Image: Getty

Earlier this week, seemingly every tabloid decided to run with some version of the headline “Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello basically confirm they’re a couple.” While I know this won’t win me any fans with young pop music obsessives—the only demographic I actually care about—enough is enough. Something about their pairing smells fishy to me, and that something is timing. It is much too convenient a coupling when two famous people decide to hit the town immediately after releasing a song together. Even though their partnering has been a popular ship online (#Shamila) since at least 2014, I just don’t buy it.

So, why does it seem like a fake love story to me? Am I just bitter? (Yes.) Suspicious? (Of course.) Or is it something else? (Also yes.)

Less than three weeks ago, Shawn and Camila released “Señorita,” a sexy duet single. It was not the first time the pair has collaborated—recall 2015's single, “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” At the time, fans started to hypothesize that they were secretly together but they weren’t, and their relationship has always appeared more like siblings or best friends than anything else. When “Señorita” arrived, the script (maybe) flipped: the video is extremely steamy but not particularly horny. There doesn’t appear to be much (or any) lust between the two, as confirmed in their behind-the-scenes videos from the shoot.

No sex-having there. Can confirm. (Can’t actually, but, like, watch it.)

A few days after the release of the video, tabloids started to report that Camila recently broke up with her boyfriend Matthew Hussey, the English YouTube “relationship coach,” on or around June 29, 2019. Cabello and Hussey started dating in February 2018, and she’s been vocal about their romance in the past. While no one can blame her for breaking up with a literal matchmaker 10 years her senior, the timing of all of this seems wildly coincidental. Who else is getting flashbacks to the nascent Ariana Grande/Pete Davidson rumors back in 2018? If Shawn and Camila get engaged in a few weeks, it’s real.

On the fourth of July, Shawn and Camila were seen wearing all white at a pool party in West Hollywood and touching each others hands... not holding hands, just touching. Their matching ensembles look more photoshoot-y than budding relationship to me, but what do I know, I’m a cynic! Let’s not forget that the allegedly fakest celebrity relationship of them all, Taylor Swift and actor Tom Hiddleston, came to a head on the fourth of July, in 2016.

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Image: BACKGRID

This, to me, is clearly just a friendship.

Here are the images of Shawn and Camila that cropped up on Monday. They’re skipping, they’re holding hands, they’re still not kissing. Why? In my estimation, because they’re friends who are milking this PR bit for “Señorita” single propaganda (which, by the way, they’re absolutely going to benefit from all this pseudo-news.) Dog, it’s sus as hell.

Image: BACKGRID

In celebrity news culture, it’s easy to mistake two hot people standing near one another for chemistry. That seems like what is happening here. Wake up, my children. I’d bet money that the paps were called to this location to capture these shots.

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Hours later, TMZ posted a video of the two “caught” caressing at Kitchen24 in West Hollywood, allegedly captured at 5 a.m. on Sunday. Kinda convenient how all this content of the two purportedly smooching it up is coming out at the same time. Where was it... mere days ago?

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I’m calling bullshit. I see asexual affection.