Hiddleswift: Hoaxers gonna hoax, hoax, hoax, hoax...hoax
Even if Hiddleswift are faking it, it wasn't until he started acting lovesick that we suspected anything
At time of writing, it is not known whether Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston's romance is for real. By real, one does not mean true love that will withstand the test of time. By real, in this case, one means genuine and not a hoax.
An appropriate reaction to this would be to think, "Why would it be hoax? Why would anyone do that?"
Why indeed, but last week, after a wave of embarrassment washed over anyone who saw pictures of the pair celebrating July 4 at Swift's Rhode Island home, rumours of an elaborate hoax began. Up to that point, the romance between the singer and the actor was taken as authentic. It was open season on Swift's serial monogamy and her apparent tendency to make every boyfriend "the One" and there was never a suggestion that it might be a mock-up love affair. The public displays of affection were a bit much, admittedly, but it was a case of "Oh that cray-cray Taylor." To an extent, young women and mothers of young women felt a bit disappointed in her puppy-dogging around after her latest flame, but still, we accepted it.
Hey, she's a girl.
So, last week, it wasn't Taylor Swift's behaviour that sparked the hoax-romance rumours. Instead, it was Tom Hiddleston's. A 26-year-old woman behaving embarrassingly in love was OK, but a 35-year-old man? Wearing an "I [Heart] TS" T-shirt and a fake tattoo declaring similar affection? Making a lovesick fool of himself, that is to say. Nah. Has to be a hoax.
Suggestions of a rumour also pointed to the very posed photos of PDAs that keep appearing of the pair, as well as assistants carrying clipboards that could be music-video crew contracts. Really, though, it was the "strangely demonstrative" quality of the relationship that sparked suspicion. Talk began that this was Taylor playing an elaborate trick, taking control of the attention that focuses on her love affairs and poking fun at it. Which might well be the case, though for both Swift and Hiddleston, it's a pretty prolonged and involved hoax, that will also have involved his mother.
In May, Taylor Swift came out of her last love affair, a 15-month relationship with Scots musician Calvin Harris.
She had a history of falling hard, for the likes of singer John Mayer, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and One Direction's Harry Styles, and for then writing songs about the sting of rejection and the horror of heartbreak. Mayer, for one, is still smarting about Swift's stinging Dear John.
In the early days with Harris, Swift said in an interview that this "is the one thing that's been mine about my personal life". She was going to keep it "ours and low key".
Towards the end of the relationship, however, there were beautifully posed photos of them on a beach holiday. There was a shot on Instagram of a cake and the line "1 year... that was easy."
Swift and Harris split three months later, apparently at her instigation. And within weeks she was with English actor Tom Hiddleston, with whom she had been filmed enthusiastically dancing at the Met Gala Ball in May. By 'with' read 'photographed with', as this relationship is like a living and breathing photostory from 1970s teen mag Jackie.
The first photo of the pair was taken as they kissed on the beach near her Rhode Island mansion. There were mutterings immediately about how staged it looked, but then, the following week they were snapped canoodling at a Selena Gomez concert. It seemed that Swift had moved on quickly after Harris.
Girl power? Not really.
To a lot of Taylor Swift fans, it was all a bit disappointing. To a lot of women who love that their daughters are Taylor Swift fans, it was all a bit disappointing. That young girls' anthem, from Swift's pen, Shake it Off speaks of not giving a damn about the haters and the fakers but here she was, defining herself by being loved by a man.
"Look at me!" proclaimed the endless photos of the lovestruck couple. "I am loved!" By the end of June, they had met each other's parents.
It was only when it all started making Hiddleston look like a ninny that people really started wondering if this was for real, though.
Last week, Taylor Swift hosted her annual Fourth of July party at her house in Rhode Island. Members of the squad attended. She had a huge inflatable waterslide erected beside the swimming pool. There were fireworks on the beach. There were so many photos that were clearly taken by professionals, including those of Hiddleston in the sea with Swift and the squad, including celeb Hadid sisters and actress Blake Lively. He was wearing the "I [heart] TS" muscle vest and laughing a lot.
One photo from Swift's party showed three couples, the women sitting on the men's knees. Swift's best friend and her husband were on one side; a nuzzling Swift and Hiddleston were on the other side and Blake Lively and her husband, actor Ryan Reynolds, were in the middle. Reynolds face was a picture of "get me out of here", and it made Hiddleston's submission to the love-in seem suspicious. What kind of carry-on was this for any self-respecting man? Surely this was a hoax. Of course, maybe it is a hoax. But it's an exhausting one for Swift and Hiddleston, who, after the Independence Day celebrations, travelled to Rome and then Australia, where he's shooting the latest Thor film. All this for a hoax? And to what end? He gets more famous, she gets to have a laugh?
If it's a hoax, Swift gets to make a 'butt out of my private life' point, but Hiddleston has had no need to make that point. Though he may after all this, he'll forever be a Swift ex, even if only a fake one.