oct 2, 2014).
  6. ^ Tweet from @CarlyCantSTFU: "@glitter_hippie Awh, thank you! :D And hm, that's a nice idea... I havent written any real phan in a while... hm..." Posted Nov 14 2010, accessed March 09 2019.
  7. ^ Tweet from @spibsy: "@glitter_hippie WE SHOULD /ALWAYS/ POST PHAN." Posted November 7 2010, accessed March 09 2019.
  8. ^ Tweet from tylersneeze: "Just wrote a Phan based off of an inside joke." Posted Nov 06 2010, accessed March 09 2019.
  9. ^ dan + phil + phan since 2010-01-01 Twitter search, retrieved Oct 2, 2014.
  10. ^ namelikefairytale, you could go swimming in those eyes, posted 2011-03-26 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  11. ^ "So, yeah… partly inspired by @elizabethminkel and... - Destination: T…". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  12. ^ Toasty Stats Year in Fandom:2015 Gdocs spreadsheet, accessed Jan 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Sinking by lattelester. Posted July 20 2015, accessed March 09 2019.
  14. ^ phantales, Would You Rather?, published Jan 2, 2012 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  15. ^ phanblog, Bridge!, posted Jan 21, 2011, retrieved Oct 2, 2014.
  16. ^ ["Tumblr 2015 Year in Review — Most Reblogged Ships ship - noun - short…". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  17. ^ "Fandom on Tumblr — 2016's Top Ships Set sail on the S.S. Conceptual..." 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  18. ^ "Fandom on Tumblr — 2018's Top Ships We really went all out this..." 2018-12-21. Archived from the original on 2018-12-21.
  19. ^ "Dan and Phil Survey 2018". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  20. ^ "Dan and Phil Survey 2018". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  21. ^ [1]: "Basically I'm Gay"
  22. ^ [2]: "Phil's June 13th Tweet"
  23. ^ [3]: "Coming Out To You"
  24. ^ "Phan is Real" since 2009-08-01 Twitter search, first use: Feb 6, 2012. (Retrieved Oct 2, 2014.)
  25. ^ elligalaxies, Tweet: Does it actually matter if Phan is real or not? Stop causing fandom wars over it omfg. Dan and Phil would be ashamed of you lot., posted June 22, 2012 (retrieved Oct 2, 2014.)
  26. ^ IDB
  27. ^ "let your inner fangirl shine". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  28. ^ "Awrf". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  29. ^ "svtflyingmilk on twitter — Remember that theory about dan and phil ju…". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  30. ^ "Awrf". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  31. ^ "Phanantiproof". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  32. ^ "Awrf". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  33. ^ Image of a now deleted tweet from Evan Edinger. Accessed May 09, 2019.
  34. ^ Daniel Howell's Brother Adrian Now Has A YouTube Channel by Mia Collins. Accessed March 09, 2019.
  35. ^ "Phanantiproof". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  36. ^ Dan's younow moments (are you gay?) by phantiblog. Posted Jun 1, 2014 and accessed March 09, 2019.
  37. ^ "Phanantiproof". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  38. ^ "Phanantiproof". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  39. ^ Six Ravens on Ao3
  40. ^ See My Tumblr Tag 2! (with Dan): "Why am I always dead? I swear whenever I read fanfiction I'm dead!"
  41. ^ Dan and Phil discussed the Skin Fic on several occasions, such as Dan & Phil vs. Tumblr dramatic reading of "The Skin Fic", posted July 11, 2013 and follow-up Dan & Phil discuss the "Skin Fic", YouNow livestream extract posted by omgitsphan on July 11, 2013 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014),
  42. ^ See phanfic's infamous fics list, with the Skin Fic, Chair Fic & others.
  43. ^ As of Oct 1, 2014 on AO3: 46/? chapters, 204k words, 1611 kudos, 49679 hits.
  44. ^ Published:2021-08-28 Words:1,685 Chapters:1/? Comments:4 Kudos:10 Hits:238
  45. ^ "Phanfiction". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  46. ^ [4], Dan and Phil Present : A Dramatic Reading of 'The Skin Fic'.
  47. ^ Dan & Phil vs. Tumblr, posted July 11, 2013.
  48. ^ Dan & Phil discuss the "Skin Fic", YouNow extract posted by omgitsphan on July 11, 2013 (retrieved Oct 1, 2014).
  49. ^ "sploosh". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  50. ^ Urban Dictionary: the hat fic. Accessed March 09 2019.
  51. ^ "Chair fic - Beware The Chair". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  52. ^ Urban Dictionary: the chair fic. Accessed March 09 2019.
  53. ^ "Into the Attic - Beware The Chair". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  54. ^ "A Very Chair Fic Christmas - Beware The Chair". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  55. ^ "Art blog". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.
  56. ^ "in the process of becoming a raisin — Okay so… this is my drawing. I …". 2019-03-09. Archived from the original on 2019-03-09.