Justin Bieber is one Instagram post away from skywriting “I love you, Selena Gomez, can you tell?” And there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
That's not to say I don’t understand. Odds are that if you’re a human person, you’ve found yourself entrenched in your own romantic drama and been seconds away from #TBT-ing a photo of you and whoever-you-happen-to-like in hopes of reminding them of days gone by. Then you probably don’t, because you realize how terrifyingly intense that would seem. Unless you are Justin, who’s committed to a very, um, devoted narrative.
Two days ago, Baby Biebs tossed an oldie up on Insta, captioning “Feels” alongside a photo of him and Selena kissing once upon a time. The good news? Selena responded, with a one-word comment: “Perfect.” The bad news? It’s one of the worst-quality photos I’ve ever seen. Also, everything else.
For reasons I can’t quite understand, Justin wants us all to know he can’t get over Selena Gomez. Maybe he thinks he’s the hero of his own romantic comedy, or maybe he thinks he’s Jack Dawson rescuing Rose from a life with Cal. Either way, it’s upsetting. It’s desperate, and super, super thirsty. If one of my friends was being subjected to random Instagram posts of poor photo resolution, I would help her disappear and disguise herself in a fashion normally reserved for an episode of The Americans.
But you can’t always get what you want, and instead of watching Selena Gomez set sail for a Justin-free life, we’re watching the Justin and Selena narrative limp along in a manner that inspires us all to drop to our knees and scream, “Why?” (Which I hope is the title of either one of their next albums.)
So to Justin, I say this: Please stop. Stop this now. You know that phrase about setting someone free, and if they don’t come back they were never yours? Well, forget that second part, and focus instead on your mutual independence. Focus on your music -- or your outfits. Focus on your tour, or your blond hair, or your next Calvin Klein campaign. Let Selena Gomez live. Let her bask in being the most-followed person on Instagram, and in the success of “Hands to Myself” (which is basically the greatest song on the radio right now). Let her grow up and realize who Selena Gomez really is, far away from you. And let yourself be a single Biebs who takes up a hobby, or maybe starts to read more books.
What I’m saying is that you’ve got to get over her, man. You’ve got to move on. No love story ends with someone posting a blurry photo to Instagram, and no one wants to attend a wedding for a couple whose drama smothered you via social media. It’s time to put on a new oversize t-shirt and begin a new chapter of your life in which your Instagram feed is only photos of cats and/or food and/or tickets to movies you’re going to see by yourself. It’s time to learn to eat dinner alone (it’s liberating, I promise), or to stay in on a Friday night and watch true-crime shows. It’s time to learn who Justin Bieber is. Because I’m sorry: You can’t be the guy who keeps chasing an ex by drumming up old, weird memories in front of millions of people. You’re better than that. She’s better than that. We’re all better than that. (But especially me.)