A TATBT 'Bachelor' Recap: This Virgin Moves Fast

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For those of you playing along at home: Colton is still a virgin; all the 27-and-up women in the house have been sequestered into one room so as not to get their old lady germs on anyone; sexual impurity is still a thing women are led to feel shame about; Demi is the little girl from Problem Child all grown up who spent her hard-earned 90s paychecks solely on the Free People clearance rack. And we, my friends — we remain in a prison of our own making.

With any new season of The Bachelor, I find myself making a few comparisons to sorority life to describe various situations with the women. The seasons are long, these recaps are long, the perfectly curled blonde hair is long; so at some point I'm probably going to mention that Sara T seems like someone who considers winning the run-off for Kappa Kappa Gama Vice President of Recruitment to be her crowning example of overcoming adversity, and she will tell future employers about it in a cover letter application…

But in this season of The Bachelor — this season chock full of virgin punnery and golden birthday excitement and beauty queen feuds and recent college graduates — I find myself wanting to make a sorority analogy approximately every other scene. I mean, just look at this photo from Chi O bid day:

For the record, I was barely in a sorority — we didn't have a house because of that ongoing collegiate urban legend that houses containing more than five women are technically considered brothels in some states, which is not true but it is something we believed, a fun little vantage point on dangerous female sexuality that we will come back to shortly — but watching this season is still giving me visceral flashbacks to my days as a sorority sister, just about the only other time when a group of women this large and this young would ever be grouped together like this.

When the second group date culminated in a literal tug-of-war over Colton's fratty ass, I found myself thinking, tug-of-wars as an adult are actually so hard. Then I thought: Why do I even have that knowledge…? And the reason is: when I was just a year or two younger than many of these women, I competed in a tug-of-war at Sigma Chi Derby Days. Because this season of The Bachelor is basically just a Sigma Chi Derby Days with a lot less sex.

All this is, of course, not to say that age correlates with maturity 100 percent of the time. The budding feud between Demi and Tracy, who both suck in equal measure, is proof that maturity is a spectrum and age is not necessarily the axis upon which it slides. We've got a 31-year-old and a 23-year-old slumming it on the ground-side of this emotional teeter-totter, while high up in the air like the queens that I thus far believe them to be are Elyse, another 31-year-old, and Nicole, a 25-year-old.

What Colton says to Elyse while staring into her beautiful face like a college freshman hoping his English Lit professor is about to risk it all, is true: Age doesn't mean anything…

Except for the times that it does, like: drinking, driving, voting, sexual intercourse, emotional compatibility, Social Security benefits, R-rated movies, renting a car, and getting a senior citizen discount at Waffle House. But are there 23-year-olds who are mentally and emotionally mature enough to commit their lives to another person? Sure! Look at my parents; look at plenty of my friends; look at Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr., still out there killin' the monogamy game…

It's just that when you put a bunch of early-20-something women in a house together and make them compete for a boyfriend, the youngness really jumps out in a way that i might not otherwise. These women are exclusively calling each other "girls”; they're still throwing around the toxic value judgments they learned at PASSPORT© Christian Camp; they're making loud noises to get attention; they're hand-wringing about other girls "heading upstairs" with boys. And most tellingly: they think being young is somehow superior to being old.

Or, at least one of them does.

Ohhhhh, Demi, Demi, Demi. Only a 23-year-old thinks being a 23-year-old is a net positive. I look back on being 23 and, sure, it was fun to barely need to wear a bra or know the difference between hyaluronic and glycolic acids, but it's only because I didn't know any better.

The thing that Demi seems to be overlooking when she rags on the women older than her is that: good and bad, time rails against all of us. Shaming Tracy and Elyse for being 31 is like a puppy shaming a dog for being a dog. Glenn Close did not cause a Golden Globes upset and make me ugly cry with that speech about her mom for this tart in an Elsa wig to call Elyse "brave" for being "willing to admit" she's 31-years-old.

Oh yes, age comes for all of us, Demi. Your ovaries will lose their viable eggs, and that space between your eyebrows will gain a permanently furrowed pause sign just as sure as Tracy's will. You can only hope you do the hard emotional work along the way so that when your time comes, you're happy enough with where you've ended up to not end up crying on the ground because a sentient My Size Barbie was mean to you during a fake party.

Aaaaanyway, the fish rots at the head, and here our golden fraternity president stands, thinking he really has a handle on planning Beach Weekend this year, not realizing that ABC is about to push him so thoroughly into the virgin-as-personality corner, that the rest of the rich tapestry of emotional turmoil that consumes his mind will surely explode outward in a geyser-like fashion.

If they really wanted to commit to this sorority cosplay bit they've been doing so far, they'd give us that age-old trope about the hot, nice guy you went to college with who never seemed to be interested in the girls that were interested in him, got one step off campus after graduation, moved to San Francisco, and left us all slapping our heads for being so oblivious, but feeling really happy for that hot, nice guy.

Do you hear me, Colton? We would be really happy for that hot, nice guy!!!


There are a few weird firsts happening in this season of The Bachelor that have nothing to do with Colton (please no, please no, please no) having sex for the first time in the Fantasy Suites Brought to You By Chris Harrison and Throw Pillows™, nor the forced theme of the season's first group date.

No, first, there's this thing where ABC is showing a full preview of the season at every other commercial break, like if we don't see 220 pounds of linebacker haul himself over a gate and Hannah B drawling, "Wut…jest…happind" every 20 minutes, we're going to lose interest in the season.

ABC, if we let you choose a jobless man-boy as the Bachelor and still followed you into the season, one might surmise that you could literally come home at midnight smelling of Clinique Happy with your shirt on inside out, telling us it was a real long night at the office with your co-worker Larissa… and we would still be right here with you through the Final Rose. We have just that much self-loathing.

But no one could have more than Colton who is now a…VLOGGER???

He opens the episode doing, like, a video confessional style that we've never seen from this show before? I'm sure he's giving us a ton of great insight into his current feelings and fears, but all I can look at is how he keeps ruffling his hair like all my most loved and loathed Instagram-Live-ers. What is it about seeing ourselves in a screen that makes us want to continually adjust our hair, and what is it that makes us think no one will notice us touching our bangs every 10 seconds?

'The Bachelor' premiere recap: Chekhov's Butterfly

Pssst: if you have any trouble viewing this especially lengthy recap, just head to the TATBT website!

To quote a former friend of mine who was actually 12 family-size packs of ground beef shaped into human-form and turned sentient by an evil witch, Chad:


You're going to brag about this three-hour episode to me for weeks, you're going to call this a "live" premiere unlike any we've ever seen, you're going to make me actually sit in front of my television and watch commercials like some kind of old-timey American Girl doll who has to churn butter by candlelight while wearing a belted burlap sack as a dress, and then you're going to make an hour-and-a-half of that run-time BACHELOR WATCH PARTIES???

Chris Harrison Abc GIF by The Bachelor

The Bachelor…what are you thinking, pals? Has anyone—anyone—ever asked for more Jared? Let alone Jared screaming back and forth from a crowd of hill people in Utah to Chris Harrison and a crowd of smoothie shop employees in L.A.? I have had time to sit with this, and I truly cannot believe that the producers of this show sat down at a table, looked each other in the eyes, and said, You know what the watchers of our show want? To watch each other watch it.

Chris Harrison, you monster in a fancy car salesman's body—I am a watch party! Why would we want to watch Bachelor-watching parties while we are watching The Bachelor? We could just look in the mirror and scream until we go hoarse and it would have the same effect as you throwing to Kaitlyn Bristowe every five minutes to gauge how excited a crowd of Bachelor fans are.

kaitlyn bristowe dab GIF by The Bachelor

Chris, would you be excited to host a show about other show-hosts hosting a show? Colton, would you like to date 30 women who are simultaneously dating 30 other women? Doesn't that seem like it would be a bit of a distraction from the main event? Surely there was three hours' worth of footage to be mined from this night that featured 30 women meeting their potential husband in five-minute increments over the course of 12 hours.

The cocktail party starts in the dark and ends in broad daylight, for goodness’ sake! I have to imagine Colton's first-night rejections felt like they were emerging from some off-brand Captain America matinee showing. They come in looking like Disney princesses and they leave dehydrated, with matted extensions, and covered in glitter-feces like a bunch of gorgeous zoo animals held in captivity for too long.

I would gladly watch a live feed of women slowly losing their grip on reality because they couldn’t get any face time with an adult virgin due to a Fort Lauderdale D.J. repeatedly stealing him away to talk about her geriatric dog…

Instead, we were saddled with a over an hour of watching other people watch The Bachelor in between actually meeting the 30 women we came here to meet. I'm almost afraid to tell you this, but you know Bri? No, come on, you remember her? The young woman that introduced herself to Colton in an Australian accent and just full-on faked being from another country in order to get noticed. Y'know, the one I wrote 1,000 words about, professing my love and allegiance to before the premiere even hit the air. Ringing any bells?

episode 1 accent GIF by The Bachelor

Okay, great, well these jerks never even told us if Colton found out she wasn't Australian, or not! She just cruised right through the rose-receiving line without us ever hearing from her again.

And then they had the nerve—the absolute gall—to publish a! deleted! scene! of Bri telling Colton she's a liar. A three-hour premiere had time for the proposals of two sets of strangers, 17 former Bachelor contestants with brand new faces screaming some variation of "We're having a blast out here in Montana" 17,000 times, and a full segment of Chris Harrison staring lovingly at old footage of Chris Harrison…

Chris Harrison Abc GIF by The Bachelor

But they didn't have time to close the loop on the the very limo introduction that THEY have been touting all over the internet?! The balls on this season of The Bachelor are of the absolute biggest and bluest variety.

To quote my arch nemesis, Chris Harrison, during that montage that proved once and for all that he is a vampire who feasts on the blood of the wicked to stay young, so truly, hiring a virgin was the only way for the franchise to ever hope to defeat him:

"You told everyone last night to suck a d*ck."

Indeed, ABC, you did! Because you know that even though my complete abandon of the laws of italics and exclamation points can only mean one thing — that your 90 minutes of live watch party footage broke me — I will still tune my happy ass right back in all season long to see what could possibly make Colton haul his 6’3 self over a nine-foot tall fence, forcing production to go full Blair Witch Project in the woods in the season preview.

They know that they could go one-for-one interspersing scenes of Nick Viall practicing his stand-up comedy routine, live footage of Ashley I trying to take the perfect selfie, and just a silent scrolling feed of Different Eyewear sunglasses in between every minute of actual Bachelor footage, and I would still watch the entire season [ed. Note: I want to be clear that I WOULD draw the line at every having to hear Becca say "go find your Garrett" ever again]. Because they know that they have a hot ass mess on their hands, and we wanna watch it.

ABC told us to suck a dick, and by golly, we did it. For three straight hours.

And at the end of it, we know even less about Colton than we did before. Because we have only ever been told two things about Colton, repeatedly and without relent: Colton is a virgin and Colton is a former NFL player. Both are true on a scale of how heteronormatively you categorize "sex", and how loosely you define "active NFL playing time," respectively. And if I had a nickel for every time I've had to consider those two things at once, I could afford my very own sequined sloth suit.

These are the Colton-characteristics that ABC throws in our face constantly, but the thing that Colton wants to make sure we're clear on is the fact that he is very comfortable in his skin and he's totally ready for marriage, and he's not at all defensive about audiences not believing him. Not. At. All.

Virginity, football, readiness—that's what we're being told. But the one thing we know, vis a vis what we’ve seen, is that our big boy Colton generally thinks he's emotionally ready for something, starts out real strong, begins spiraling the moment he realizes he's going to have to make an emotionally difficult decision, has a full-tilt meltdown when he realizes what that decision should be, and is eventually reduced to nothing but a sleeveless-hoodie full of tears when he executes the decision.

The kid is built like a brick house, has the emotional fragility of a Dorito, and he has no idea. At one point in the premiere he tells a potential life partner while explaining how his young age doesn't preclude him from being ready for marriage: "My life experience has made me more of a man than most 30-year-olds."

Episode 1 Abc GIF by The Bachelor

And I don’t think even the 23-year-old beauty queen that he says it to — the one wearing a "Miss Underwood" sash declaring her to be Colton's unmarried female relative — really buys it.

But Colton does, and that's what's important. Because that means that no matter what, even if this premiere was fairly uneventful and even if we did have to watch it in itty bitty increments between scenes of Ben Higgins being accosted by a woman in a toboggan and Krystal and Goose-Chris 100 percent catching a staph infection in a parking lot hot tub…

The wheels are coming off this thing eventually.

It might not be good for Colton, but it will be good for us. Remember how it felt to watch Peter rip his sweater off in anger because he truly Felt Something for Rachel? This season has that kind of potential. And that's not even mentioning the most important part of any Bachelor season: the women.


Even with only 20 collective minutes of air time in the premiere, I am here to tell you that this particular group of women is geared up.

Bri from 'The Bachelor' Is Out Here Living in 3019

The Hemsworths are SHAKING right now

The Bachelor franchise has long been known for its gimmicky out-of-limo introductions: there have been cupcake cars and shark suits; there have been grandmothers (okay) and children (not okay); there have been wedding dresses and pregnancy suits (Clare Crawley, the GOAT), horses and hearses, and enough original songs and poetry to fill an open mic night sign-up sheet before the performing arts school kids even had a chance.

While watching a lengthy Bachelor premiere like the one airing tonight, those gimmicky intros might make you want to make a coffee-table-book-sandwich out of your head. But they're still better than any intro that features an earnest declaration of a "journey" (audition process) that brought them "here" (chlamydia-infested stucco bunker) to find "love" (princess-cut Neil Lane diamond with an expiration date). The best possible scenario when introducing oneself to the Bachelor is to be nice, natural, a little funny, and most importantly, the exact kind of hot our salami-of-the-season is into...

Until now.  Bri from Colton's season has changed the game.

I assumed that today I would be writing about Sunday night’s Golden Globes cermeony and the various thirst traps therein: Timothee Chalamet's sparkle harness, Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh serving face on the red carpet, Andy Sandberg's Warby Parkers, the Black Panther cast existing, Jamie Lee Curtis bangin' bod making me actually consider eating that digestive yogurt, Rami Malek's permanently-clenched jaw, Chris Pine's salt-and-pepper beard, Idris Elba's salt-and-pepper beard, Tony Shaloub's salt-and-pepper beard, Steve Carell's salt-and-pepper beard… ahem, et cetera, et cetera.

See, I had notes! I was ready. And after all, I had already linked the early unveiling of Bri's fake Australian accent at the end of the last newsletter. I had done my due diligence as a reluctant Bachelor historian. And yet...

I couldn't get Bri's Australian maneuver off my mind. This innovative young woman looked at her resume as a model from Los Angeles who looks exactly like two-thirds of the other contestants and realized she had to do something to stand out from the crowd. And then Bri, a genius, realized there is something you can do to make yourself seem more interesting without having to ride in on a fucking camel — you can lie.

You can just...lie! Anyone who watches this show surely wills themselves into a fugue state every premiere so as to avoid internalizing any limo introduction in which a pilot invites Colton to taxi into her landing strip or whatever. During that time, I tend to use the small amount of empathy inside the reality TV lobe of my brain to try and imagine how awful my own limo introduction would be. My main hobbies are knowing about pop culture, texting with my friends about pop culture, and writing about The Bachelor. So what the hell would I tell a former professional athlete four years my junior if they somehow let a woman over a size four into one of those limos?

I'm not even interesting enough to have an embarrassing gimmick! But you know what I am incredible at?

Lying without guilt because some lies don't matter. And it seems that Bri knows this truth too. My new favorite Bachelor contestant just flew right by "gimmick" and straight to "trick." 

A trick is what my five-year-old nephew calls a lie because when you're five, lying has no stakes. It's not like he's going to tell a potential employer he knows how to use Photoshop, and then be in a real bind when he gets the job. No, he's going to tell me he didn't eat the M&Ms in the cabinet while chocolate is smeared all over his face.

That's exactly what Bri, a bobble-headed legend, is doing. She's already on this show. Bri is looking down the barrel of this thing like, BEST CASE SCENARIO I get engaged to this guy and spend six months of my life going to obscure music festivals and wearing sponsored flow-y dresses for whatever "Revolve" is, then we break up just publicly enough that I have to post a screenshot from my Notes app...

So why not go ahead and fake an Australian accent? And a pretty good one, at that! And she doesn’t even technically lie to Colton, saying that the “accent is from Australia,” not that she is from Australia. Bri's effortless switch from coy Aussie lass while speaking to Colton, over to dead-eyed Hadid sister while speaking to the camera made me fear her more than her razor-sharp nose or perfect body ever could. This is a woman who is not afraid do what it takes to get noticed on The Bachelor because, what's the worst that could happen? Colton figures her out?

I don't know how long Bri can pull this off, but I do know that I love, respect, and fear her, and that she has me geared up to meet this group of 23-year-old maniacs who reasonably could have been watching this show since they were in the first grade.

It is ingrained in their DNA to figure out how to stand out, and just look at them: turning up and turning out to win the attentions of this giant job-less man. It is my only hope that many, many other women will attempt to trick Colton with some mostly harmless lies. Two short ones should stack on top of each other in a gown to make a tall one. Or someone could bring one of those PARO therapeutic robot seals for elderly people and tell him it's a real seal — he would believe them! Or you could tell him you're related to a random celebrity Colton would know but not have any access to…

Dammit, if someone doesn't tell Colton that LeAnn Rimes is her aunt, I will lose all this faith that Bri — Margot Robbie's cousin — has built up in me. Let's do this, ladies. Give us the season we deserve, not the virginity-themed season ABC is trying to force-feed down our Australian throats! 

See you back here on Wednesday to find out if Bri kept her Australian accent up for the entire THREE-HOUR PREMIERE. Crikey, indeed.

'Tidying Up with Marie Kondo' Soothes, Sears, and Self-Actualizes

My 2019 New Year’s resolutions now include: tidying up and never ever calling anyone "babe" ever, ever again

The most commonly used subtitle in Netflix's Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is “[peaceful music playing].”

It pops up on the screen multiple times throughout any episode to score various tidying montages, but my very favorite peaceful music plays when Marie Kondo kneels down on the ground to greet each house she enters. Reader, I cry every single time this woman puts her playing-card-sized-hands palm-down on a laminate floor to silently thank each home for housing her clients who range anywhere from selfless saints to simmering rage monsters.

Because, as it turns out — Marie Kondo is a Glenda-style good witch.

The KonMari Method encourages seemingly hopeless wrecks to sort through their material things, only keeping that which is absolutely necessary and that which “sparks joy” in them.

But if you've read Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up first, her sprite-like presence on Netflix, free from all judging or shaming, might come as a surprise. The book reads a bit like a porcupine: all jagged "you fold your socks like this or you FAIL" spikes on the outside, but deep down inside, you know it's just cute Marie Kondo wanting you to live your best life… which yes, still means not balling up your socks up like a fucking idiot. 

Smartly, Netflix faces that innate good-heartedness outward in the series, letting the lurking shame and anxiety that attaches itself to clutter show through the personal stories of Kondo’s clients instead. Of course, we know there’s a deeper meaning to why we won’t just make things easier on ourselves by getting our messes in order — but it’s a little easier to face when you can hear Marie Kondo say that she loves your mess, and better yet, you're going to love folding it all into perfect rectangles too.

I'm not saying the series is better than the book — I happen to be a cold, calculated purger and have no problem with the feeling of Marie Kondo fussing me into submission until I pile all of my clothes on the bed, pick up each heather gray tank top I've purchased because I couldn't remember that I already had 60 heather gray tank tops, and decide if each one sparks joy in me or if I should thank it for catching all those spilled condiments over the years and release it from duty.

No, I don't mind being told to do that by an invisible Japanese woman who has perfected the art of managing material mess. But the visual element of watching Kondo delicately and sincerely thank a #SQUADGOALS tank top for all that its done, before gingerly folding it into quarters because it does, in fact, bring its owner joy adds a whole new level of magic to the tidying process.

Much like Queer Eye digs into the deeper meaning of why the Fab 5's clients have stopped taking care of themselves, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo separates the daunting anxiety that's often associated with organizing one's home, and shows the personal trials and burdens that we're projecting onto the actual art of tidying up. 

Cleaning isn't the nightmare — we're the nightmares!

Nowhere is this more evident than in the first episode, which if you’re already feeling hesitant about Tidying Up, you might want to skip over. But if you relish in that nervous kind of gut-twist; that "Oh no, that's not what I sound like, is it" kind of self-assessment; that masochistic thrill that comes with knowing your feminist rants are still well-placed because the patriarchy is alive and fucking well in the average American home — then let me introduce you to the Friend family.

The Friends are not bad people. They seem like caring parents, they try really hard to not hate each other, and I have never been more sure of anything in my life than that these two met when they were placed in the same Young Life leader group. They have thrown Starbursts out in a high school cafeteria before, and now the Starbursts are getting thrown back at them in the form of life-with-toddlers.

It's unclear why Netflix would choose to start this soothing series with a harried couple who seem on the brink of a breakdown. There can be only two explanations, the most obvious being that this show was put together by male editors who didn’t realize that every woman watching would see that this man acting like his wife (who stays at home with their children full-time, works part-time, and seemingly does every single other chore) hiring someone else to do their laundry is lazy, instead of just offering to do it himself if it bother him so much, is some "women's work" bullshit…

So again, if watching two people bubbling just under their skin with rage at each other is not your thing, might I recommend starting with episode 2 featuring the Akiyamas, two charming nutcracker-and-baseball-card hoarders who are completely at ease with each other, or episode 3 featuring the Mersiers, a family so kind and conscientious, I am not entirely sure they weren't lifted straight from the Disney Channel. There were no dogs or blogs or vlogs to babies in their episode, but I have never seen tween siblings act like they didn't want to stuff socks into each other's mouths every five minutes, instead, settling for joyously telling their hoodies and headbands that they appreciate them in the bedroom they share and never complain about once…

That's just the effect Marie Kondo has. She floats into homes and makes already-good people even better because she makes already-good homes even better.

She doesn't judge anyone for letting cough drops melt onto their closet floor or having the rumpus room covered in wall-to-wall Christmas tchotchkes in March. When Margie, a recent widow, feels like she needs to go through her late husband's clothes before she can mentally move onto anything else, Marie changes the format for her, because that's what Margie needs to find joy. (To be fair, Marie does, occasionally, offer some very fair other judgments.)

But to give both the series and the Friends the benefit of the doubt, starting the series off with their tense dynamic could have been an effort to show right away, that the KonMari Method is both as easy and as difficult as it seems. It’s an achievable process for anyone, yes, but getting organized is not a fix-all: you cannot fold toddlers into rectangles and stash them neatly into drawers. You can fold your toddlers' clothes into rectangles and place them neatly in drawers so that you don't have to lose your mind finding what they're screaming they want to wear each morning.

Sure, every time they called each other “babe” felt like a daggered threat, and yes, to hear a two-year-old child demand to breast feed using a fully constructed sentence with a subject, a verb, and a noun (the noun is "boobies") was a little unnerving, even to Marie...

But I'm sure plenty of married couples with young children could see something of themselves in the Friends' struggle to stay above water with jobs and children and unending laundry. As a non-married person with no children, I happened to recognize more of the "Dinner Party" episode of The Office than myself in their journey toward a tidier home…

Still, I can appreciate that the Friends’ journey dealt with a more complex side of domestic life, elevating Tidying Up beyond a HGTV de-cluttering shows or a happy version of Hoarders, and into the guided-self-actualization genre Netflix has carved out a space for with shows like Queer Eye and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.

Ignoring physical mess and clutter is often indicative of ignoring deeper internal issues, and confronting clutter won't make those other things disappear any more readily. If your husband is someone who thinks you, a woman, should do the laundry even though he's the one who seems to like it done in a particular way, that might not change just because you organize your utensil drawer. But confronting the spatulas, and the laundry, and the old magazines until there's only material joy left might make it seem more manageable to confront other areas where joy is being suppressed too.

If you found the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to feel a little judgmental, then Tidying Up With Marie Kondo is proof that the KonMari style of cleaning isn't centered around shaming or judging — it's just a simple practice to be followed. And if it helps to think about not wanting to disappoint this tiny woman with your garbage-fire of a dresser, then so be it. I might recommend, instead, finding inspiration in how utterly blissed out Kondo seems all the time, and envision that you too could be that happy and keep a white cardigan that clean if you just put all your joy-filled toiletries into tiny boxes, organized by size and shape.

Love this photo of Marie Kondo describing me!

See you trash bags back here next week for The Bachelor premiere! Here’s a clip of one contestant pretending to be from Australia to get you excited…

Michelle Obama's Balenciaga Boots Are Gonna Teach Us How to Say Goodbye


If I were the kind of old person who thought good things were only for me and my generation, I might say that fashion, the color yellow, jaws-dropped, and lewks-served ended forever on the same night as part one of Michelle Obama's Becoming book tour. That would, of course, be the night that she paired a yellow draped silk shirt-dress with thigh-high, glittering, gilded to the gods, good-gracious-holographic Balenciaga boots…

But I’m not that kind of old person (I’m just the regular skin-care-is-a-fun-hobby-for-me-now-I-guess old), and those things didn't stop forever just because my heart briefly did when I realized there was not some visual effect on Michelle Obama's legs that night in Brooklyn, but that Michelle Obama's legs were wrapped in an entire elementary school's worth of sticker charts—AND EVERYONE GOT THE FULL-FIVE STARS FOR SLAYING.

At the sold-out Barclays Center, Michelle told her interviewer, Sarah Jessica Parker — who, in an elegant sequined sheath, was made to look like a wee freshman on her first day of fash-un-skewl — that there wasn't really a message behind these boots. "Now I'm free to do whatever," Vogue quoted Michelle telling the crowd: "They were just really cute. I was like, 'Those some nice boots.'"

Whatever Michelle Obama tells me, I will believe, so I trust that she was not trying to send some deeper message to me by cloaking her legs in one thousand Rolo wrappers. But, paired with the themes she writes about in Becoming, I couldn’t help but take on my own understanding of those boots when I first spotted them on Instagram.

Whether Michelle meant for them to or not, those boots called to me — a beacon as bold and iconic as A Christmas Story's leg-lamp. If I could run my hand up them like Ralphie before someone slapped me away and charged me $4,000, I'm confident a genie would emerge, looking something like a golden Kool-Aid [Wo]Man, to tell me: You, too, are free to make the changes that you want, as long as they are also compassionate and considered. And then, I imagine, this genie would snap in a Z-formation with her perfectly toned genie arms.  

Because Michelle Obama is not just a fashion plate, or a movie star, or a [Wo]Man In the Big Yellow Hat cosplayer emerging onstage in these boots. She is the former First Lady of the United States. And now that that's over with, she is wearing precisely what she wants; she is serving us gold-foiled cake; she is, quite literally, walking on sunshine. And why? Because, well—those some nice boots.

Image result for getty michelle obama balenciaga

In the book of Michelle Obama's life, even something as significant as being the First Lady for eight years will still just be a chapter. At the culmination of a very difficult year for the nation, these boots on Michelle Obama remind me that chapters end, and that can be a very good thing; it can be a very bad thing; it is, always, inevitable. We can't be everything all at once, but we can be a lot of things at many different times if we give ourselves the space to be. That's what the boots said to me…

Plus, they look like a Magic Eye poster and a disco ball got frisky at Studio 54. They are just just, in general, amazing.

So, imagine me, in bed on Thursday night, feeling so proud of my deep Instagram thoughts, glitter dancing behind my eyelids, composing this poem in my notes app before I drift off to sleep like a particularly earnest Taylor Swift…

I have seen

the boots

that were on

Michelle Obama's thighs


From which

you will probably


rightly recover


Forgive her

this powerful slay

so fierce

and so gold

Only to wake up Friday morning and find that Lin-Manuel Miranda just one-upped me big time [ed. note: typical] by dropping the 13th and last installment in his "Hamildrop" remix series: "One Last Time (44 Remix)," sung by Hamilton’s original George Washington, Christopher Jackson, and featuring BeBe Winans, a soaring gospel choir, oh and also…

Husband of Michelle Obama, 44th President of the United States, and next-of-kin to *the boots*, BARACK OBAMA, taking over reciting Washington's farewell address in "One Last Time.” A song about — you guessed it — saying goodbye gracefully and moving on to whatever comes next.

These American sweethearts are going to teach us how to how to say goodbye even if it kills me, and they're going to look so fucking cool doing it. I'll see you back here next week for one more look back at 2018 (we're talking best-of lists, baby!), and then it's on to the next chapter…

Where The Bachelor awaits us. I cannot promise grace or compassion featuring prominently there, but never fear: there will be more than enough glitter to make up for it.

[Photos (3): Getty Images Entertainment]

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