In the past a few months, very little gave me a lasting feeling of joy or pleasure – at least, not at all at the level I was used to in the pre-pandemic. Dark, sorry, but true! I am depressed, worried about the future of my job and my industry and riddled with class anxiety. But I have some old standby that bring me precious moments of comfort these days: take take-away cocktails in my favorite neighborhood bars, work on a bad quarantine art and try not to worry about her state, take some grass candy and – Thank goodness! – gossip.
One of my current favorite nuggets: Brad Pitt and Alia Shawkat are hanging out (and maybe going out ???). Last fall, in the midst of a blistering press cycle for what would become his Oscar-winning role in Quentin Tarantino Once upon a time in Hollywood, Pitt attended comedy shows and art gallery openings with Shawkat, sparking rumors of encounters. Just before the lockdown, in March, they went to a concert together and then stopped at an In-N-Out. Dreamer!
Tabloids are everywhere in Brad and Alia – not only because Pitt and his connections have played in the gossip pages for decades, but because Shawkat is nowhere near as famous as he is, and she’s about 25 years younger . She’s also weird, and obviously, after shaking a shaved head or shortcut for a while now; once the tabloids have made their way, the headlines have often reduced it to a “bisexual actor”, possibly for the titillation factor. What should Jennifer Aniston think? Even before the highly dissected Golden Globes break-in between Aniston and Pitt earlier this year, Star and People and others refused to let poor Jen continue her life. (Also as Who? WeeklyThe incredibly funny episodes of the pandemic made it clear, the tabs are really desperate for the content right now.)
Many gossip blogs have identified Shawkat only as a “mystery woman” at the start of their friendship, until he became more and more known as the person Brad is close to is an actor best known for her roles in Development stopped and Research group, besides being a writer, musician and artist. Anyone who doesn’t pay much attention to pop culture beyond blockbusters might consider Shawkat as the way a bland and disparaged girlfriend character is treated in Arrested Development: ” Her? “
But Shawkat, although only modestly famous at this point, is not bland at all. She’s a great actress with memorable tricks on shows like Transparent and Broad Cityand a writer whose credits include Duck butter, which both charms and disturbs. The film, in which she also plays, sees her going out and sleeping with a woman (more and more disarticulated); he’s one of the many strange characters she played. For this reason and much more, I find it absolutely delightful to imagine Pitt, who, according to sources, appreciates Shawkat’s work, watching his strange gay movie in which someone (spoiler) shits in a jar and threatens to smear it everywhere.
Brad and Alia’s ship is one of my favorite types of celebrity couples, precisely because they seemingly are such a strange couple: the age gap on the one hand, and the gaps in their levels of fame for the general public, but also their variable positions in the entertainment ecosphere. A few others revolve around the gossip cycle now, including my ultra-favorites Gina Gershon and Ben Sinclair. (More on them later.) I love it whenever two people from very different parts but also loved by my cultural consumption find something of value and beauty in each other, and not only because I still take as proof that I have a lot of taste. ? More so, I just think it’s nice whenever someone, a celebrity or whatever, finds a connection across borders that may not have been quite borders.
Since the creation of Michael Paterniti Profile Pitt’s iconic 2017 GQ, which was Pitt’s first major interview since Brangelina’s demise, I’m back on the Brad train. Pictures of him driving in various national parks for the magazine’s distribution – ugh! They are magnificent; he is magnificent. He always was, really, but by the end of his marriage to Angie, he had started to look pretty rough. (Of course, back then and now, I have no idea of Pitt’s private life, so I’m ill-equipped to say if he’s really a good person. He reports that he hit his son in a private jet, which emerged during his bitter police custody after the divorce. The battle with Jolie, on the other hand, is extremely disturbing. For what it’s worth – and in the US criminal justice system, it’s not worth inevitably much! -, an investigation into the allegations of abuse was closed in 2016 without finding any wrongdoing.)
Now sober and retrospective, with a refreshed and youthful vigor, Brad is back and better than ever (at least, it seems). He may have realized that he really is a character actor trapped in the body of a movie star, whose best job has always been in supporting thieves. I could easily imagine that he would feel more comfortable, at this point in his career, dating someone who does interesting work outside the mainstream – one of the reasons I hope a little that, even if they haven’t confirmed it and the sources continue to tell the tabs that there is nothing romantic or sexual, Pitt and Shawkat are not just best friends. (If they are, however – I still love it for them!)
Like Kenzie Bryant at Vanity Fair, I had fun filling the quarantine void wondering (and all my friends) if these guys were dating. Obviously, we have to be careful here; the tabs have turned into a vicious frenzy over rumors of dating canceled since on Pitt’s friends before. But that does not mean that we should ignore the alluring evidence. Last month Shawkat was spotted leaving the closed community of Pitt in Los Angeles – on his birthday! – which suggests at least a sufficiently strong conviviality to constitute clashes in person in mid-quarantine. Hopefully, if they follow the spirit of social distancing, they don’t see many other people, which indeed suggests a fairly close bond.
I tried to understand why the idea of this couple tickles me so much, and I think a number of things are happening here: On the one hand, I have always been desperately in love with Brad, first in as a locked-in lesbian – and even now, as a full-fledged lesbian – in the same way that I was in love with Leo (although my Leo lust died quickly after I grew out of his scintillating phase). The two men were not only handsome as young stars – they were pretty, their gold standard masculinity spiced up with a hint of androgynous. I think I was drawn to Brad’s beauty at one point in my life when I thought men were the only type of people I could want. I always liked him the most when he played a weird but sexy weirdo (the Oceans trilogy, Burn after reading) or when his main roles were ridiculous and camping and therefore a bit gay (Interview with the vampire, Troy).
As Leo became more puffy and remained firmly resolved never to date women over the age of 25, Brad only became more beautiful. He also seems to turn into a version of the one he dated at the time (classic lesbian behavior). Leo’s gossip with a parade of skinny young models only depresses me, but Brad’s potential contact with a younger woman only delights me. Why?
In many ways, a Brad / Alia couple would be a regurgitation of the oldest celebrity story on earth, more evidence of a successful patriarchy: a powerful man is dating a much younger and less powerful woman. But for me, their relationship (friendly or otherwise) disturbs an otherwise dated and disappointing story. Yes, Shawkat is young and beautiful, but she’s not exactly the type of woman we are expecting in the arms of aging actors in the midst of their midlife crises. She is in her thirties; she is Iraqi American; she is neither tall, skinny, nor blonde; she is weird; she is cool.
While Pitt could be more famous, Shawkat has a small but significant cultural cachet in the art worlds of LA and New York. It may seem that she has more to gain from a relationship with an extraordinarily rich and famous man – and therefore more to lose – but Pitt should find a firmer footing in more alternative and experimental spheres, where he seems to direct his style. of life as well as his career. I have to imagine that he is not only another geezer dating (or a friend) someone younger because he is afraid of his own mortality, but that he really appreciates Shawkat for his spirit and his imprint artistic on the world. This only reinforces my estimate of him, tbh. Again – I can be totally wrong here! But a girl (especially a depressed locked out) can surely dream.
A confession: I could also be a little more invested in this potential relationship than the average fan of one or even of the two celebrities, because I am also in a relationship with a significant age gap. Ours is the same as Alia and Brad’s: around 25 years old. Even though I know that lesbian relationships with age differences do not carry quite the same stigma or baggage as couples of older guys / young women – who are often stigmatized for good reasons – I can still feeling strangely sensitive when someone slams important relationships from May to December. Before I started dating my girlfriend, I probably would have been disgusted by Florence Pugh and Zach Braff, for example. Now, I can’t help but feel sympathy for Pugh, who is tired of the constant judgment she faces from her fans.
I find it fascinating at what age and in what context our internal alarm bells start ringing. For many people, Pugh, 24, seems far too young to date a 45-year-old man. But would its maturity be more credible at 25? At 28? Everyone’s comfort level is going to be different, but I know my own sense of what is appropriate when it comes to seemingly asymmetrical relationships has changed since I fell in love with someone twice my age. (I also recognize that people’s negative responses could be somewhat different if the 45 year old in question here was not, in particular, Zach Braff.)
Another celebrity couple who brought me, and many others, much needed joy during this pandemic was, of course, Ben Affleck’s thriving relationship with Ana de Armas. He’s 47 and she’s 32 – a gap, of course, but not huge – and their eye-catching antics during the lockout have led some to strike them out as a publicity stunt. I don’t know if they’re seriously wearing matching half-heart necklaces, and I don’t care if the relationship lasts, but you know what? I’m here for #Benana. I can’t really blame these maniacs for giving people exactly what they want.
One relationship I really believe in, however, is the twinning of actors Gina Gershon, 57, and Ben Sinclair, 36. The star of lesbian classics like Related and Showgirls and the actor, writer and director responsible for HBO High maintenance Has not been super public on the status of their relationship, although Sinclair frequently appears on Gina’s Instagram, and they are currently in quarantine together in their shared home. What a delicious partnership !! It makes me happy every time someone finds love despite or because of their differences, whether generational or not – and especially when these connections flout traditional norms. In the case of Sinclair and Gershon, we don’t tend to see older women with younger men – and as a big fan of older women in general, I like it when others appreciate what I appreciate. But it’s not like Sinclair is doing Gershon or anything. I mean, I like it, but it just looks good when it smokes hot !!!
This is what I really appreciate in all these seemingly incongruous couples, who blur (even slightly) traditional power dynamics and offer witnesses to evidence of different types of love. I’m not going to say that these beautiful celebrities, mainly white and heterosexual, are weird anything, but they also don’t follow the strictest social scripts. We don’t need to reward famous people for their bravery by hanging out with other famous people. But we can imagine how good sex is. And now I’m going to take this. ●