Imagine getting a string of texts from your friends about your ex ― and how he’s been tagged by the paparazzi as Lady Gaga’s new “mystery man.”
It happened to a senior staff editor for the New York Times’ Opinion section, Lindsay Crouse, and she unpacked how it made her reevaluate life, celebrity and social media in an article for the Times.
In the piece, Crouse relates the wild story from the moment she discovered that the man she’d dated for seven years was now seeing the world-famous, Grammy winner, highlighting how the strange turn of events had prompted positive change in her own life.
“I was eating bodega grapes at my desk on a recent Monday morning, gearing up to wrangle my inbox, when my phone started buzzing: ‘Check Facebook.’ ‘Check Twitter.’ ‘Are you OK?’ Crouse begins in the hilarious piece.
“It was an emergency: My ex-boyfriend, I learned, had a new girlfriend.”
Earlier this month, Page Six named Lady Gaga’s new boyfriend as San Francisco tech CEO Michael Polanksy after paparazzi shot images of the “mystery man” leaving Super Bowl LIV with the singer in Miami.
The celeb made it official with a pic shared to her 39.4 million Instagram followers days later and a Valentine’s Day snap not long after that ― although Polansky was not identified by name in her posts, or in Crouse’s article.
Other sources reported on the new relationship, including Refinery29, which declared the singer had followed in the footsteps of Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Ellie Goulding in selecting a “normal boyfriend.”
“As you can guess from the fact that you’ve probably never heard of me, I’m not famous,” Crouse quipped.
She said that she and her ex had moved on, and they no longer followed one another on social media.
“I hadn’t googled him in forever (I promise). But this month I knew everything about his new relationship status, within hours of when it was disclosed.”
It’s natural for people to compare themselves to their exes’ new partners, she wrote, but “how do you compare yourself to Lady Gaga?”
Although first feeling confounded by the concept, Crouse soon shifted her perception to see this comparison in a flattering light, she said.
“Lady Gaga is amazing. Comparing yourself with her is incredibly motivational, and I recommend you try it, regardless of how you relate to who’s dating her.”
Crouse highlighted the singer’s achievements and advocacy campaigns as the “ambitious life that we keep saying women should embrace,” realizing that, in comparing herself to her, it motivated her to step outside her own comfort zone.
For example: Instead of wearing an old dress, she purchased an expensive new one for an event.
Because “why should I accept less than Lady Gaga?”
And the changes didn’t stop there. She got her makeup and lashes done, upgraded her coffee order, forwarded praise she received to her boss and accepted a daunting work presentation ― why should she allow herself to grow complacent, she wondered, when “Lady Gaga continues to challenge herself, to try new things, to thrive”?
Finally, the editor reflected on how we all behave online, dropping a little spice with her final line:
Recently someone sent me a photo of my fiancé and me dancing at a wedding, and I posted it on Instagram. I saw Lady Gaga’s boyfriend in the views, and I realized we’re actually all the same: strangers, smiling on a screen.
The piece was met with praise online for being an incredibly healthy take on fame, moving on, self-improvement and living in an age when it’s nearly impossible to unplug from social media.
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