Light a summoning circle of vagina candles: One night in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Montecito guesthouse could be yours. In partnership with Airbnb—and in an informal attempt to remedy the human condition of loneliness, our increased societal isolation, and our lack of community—Paltrow is offering a mid-September night’s dream sleepover on her property for what she calls “unexpected connection.”
The guesthouse itself is Gwyneth, the design clearly taking its cues from her height and beauty. I’ve had a good browse, and there’s really no point arguing over the interior aesthetic: Though it may not be to your exact taste, it’s a solid banger. The majority-unaffordable fixtures and fittings are just humble and just braggy enough. The loudest quiet luxury has to be a floor-to-ceiling marble bathroom, but there are a couple of pools and lots of Californian-Swiss finishings to snuggle into as the night draws in.
On offer during the stay is a transcendental-meditation session and a spa experience, which is textbook Goop. More importantly, in her introductory-offer video, the possibility of dinner with Paltrow and her husband is (verbally) casually waggled in front of our noses like a catnip-stuffed toy mouse. The idea of one night with Gwyneth Paltrow currently has a chokehold on the internet.
Fantasies of life with Family Paltrow-Falchuk run abundant. If I were to win a golden ticket to the strictly vegan chocolate factory, what would I want? When I arrive, I expect Paltrow to be taking (mushroom) tea on the lawn with Madonna (they’ve made up especially for my visit) and one of the kids (interchangeably Apple or Moses) to tell me I look cute. I’ve bought a can of cheese with me, and the endlessly quotable Paltrow (a woman who has never been immune to self-parody) says something as equally hilarious as it is unprintable. We talk conscious uncoupling and collectively bemoan the constant invasion of paparazzi. (I appear to be Hollywood famous too in this illusion.) I take a few hits of depression tincture before Tracy Anderson nips by for an outdoor session that temples my body without making it sweat. Not a lot of people know about the secret cellar of Margot Tenenbaum furs or the Marge Sherwood swimwear beneath the orchard, but G (she says it’s fine to call her that—in fact, she insists!) lets me pick out a few looks. Dinner for everyone is delicious (and intravenous), and because she’s given up her weekly cigarette, I get two. We stay up late, putting the world to rights in a way that only two good friends can. (That said, we unfortunately don’t have time to get into the proven scientific merits of infertility crystals.)
Back in the real world, one of the driving attractions (or infatuations) with Paltrow is that, like so many extraterrestrial A-list celebrities, she is partially defined by her distance from real life, her lack of proximity to the Everyman. It’s not from a cash-flow or personal-security point of view—most rich people have expensive stuff in gated communities—but Paltrow’s daily existence apparently doesn’t concern itself with the knuckle-down reality of actually being human. She’s not inhuman; she’s just somehow other. She is always doing something other (bigger) than existing in the moment (while we all still struggle to exist in the moment). Paltrow is the wellness origin story, a bread-free brand of superhero, superhumanness powered by anti-inflammatory paleo dinners in infrared saunas. She draws a bath of pseudoscience in which many of us willingly soak until our fingers prune. We can’t (or don’t really want to) avoid her trickle-down self-caring effect. Paltrow and Goop itself have tsunamied wellness culture into our darkest (non-vagina-candle-lit) corners, and I think we’d all love the chance to see it in real time. Who among us could resist the chance to drink from wellness at its purest source?