Why Paul Mescal and Phoebe Bridgers Breakup Rumors Broke the Internet | Culture

They are the Shakira/Piqué of the online world, the Preysler/Vargas Llosa of the sighted. After the sun, read Ottessa Moshfegh and know what you mean by “Lorde and Jack Antonoff PDF”. Breakup, still unconfirmed Normal People star Paul Mescal and singer Phoebe Bridgers have broken the hearts of self-proclaimed “internet girls” and those who aren’t just girls.

Rumors of a breakup began circulating in late December. As with almost all international gossip press stories, the story originated on Deux Moi, a website that shares anonymous images of celebrities in the wild. In this case, the Deux Moi podcast, Deux U, noted that Bridgers and comedian-director Bo Burnham were seen “getting married” on a date at New York’s Connelly Theatre. At the same time, 1975 singer Matty Healy posted a photo on his account showing him and Bridgers kissing, with Burnham behind them as if blessing the meeting. This theory was even supported by the singer’s words. In the song Bridgers wrote for SZA, Ghost in the car, he talks about “standing on my own” and fighting someone at New York’s Ludlow Hotel. “You said all my friends were on my paycheck/You ain’t wrong, you’re bad/Screaming at you in Ludlow/I was yours for free,” the lyrics continue.

Mescal has since been spotted in London having coffee with Angelina Jolie and Jolie’s daughter Shiloh, although they are believed to be a couple. Jolie was congratulating Mescal after seeing her performance A tram called Desire Almeida Theater.

When the news broke, social media was abuzz with laments like, “I can’t continue to live in a world where Paul Bridgers and Paul Mescal aren’t together.” TikTok creators have prepared tear-jerking montages with their scenes Normal People, the series that made Meskal famous, and photos of the couple at the Met Gala. The hashtag #paulmescalandphoebebridgers has reached 3.2 million views.

Why such an emotional investment for a couple who have only been together for a year and a half and only have a few photos together? Several factors explain the interests. For starters, a certain corner of internet culture sees Bridgers and Mescal’s relationship as something of their own making: it happened right before their eyes. The first meeting between Bridgers and Mescal happened in full view of the world, on Instagram Live, and the first connection happened on Twitter.

It was May 2020, the height of the first pandemic lockdown. Like everyone else, Phoebe Bridgers followed Normal PeopleThe series, based on Sally Rooney’s novel, has just premiered and tweeted: ‘Just watched Normal People and now I’m sad and angry,” Mescal, already a fan of the singer, replied, “I’m officially dead.” Bridgers, who continued her public flirtation with hundreds of thousands of likes at a time when there were no events, no premieres and no award shows to watch, replied: “yooo don’t die, you’re so talented, aha.”

Shortly after that, Wonderland magazine came up with the idea of ​​inviting them to their now famous Instagram meetups. “What’s the opposite?” Mescal (the Irish way of saying “what’s up”) started. “I think it’s well documented that I’m a fan of your music,” he said. Over the next few minutes, she virtually introduced him to her plant, Henry.

Confirmation of the two seeing each other in the flesh also came on Twitter. In July 2020, the Lemon Tree Cafe in Kinsale, Ireland tweeted that the two had breakfast there. Mescal later appeared with Phoebe Waller Bridge in the video for the song Bridgers Savior Complex, but it would be another year before the pair, blessed and outfitted by Gucci, made a public appearance together at a gala held at the LACMA museum in Los Angeles. By then, part of the population had already decided that the American singer-songwriter and the Irish actor were their ideal couple, twenty-somethings Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, a new version of the Alex Turner/Alexa Chung duo. has a cult. It’s hard to resist such a calculated combination of glamour, success, talent and talented clothing: in the most famous photo of the two of them bundled up on the beach, the Prada logo is clearly visible on his jacket. Even their hair was aspirational and just the right alternate point: a trendy mullet for him, a signature platinum gray dye for her.

It was the last case of a send-up, a term that refers to the desire by followers of a fandom for two or more people, either real-life people or fictional characters, to be romantically or sexually involved. This is what is known as a ‘parasocial relationship’.

The phrase caught the attention of another relatively niche celebrity divorce a little over a year ago in the United States and the Internet Republic. Comedian John Mulaney, who joined his wife, fashion designer and photographer Anne Marie Tendler in his comic routines, has announced that he has separated from her and is expecting a child with actress Olivia Munn soon after. Many social network users reacted as if they had experienced a cruel betrayal.

“When you have a parasocial relationship with someone, you look up to them and you idealize them in some way. After all, you really want that person to be happy and successful in every way. […] said Sally Theran, a professor of psychology who specializes in examining such predictions Harper’s Bazaar. According to Thera, some extreme examples of this include the prospect of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston getting back together, or the collective cheering when Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck gave their relationship a second chance.

Clinical psychologist Arianna Brandolini d’Adda, who has her own YouTube channel, explained in her article. Repeller The reason we care so much about celebrity divorces is based on evolutionary theory. “As humans, we are programmed to focus on the dominant individuals in the group, in this case celebrities. “Just by observing and learning what high-status people do, you’re more likely to become one,” he said. “Focusing on what those at the top are doing serves a political purpose because it will better equip you to operate on the social stage. “Celebrities often represent the fantasy of what we want to have, so it’s quite natural to get involved in their lives and relationships.” This was the case in early Hollywood, but no one watched Carole Lombard and Clark Gable dating live on Instagram. The seemingly unfiltered access to celebrities provided by social media reinforces this illusion of intimacy.

In the theater of celebrity relationships, still shaped by traditional norms of monogamy, the worst role is usually given to the woman who is perceived as the “homewrecker”, the reason for the breakup of a much-loved heterosexual couple. So far, Bo Burnham doesn’t get the vitriol that, say, Olivia Munn does. As one tweet concluded: “This is all like Brangelina for people on Lexapro.” Those who are emotionally invested in Bridgers and Mescal’s relationship are left to peruse Mescal’s photos with the singer and wait for clues about the divorce in her next album.

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