Solving the Mystery of My Taylor Swift Dreams

Since last fall, I have been dreaming about hanging out with Taylor Swift.

And I’m not talking about, like, wishing she and I might one day spend time together. No. I’m being literal. I’m talking about the fact that every time I’ve closed my eyes and drifted into REM over the past four months, one Taylor Alison Swift has somehow found a way to insert herself into the picture.

Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a fan. I was a fan before she became a global phenomenon who sold 1.287 million albums in a week—back when it was only like 1-point-zero-something million, even! Her entire canon, from her self-titled debut on, has nursed me through more breakups and life crises over the past eight years than any grown man should ever admit to on the Internet. (And yet here we are.)

So it is not without acknowledging the creepiness of my current situation that I share it with you. I’m vividly dreaming about a woman I don’t know but whose work I devour; it’s stalkerish. My subconscious is a stalker. It probably eats cheese and owns binoculars and doesn’t shower.

***

In my dreams, Taylor Swift and I are usually hanging out in a hotel room or a Starbucks or sometimes both. Once, we waited in line for coffee while listening to music on an iPod Classic together with a single set of headphones, using one speaker each, like best (ear!) buds. It was sweet.

But there’s a subtle dark side to the dreams, too, which comes in the form of a recurring shtick in which Taylor knowingly makes normal-people decisions for the both of us while I openly resent her for not using her celebrity status to get us special treatment.

For example, Dream-Taylor and I once ordered three hundred dollars’ worth of room service and she made us split the bill!

“Seriously, you millionaire?” I sassily asked her while reaching for my wallet. “You couldn’t pull some strings?”

She just stared at me until I woke up, at which point my tune had changed to something more like, “Wait. FINE! I’ll pay for half. I’ll pay for it all! BE MY FRIEND,” which is sad.

***

There’s one dream in particular that takes the cake. And not only because we ate cake in it. (Although we did indeed.)

It was New Year’s Eve and Taylor and I were invited to a big party at a venue with steps in front of it. There was also a fountain. It was kind of like a dream-combination of the New York Public Library, the Met, and Washington Square Park. Oh, you know what? I think it was actually Lincoln Center! But I digress.

Taylor and I showed up on the steps in our fanciest going-out clothes (Tom Brady jersey for me; ’50s bathing suit for her), but we were late and the party was over.

“What are we going to do now?” I asked my slender sidekick, exasperated.

“Let’s drive around and find something to do,” she chirped in response. “It’s New Year’s Eve!”

And then a slightly rotund hipster appeared out of nowhere and offered us a ride, which was nice and all, but suddenly there were four other people in our group and the slightly rotund hipster’s car was a tiny sedan with manual windows.

Taylor didn’t care, though, because she called shotgun—leaving the remaining five of us to squish together in the backseat like a bunch of freakin’ animals in coach! (Coach: what I’m sure Dream-Taylor flies.)

I cursed her in my dream-head, wondering why she didn’t just call a limo company and say, “I’m Taylor Swift. I’d like to order a deluxe party bus. Here’s my credit card information, which is under the name of my cat Olivia so as to preserve anonymity, thank you, good DAY!”

But she didn’t do that, the inconsiderate dream-bitch.

Eventually we all ended up in a big parking lot/alley area not unlike the music video set for *NSYNC’s “Girlfriend.” Taylor and I were vaping in a corner with some kind of sour green apple-flavored e-juice and talking about how we both really thought the everyone-going-to-jail ending of Seinfeld was criminal. “No pun intended!” she cooed as I let out an unreasonably hearty laugh. It was all so real. I can still see the green apple liquid bubbling in the vape pen of my mind.

***

There are myriad reasonable explanations for whatever it is in my subconscious that causes these dreams to happen, a few of which may even have some kind of deeper meaning and/or lesson attached. But I’d like to discount all of them for the following conspiracy theory:

I’m being haunted.

You see, last fall during a trip to the Catskill Mountains with some friends for Oktoberfest, I encountered the below mannequin at a local antique shop.

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1989? More like 1782!

Upon revisiting this photo four months later, it has become clear to me that this is obviously a Taylor Swift-impersonating mannequin-demon-ghost-of-yore with nefarious intentions. It must have latched on to me that day in the antique shop purely to haunt my dreams for no good reason (other than the fact that I outed the bitch on Instagram).

I mean, it all makes so much sense. How else to explain the selfish, miserly tendencies? Everyone knows that the real Taylor Swift showers her fans with surprise gift packages and student loan payments. How else to explain the splitting of the headphones? Everyone knows that mannequins are deaf in their left ears. (The vaping remains shrouded in mystery, but I’ll take two out of three.)

Looks like my subconscious isn’t the creepy one after all!

So. In the tradition of facing one’s demons, I’d like to directly address the evil Taylor Swift-impersonating old-timey mannequin ghost right now, once and for all: I know what you’re up to, and I’d like you to stop. Go haunt someone else. Maybe John Mayer? Better yet, go audition for a haunted house. Take up knitting! I don’t care. Just, whatever you do, GET OUT OF MY DREAMS. (Get into my car.)

***

P.S. THAT LAST LINE WAS JUST A BILLY OCEAN JOKE. DO NOT GET INTO MY CAR, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU WOULD ONLY HAUNT IT AND ALSO PRESUMPTUOUSLY CALL SHOTGUN WHILE FORCING THE REST OF US TO UNCOMFORTABLY SQUEEZE INTO THE BACKSEAT. GOOD DAY.

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This Is Me Checking My Privilege (BONUS: Create Your Own Privilege Venn Diagram!)

Lately there’s been this whole drama surrounding a student at Princeton who feels attacked because every time he tries to share an opinion people are like, “Check your privilege, bro.” So the other day he wrote an essay that was all, “Listen, just because I’m a white male doesn’t mean I have privilege! My grandparents went through shit,” and then Violet Baudelaire at Jezebel was like, “Dude, you’re missing the point; just acknowledge that you’re white and move on,” and then this rebuttal happened and then finally I was like, CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET THE FUCK ALONG?

Now, I’m of the firm belief that our physical characteristics have absolutely nothing to do with what actually matters — spirit — which knows no color or gender or money (or penis size, for that matter, which is unfortunate because I’m huge). We are all cut from the same cloth, and if everyone would realize this — that we’re all in it together — then the world would pretty much heal immediately and we could all live the rest of our lives in perfect utopian harmony drinking light beer and listening to soft rock every day.

But I realize that the world is filled with judgy douche canoes, and so things like privilege and arguments and arguments about privilege exist, whether anybody wants them to or not.

And so, because I’m self-obsessed and live in fear of ever being called out as an out-of-touch asshole, I’d like to formally check my privilege right now so that in the future when I say, “Why do I feel so oppressed right now?” and someone comes back at me with, “ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PRIVILEGE, BITCH!” I can be like, “Ba! Ha! I ALREADY DID,” and send them a link to this blog post.

So. I’m white. Which means I haven’t had to deal with much racial profiling (except for when people automatically assume that I enjoy Greek yogurt and/or can’t dance—only one of which is true) in my life. I’m also a man, which means that I automatically have the privilege of being able to vote (wait…?) and also I’ll probably never have to push a baby out of my vagina that I don’t have.

But I’m also gay (Yay! +10 minority-group-credibility points for me!), which in my opinion is a personal blessing but most definitely not a societal privilege. I have to deal with shit like homophobia. And the fear of getting gay-bashed. And politicians that are all “NO SOUP EQUAL RIGHTS FOR YOU!” (Note: I wouldn’t put it past them to also try to deny me soup, if it were constitutionally an option, which, I don’t know anything about politics so maybe it is and I should stock up on Progresso while it’s still legal? That or learn politics.)

Okay, one more privilege: I’m the tallest person I know. My driver’s license says 6’3” but that measurement was from Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi era and so I think I’m actually closer to 6’4” these days, which some people might call “freakish and carnival-esque,” but I like to think of as “the thing that comes before ‘dark and handsome.’”

My height often works to my benefit—mostly when I’m looking for people in crowds, attending general admission concerts, or being roped into conversations with bigots who hate little people. Other times, though, it puts me at a major disadvantage to others—like when I try to hide from police, get drunk on a limited supply of alcohol, or drive a Volkswagen.

In conclusion:

Privilege Venn

What would your privilege Venn diagram look like?

 

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