Currently popping up on all the websites you use to distract yourself from the misery and snoredom of your professional life is a conspiracy theory which posits that Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston—the newest celebrity couple making me want to fork my eyeballs straight outta my head—are staging their relationship for the sake of performance art. Here’s something that’s not a theory: Whether they’re in a fake romance or not, Swift and Hiddleston are fucking dweebs and they’re both in need of a chill pill.

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As previously covered by Jezebel, Swift and Hiddleston frolicked in the surf at her Rhode Island home over Fourth of July weekend, alongside Swift’s other famous pals Gigi Hadid, Blake Lively, and Abigail, the one who gave everything (as in sex) for nothing in “Fifteen.” During their romp, Hiddleston, like a tween who just grew boobs and doesn’t know what to do with them, wore a cloying “I LOVE TS” tank top in the water, while Swift sported a new pair of... sunglasses... and a patriotic bikini.

It was all a little too cute, a little too self-reflective, and a little too public for a girl who continually derides the media for focusing on her “long list of ex lovers,” while using the speculation over her highly publicized relationships to sell herself as a product—be it “Taylor Swift the Scorned,” Taylor Swift in Love,” “Taylor Swift the Feminist,” or “Taylor Swift the Press-Mocking Performance Artist.” (And fair enough. We’re all a part of the human centipede that is the media cycle—if you’re going to have to eat shit, you might as well get paid for it.)

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The fan theories that Hiddleston and Swift’s romance is some kind of glossy hoax or an attempt to make an elaborate music video aren’t totally farfetched. From their first public encounter at the Met Gala to their performative Frenching on a jetty beneath a stormy sky as paparazzi snapped away, it’s all felt very forced in our faces. Either Taylor and Tom are truly obsessed with each other and want to scream it to the people of Italy like they’re in a Diamonds Are Forever campaign or they’re as fake as the moon landing. Or Kris Jenner’s face.

What it often comes down to with celebrity relationships is that “real” is a very loose term. So often are two famous people paired off to increase their fame, promote each other’s projects, or raise each other’s social clout that even if Swift and Hiddleston are pulling the A-list version of what Jon Lovitz and Jessica Lowndes did in March, it still seems about as legitimate as Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris or Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

It’s fair to empathize with the celebrity prank. Living a life where the press jumps on any whisper of gossip about you and blows it out of proportion must be frustrating, so why wouldn’t a person—say, Taylor Swift—want to pull a fast one, even if it is on the very culture that made her rich and successful?

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That said, what exactly would the prank be here? “We told you we were dating and you believed us”? “You thought Tom Hiddleston was charming, but he’s actually as thirsty as a high maintenance house plant”? “We made out on some Roman ruins and you thought we had feelings for each other”? Haha, good one. Joke’s on us.

But whether Hiddleston and Swift’s relationship is real, celebrity “real,” or entirely staged doesn’t matter because the outcome is mostly the same. By pairing off, both of them—two people with rabid fan bases and good reputations—have, among many, canceled out each other’s good will. Hiddleston dancing on his own is charming, winning even, while Hiddleston with Swift reeks of desperation. Swift dating producer/DJ Calvin Harris made boring sense, but Swift breaking up with Harris and very publicly picking up with Hiddleston, the Internet’s Boyfriend, half a heartbeat later, makes her appear unkind.

If this is a prank, it’s a bad one. If it’s real, it’s eye roll-inducing. Either way, these two have tied themselves together like a couple of dorkwad anchors and are about to sink—and by “sink,” I mean “go onto make millions more dollars off their relationship” because, again, we’re all just taking mouths full of other people’s shit in this human centipede called life.


Image via the AP.