Saturday, December 2, 2023
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On Sophie Turner, Taylor Swift, and the Utter Nightmare of Your Exes Hanging Out

It’s him, hi, he’s the problem, it’s him. This week, the pictures emerging of Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner hanging out in New York have given me the heebie-jeebies. Not because I’m a Swiftie. Not because I’m Team Sophie or pro Jonas. It’s not the actual celebrity trio that’s making me itch, it’s what they represent: two of your exes linking up. The xx. The ex squared. There’s nothing I’d like less than my fresh ex hanging out with my archive ex, the two archeologically digging through the relationships. And, not to be egocentric, but, like, what on earth could they be discussing if not meeeeee? I am the grout between their tiles, the elbow in their arm. Joe’s ears are burning white hot.

The Turner-Swift conversation over carbonara Via Carota could be benign as hell, but bitching out your ex is part of the healing, and a huge overlap in their Venn is a former Jonas-ness. I say this with zero evidence and absolute certainty: They are talking about Joe at dinner. Imagine divorcing a guy and entering into a custody battle citing the Hague Convention, and not bringing it up every six seconds. How could Joe not be served up before the starters? And a deep dive on your ex is the perfect dessert. It’s a chef’s kiss of passive-aggressive revenge. Joe’s imagination is probably worse than reality here. What deep privacies could they could they be unearthing? He’ll think of them summing the sex up in a single line, or a single word, or, worse: a little noise. Shrugging off all that learning and growing he thinks he did in the decade between them both. Trading his bad traits like Uno cards as they knowingly roll their eyes. In fact, Joe’s ears are melting off.

Living relationships ebb and flow tidally, with good and less good moments. Sometimes it’s passionate, sometimes a comfort, sometimes you’re mountaineering, sometimes you’re coasting. Things trough and things rally. When you finally break up, all that motion stops—your relationship becoming a fixed point that gets further and further behind you. The longer you’re out, the less extreme the feelings, which is probably the only upside to being heartbroken. You feel the frustrations less deeply, and remember the good times less sadly. The need for vengeance gives way to a need for closure, and eventually, somewhere down the line, you find an equilibrium. Taylor’s far-out perspective must be fascinating to Sophie, at the molten core of proceedings. Joe’s ears have evaporated into vapor.

Do you ever wonder what your ex is saying about you? How they frame your relationship and its dissolution? What kills me in how much their re-telling of the relationship could differ from yours. The discrepancies in the little fictions we tell ourselves in order to move on from love. There are so many feelings when you fall out of crazy, stupid love, it’s impossible for both sides to match up. How can years of togetherness get boiled down to the same sum? When they were first seen together on Tuesday night, Sophie and Taylor were surrounded by a gaggle of beaming fans, and it felt like some kind of justice for women over their exes everywhere. Exes hanging out is powerful and squeamish and terrifying, it’s murky and transparent—and I hope to god we Get more of it.



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