You know she loves the players, and we love the game… Emma Clifton looks at why the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce in-your-face love story has captured a particular age of women.
The love story of pop icon Taylor Swift and football superstar Travis Kelce started softly, humbly, sweetly – and in the past month, the plotline has sped up dramatically, as all good romcoms do. Throw in a giant kiss and the fact that it’s Christmas in just over a month – and romcom relationships tend to go warp speed at Christmas – and you can see why group chats around the world were on fire this weekend.
To understand why so many people – millennial women – are obsessed with the Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift relationship, you have to understand the cultural context in which were raised. Our millennial hearts grew up bathed in a sea of insane romantic comedies where the women were always nerds and/or ‘too much.’
– Never Been Kissed: Drew Barrymore plays virginal nerd reporter who goes back to high school to try and blend in with the cool kids, only her inner ‘Josie Grossie’ nerd is too strong and they reject her for being uncool. Blah blah blah only once she reveals her true self does the object of her affection (her TEACHER) realise she’s actually
old enough to consent the one for him.
– How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days: wanna-be serious journalist Kate Hudson is tired of writing flim flam pieces about beauty, wants to write about war etc, somehow decides that writing a piece about women acting crazy and ‘too much’ in relationships will chase men away.
– She’s All That – hot jock does a bet with his asshole best friend that he can makeover the earnest art nerd into a hot girl for prom.
– 10 Things I Hate About You – nerd boy wants to date hot girl but she can’t date anyone until her earnest art nerd of a sister dates someone, so nerd boy hires scary cool boy to date the earnest art nerd. (Thank you, Shakespeare)
– Clueless – hot girl gives makeover to earnest art nerd to impress a boy, ends up falling in love with step brother. (Thank you, Jane Austen)
– Bridget Jones’ Diary: Bridget is ‘too much’ for the men she’s interested in, constantly tries to make herself smaller in her work, in her body, act smarter & more refined around hot crush Mark Darcy, who, in a moment of vulnerability, admits he likes her ‘just as you are’.
– The Holiday: Both women either work too much or have no backbone, try and change themselves for the men in their life, only to finally be seen for who they really are by their new love interests and form long-term relationships by New Year’s Eve (e.g. about a 10 day period all up?).
Where am I going with this? Well, I’ll tell you. Despite looking like the absolute poster girl for Western beauty standards, Taylor Swift was the uncool, bullied, earnest art nerd when she was in high school.
It is crucial to understanding her as a grown-up 33-year-old to know that in her heart of hearts, she is still that earnest art nerd. She is the underdog (a billion dollar underdog). Basically, her love life is still the entire plot of her song You Belong With Me, which Taylor wrote when she was about 15 years old and focuses on the classic art nerd vs cheerleader high school battle.
Travis Kelce – a man many of us had not heard of until six weeks ago – is apparently the biggest football star in America. And I say that both popularity wise and also size wise – that man is built like a brick sh-thouse.
This is important for two reasons – a) he is the jock that the art nerds of our generation were told we must aim for and b) Travis is extremely tall. Travis is 6’5, which is half a foot taller than Taylor, who is 5’11. Like Taylor, I am also 5’11 – there is where our similarities end – and I will tell you, it is a problem dating when tall.
I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, but boy, men are not okay with you being taller than them. If you’ve ever been on a dating app, you will know what I mean because ‘how tall are you???’ comes up faster than where you live.
Taylor has been on the receiving end of this problem for years, dating men who wanted her to shrink herself – both in terms of popularity, but in terms of actually being taller than them. Millennial dating culture is also knowing that one of the only things that Nicole Kidman has ever said about her divorce to Tom Cruise was: “Well, I can wear heels again.” Being tall is A THING. I can only hope that Gen Z have evolved out of this, but honestly, I doubt it.
So Travis and Taylor match in popularity (in America, at least), and they match in height. But here is where they also match: enthusiasm. They are INTO each other. They are – I’ll say it – openly horny for each other and they give no shits about covering that up.
Considering Taylor spent six years dating a man who never wanted to be seen with her in public, it is a treat for us to see a man who seems to understand, in a way that the others never did, that he is dating TAYLOR SWIFT.
Travis seems appropriately stoked as f—k to be dating one of the most famous women on the planet, and yes, as a couple they are a little much. But what do you expect? They’re the most American of Americans (not always a compliment, but here it is) and they are giving the people what they want – a public love story we can feel good about.
The art nerd got the jock by being herself – not the small, stuck in a pandemic or stuck in a bad PR blitz version of herself that clearly made her low-key enough for her ex to date – but the biggest star version of herself, centre stage on her own billion dollar global tour, wearing a sparkling leotard.
She’s singing love songs to him, she’s making out with him in public. Sure, it may end badly, but who cares? For now, it’s magic. And it’s fun to watch hot horny people be hot and horny for each other. Because we know she loves the players, and we love the game.