So, two days ago, and with flagrant disregard for my mental health, John Mulaney posted this picture on Instagram:
Until this picture arrived in my life, I’d been pretty ambivalent on John Mulaney. The Delta Airlines bit was funny. The Les Mis sketch with the singing lobster was funnier. But… I mean, really, this isn’t about John Mulaney’s comedy at all. This is about John Mulaney and his wife, Annamarie Tendler, a woman who runs — I’m going to lose my mind — a handmade Victorian lampshade business, dressing up as Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet for Halloween. It’s about those little wings. The suit of armour, the way it’s simultaneously too big and too small. That ever-so-delicate hand-hold. The eyebrows. The radiant love soaking every pixel of the photograph. In the time it’s taken me to choke out this paragraph, I’ve played “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Beach Boys four times, to completion.
Do you understand? Do you?
It is fucking bullshit that I am not lying on a couch, cute dog (whose name, by the way, is goddamned Petunia) curled up at my hip, Pantene-commercial hair cascading to the floor, while my adoring husband snaps an iPhone photo that looks like a pre-Raphaelite oil painting.
Just kicked off Listen #8 of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice!” While I’m on the subject, wouldn’t it be nice to be lounging around on a rocky beach with wildflowers in your hair, gently unshaven armpits, and not a care in the world? Wouldn’t it be nice if your adoring life partner took a picture of you in this state and captioned it “sports illustrated swimsuit edition” because he was being cute? Wouldn’t that be nice? The multi-paragraph argument going on in the comments section about Annamarie Tendler’s right to possess pit hair is, however, not nice. Pipe down, haters.
You’re playing ping-pong with a beautiful boy, and he will tell you that he loves you, because he loves you. And you feel like you’ve done something wonderful, like jetted off to the Italian countryside at the height of the summer season with the love of your life, and you’re not tired at all. You’re playing ping-pong with a beautiful boy, and you’re trying to beat him, and you’re trembling, but he reaches over and swats a ping-pong ball across the table, like a prayer for which no words exist, and you feel your heart taking root in your body, like you’ve discovered something you don’t even have a name for.
The wedding photo alone is already dangerous levels of Too Pure For This World, and the “when Leo saw Claire Danes through the aquarium” caption easily tilts the dial up to eleven, but it’s really the next picture that’s the kicker.
Like. Are you kidding me? Dating and signing a statement predicting you’re going to get married eight years before you actually get married? Keeping said statement for nearly a decade? Framing said statement? No, no, I’m fixating too much on the trivial details. This is transcendent. This is… it’s… Words fail me. Are you kidding me?
By the way, I’m rapidly approaching the part of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” — my twelfth listen so far, yippee! — where the song slows down and they sing you know it seems the more we talk about it… it only makes it worse to live without it… and like… like…
Okay, okay. Let’s refocus. Let’s hop over to Annamarie’s Instagram for a minute.
Should I take up embroidery? Is that it? Is that the key to true happiness? Can I plug up the breach by painstakingly hand-sewing an apron and embroidering hundreds of little flowers and leaves onto it? Do I have to pair said apron with a cozy and flattering mustard-yellow sweater afterward? Is that it? Wouldn’t it be nice? Oh, right, and this is just her hobby, like, the thing she does when she is not designing Victorian lampshades, which, again, is really what she does for a living.
Okay! So! Apparently, in addition to delicately hand-embroidering wildflowers onto aprons, in addition to managing a Victorian lampshade business, she also bakes cakes that look like this. She just pipes hyperrealistic succulents and cacti made of buttercream frosting onto three-tier cakes. She just… does that. For fun.
I could write captions for all of these or I could just make the rest of this article a pastiche of their Instagrams and descriptive variations on crying_cat.jpg.
OH SO YOU’RE WEARING A BEAUTIFUL GOWN TO THE OSCARS AND YOU JUST TOLD SUFJAN STEVENS HOW MUCH HIS MUSIC HAS MEANT TO YOU THROUGHOUT THE YEARS AND YOU PIPE BUTTERCREAM CACTI ONTO TRIPLE-TIER CAKES AND YOU EMBROIDER FERNS ONTO APRONS AND YOU’RE EXTREMELY HAPPILY MARRIED TO YOUR LOVELY HUSBAND OF FOUR YEARS WHOM YOU WED BENEATH A FLORAL CHUPPAH IN A PICTURESQUE CEREMONY IN THE CATSKILLS? AND I’M VERY, VERY SINGLE BECAUSE THE LAST TIME I WENT ON A DATE THE GUY WAS LIKE “LET’S GO TO CHEESECAKE FACTORY” AND I SAID “SURE” AND THEN I GOT THERE AND HE SAID “ACTUALLY, I DON’T REALLY LIKE CHEESECAKE, DO YOU WANT TO JUST WANT TO WALK AROUND THE MALL INSTEAD?” AND I’M PRESENTLY LYING IN BED IN A ONE-SIZE-TOO-BIG MAE BOROWSKI T-SHIRT AND PAJAMA PANTS THAT I RECENTLY HAD TO SOAK IN A TUB OF COLD WATER AFTER I WENT TO BED ON WHITE SHEETS AND WOKE UP ON THE JAPANESE FLAG? LIKE? DO YOU THINK THIS IS SOME SORT OF GAME? BECAUSE YOU’RE WINNING! YOU’RE WINNING, ANNAMARIE! YOU! ARE! WINNING!
Okay. Listen. I love elephants. I love elephants. I am 25 years old, and I still sleep with a little stuffed elephant. When I went to TCAF this year, I commissioned Remy Boydell to draw me as an elephant. My two biggest go-tos for warding off panic attacks are r/babyelephantgifs and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Twitter account. I have longed for aeons to have enough money to foster an orphaned baby elephant at Sheldrick. I want, more than anything in this life, to hug a baby elephant, and to that end, I have dreamed up elaborate fantasies of one day going to Nairobi for my honeymoon just to hit up the David Sheldrick Elephant Sanctuary and hug baby elephants all day long. Like, I have extensively researched how to travel to Kenya. I have looked up Sheldrick’s hours of operation. I have read TripAdvisor reviews of nearby campsites and laboured to discover which ones won’t kick me out for being a homo. I want to go on a romantic trip to this elephant sanctuary that badly. So I can excuse the Baz Luhrmann Halloween costumes, the Italian vacations, the buttercream cacti, the Oscars, the wedding in the Catskills, but this? This? This anniversary gift of elephant foster parenthood with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust? This is a personal attack.