Taylor Swift, the biggest pop star on the planet, was recently interviewed by Maxim. The piece was short, but allowed a brief moment for its writer to unleash her inner stan and ask if they could be be best friends. Swift responded with a laugh, and the interview went back to business. But what if it hadn’t?
In the July issue of Elle, Taylor Kitsch was profiled by Lily Anolik, a writer who flies her Fan Flag as proudly as possible. Much of its 3,000 words (particularly the opening and closing) is filled with a breathless adoration for an actor and his most famous character, Tim Riggins—and it’s a joy to read. Though I’m not familiar enough with Kitsch or Friday Night Lights to have much of an opinion of him, there’s something instantly recognizable about Anolik’s total abandon when confronted by an object of her fantasies.
The piece begins with Kitsch stepping off his bike, and approaching the writer (presumably in slow motion) as she sits outside at a Hollywood cafe.
As he walks toward me, I stand, my heart kicking in my chest. I’m nervous. This is a high-stakes game for me: FNL is my favorite show, Riggins my favorite character. I’m afraid that Kitsch is going to be a world apart from Riggins—that he’ll talk in actorspeak, use the word process a lot and tell me about the benefits of a gluten-free diet, gaze into every reflective surface, and fluff his hair. I’m afraid that meeting him will kill the fantasy, basically.
Once he arrives, her heart stops pounding. It’s real now.
The sun is slanting into my eyes, so while I can see that he’s got something on his head, I can’t see what. It’s only once he gets near that I realize it’s a motorcycle helmet, but worn like a backward baseball cap, pushed off his face and up on his crown. Immediately I start to relax, because it’s such a Riggins maneuver.
“Such a Riggins maneuver.” I love it. I love her description of his physical appearance, too.
Now, I’m not going to go on any more about his looks except to say that he appears in the flesh just as he does on the screen. Okay, I’ll go on a little more: He has a physical grace to him, moves with athletic authority, has a smile that’s closer to a grin, and is wearing the clothes of someone who doesn’t think about them much—jeans, T-shirt, scuffed leather jacket.
I’m sweating just reading this thing. The profile then simmers down and allows for a fan break (I’m talking one of these) as it discusses Kitsch’s career. Though this is the bulk of the piece, it is punctuated it with bits of knowledge that could only come from a huge fan of Friday Night Lights. Soon enough, we’re back to the wide-eyed realization that she’s sitting. Next. To. Taylor. Kitsch.
The waiters around us have started bustling. They’re setting up tables for the dinner trade, I realize with shock when I look up at the sky and see that it’s dimming into dusk. Kitsch and I have been talking for almost three hours.
Three hours! It’s like a good first date. Oh my god was it a date? Are she and Taylor going to fall in love? Her enthusiasm is wearing off—I’m creating fanfiction about her own fandom in my head.
I notice something: In his hair, close-cropped for True Detective, a white patch, dime-size, above his right ear. An imperfection that only calls attention to how perfect he is. How unknowable, too, because in spite of the warmth and openness of his personality, the low-key easy-goingness of his demeanor, he remains fundamentally mysterious, not quite graspable.
That paragraph sort of made me wish there were a monthly magazine filled with intellectual musings about cute famous people writers have crushes on. Like Tiger Beat, but for the New Yorker set. It could be called Pacemaker.
We start to walk out of the restaurant together, and then suddenly I stop and tell him to go ahead, that I have a call to make. It’s not true. But I think it’s best if I don’t watch him straddle that motorcycle and roar up Vine to Hollywood Boulevard or down to Sunset. Too many fantasies would be converging. And a person, after all, can only take so much.
Don’t you sort of wish she would have watched him ride off into the distance? I do. Oh well, she and I both can have the fantasy.
Contact the author at email@example.com.
Image via screengrab.