Recently, a not-yet divorced Kim Kardashian and a decidedly-single Pete Davidson were spotted by the paparazzi holding hands on a rollercoaster at Knott’s Scary Farms. The two were accompanied by Travis Barker and Kim’s sister Kourtney, and apparently the anonymous source who assured People, who published the photos as a breathless exclusive, that the hand-holding and the rollercoaster activities were indicative of nothing more than friendship blossoming in the public eye. “They hang in the same circles so they will be together from time to time,” the source said. “It’s just friends hanging out.”
Shortly after this first sighting, Kardashian arrived in New York to attend the WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards. Naturally, the press made a big deal of this travel, noting that Kim went to New York City, which also happens to be where Pete Davidson lives and works, some three days after they were spotted holding hands. New York City is home to many people that aren’t just Pete Davidson, but Kardashian’s pre-scheduled arrival for an event that she had been invited to was coincidence enough for the press to make a very large mountain out of a molehill. And now, TMZ has entered the fray, with a development that feels slightly too tantalizing to ignore: Kim and Pete recently enjoyed dinner together in a “secret rendezvous” on Staten Island.
If we connect these dots, which are truly nothing, it is clear what the press wants us to believe: Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson are dating, or will be soon enough, and this is certainly not a play for publicity, orchestrated by nefarious forces behind the scenes. Neither Kim or Pete has deigned to comment publicly on the nature of their relationship, realizing that the best way to deal with the scrutiny is to remain silent. But for the casual observer of the two who might be invested in the happiness of either party, it’s crucial to acknowledge what I believe firmly to be truth: This is not a real relationship, so don’t fall into this trap.
There is something thrilling about the possibility of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson attempting an actual relationship, if you set aside the sheer ridiculousness of this proposition. The restaurant that hosted their secret rendezvous is called Campania and, per my brief research, features coal-fired pizza as its specialty. Imagining Kim Kardashian boarding the Staten Island Ferry and getting in an Uber to go eat pizza and a big salad with Pete Davidson thrills me. Though I feel certain that Kim met Pete at the restaurant after climbing out of an Escalade with its windows tinted dark as night, I will entertain my fantasy of Kim pretending to understand that Staten Island is a part of New York City, even though she likely hasn’t heard of it. Perhaps her understanding of the oft-forgotten fifth borough is only through the lens of Staten Island’s other native son, the big-toothed, lax-bro adjacent Colin Jost. Perhaps her time at Campania endeared her to Pete’s background, and the warmth she feels towards him personally is not romantic, but maternal in a way that she can’t quite explain. This could be the beginning of a beautiful but unlikely friendship, like if a walrus were to somehow befriend a weasel. More likely, though, it could be a fat load of nothing—Kim’s attempt at getting out in front of her flop era by making some waves.
Though the Kardashians will never truly endure a flop era, as they are extraordinarily wealthy, famous, and will be for the rest of their lives, it is rare for the sisters to share the spotlight. Kim’s dominance has been unshakeable for what feels like eons, but her place has been threatened by her older sister, Kourtney, who is now finally climbing out of her own flop era, thanks to her engagement to Travis Barker. It would be cruel and unfair to suggest that Kim and Pete’s public friendship was something that Kim thought of herself, but perhaps Kris Jenner, the wily witch pulling the strings of this entire operation, had something to say? If you take the long view, here, Pete Davidson is a tattoo man with a troubled past looking to figure out what it means to be good; he’s also friends with Travis Barker and another tattoo man, MGK. All these tattoo men, save for Pete, are dating hot brunette women, but the difference is that both MGK and Travis Barker seem to actually care about the pretty brunettes in their care, and Pete, bless him, is just along for the ride.
It’s not that Kim is bad and Pete is good; life is too complicated to reduce either party to those binaries. But the seams on this manufactured “relationship” are already showing. In short, there’s nothing much to see here, except two people trying to figure it out.