Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Taylor Swift -- "You Belong with Me" (2009)

She wears short skirts
I wear T-shirts
She's cheer captain
And I'm on the bleachers

Tout le Cape Cod was abuzz a year ago when pop songstress Taylor Swift plunked down $4.9 million to buy a house next door to the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  

At the time, Miss Swift -- then 22 years old -- was smitten with Conor Kennedy, one of Robert F. Kennedy's 34 grandchildren, who had just turned 18.

Taylor Swift PDA'ing with Conor Kennedy
Taylor has had a number of older boyfriends, including singer John Mayer (she was 19, he was 34) and actor Jake Gyllenhaal (she was 20, he was 30).  Those relationships didn't turn out so well, so the "country songbird" turned to the much younger "Kennedy boy toy" (shout-out to the New York Daily News), who was a 17-year-old high-school student when they started dating.

Several years ago, a single friend of mine introduced me to the "half-your-age-plus-seven" dating rule, which says that a man should not date a woman who is younger than half his age plus seven years.  

John Mayer clearly violated this rule -- half his age at the time he and Taylor were a couple (34) plus seven is 17 plus seven, or 24, which is significantly older than her age (19).  

Gyllenhaal also broke this unwritten rule -- half his age (30) plus seven is 22, and Taylor was 20 when they were romantically involved.  (Gyllenhaal probably broke a lot of other unwritten rules as well.)

Taylor Swift's Cape Cod house
I'm not sure is this rule applies when the woman is the elder member of a couple.  Assuming that it does, Taylor broke it when she got together with Conor Kennedy:  she was 22 and he was 17, and half of 22 plus seven is 18.  On the other hand, he was very close to turning 18.  So if we call him 17 3/4 and round up, she's fine.  Plus Taylor reportedly cleared the whole thing with Conor's grandmother, Ethel Kennedy.

I don't know anything about Conor Kennedy, but let's hope the apple falls a little further from the tree that is his father, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The elder Kennedy married his first wife in 1982, just a year before he was arrested for heroin possession at a South Dakota airport.  (His younger brother, David, began using heroin while he was still in prep school, and died in 1984 after overdosing on cocaine and prescription medications.)  

Bobby Jr. and Mary Richardson met at a New York City art gallery in 1993.  He divorced his first wife in the spring of 1994, and married Mary three weeks later.  She was six months' pregnant with Conor at the time. 

Kennedy filed for divorce from Mary Richardson in 2010.  Two years later, Mary hung herself.  

Mary Richardson Kennedy
From the New York Post:

In its aftermath, her friends still ponder when and why she made her fatal decision. “She’d been thinking about it,” an insider muses, “practicing. The day that she died . . . there was a coil of rope lying on her bed . . . and, under the covers, a bandana, showing how to tie major nautical knots—including a hangman’s noose. Tying the perfect knot would have appealed to Mary’s extreme sense of order.”
Mary was apparently devastated when Bobby's divorce affidavit was leaked to the press:
Though much has been written, and more whispered, about Richardson’s troubling behavior during her final months, the publication of Kennedy’s 2011 divorce affidavit . . . seemed particularly unsparing to many.  Portraying Bobby as the alarmed family man, fleeing to protect himself and his children from their depressed, alcoholic, physically abusive, suicidal mother, the document infuriated Richardson’s family, who publicly dismissed his “vindictive lies, proof of the unbelievable emotional and psychological abuse that Mary endured during the last years of her life, and now in death.”

Cheryl Hines and Robert Kennedy Jr.
She reportedly held out hope for a reconciliation with Kennedy, who was very publicly involved with Curb Your Enthusiasm star, Cheryl Hines:
“Mary was brainwashed,” adds another Richardson friend, “believing everything that Bobby said. And he was leading her on.  He might have been with Cheryl [Hines, his girlfriend during Richardson’s final years], but he was still giving Mary enough encouragement to stay hopeful . . . Bobby did everything he could to demean and hurt Mary.”
Some accused Cheryl of contributing to Mary's distraught state of mind by "flaunting" her relationship with Kennedy.  Here's a photo of Bobby and Cheryl "getting frisky" on the beach at the Kennedy compound a few months after Mary's suicide:

It's all very sordid stuff, like so much of the Kennedy clan's history.  Taylor Swift's dating a 17-year-old high-school student is small potatoes when compared to the sordid events that resulted in his mother's suicide -- not to mention the even more sordid tale of Conor's great-uncle, Teddy Kennedy, and the unfortunate Mary Jo Kopechne.  

One final note about Bobby Kennedy, Jr.: he is a licensed master falconer, and a former president of the New York State Falconer's Association.  In Kennedy's words:

Since I was 11 years old, I always loved raptors. I could look up on the old post office building in Washington, D.C., and there was a pair of Eastman and Adams peregrines nesting up there, which are the most spectacular predatory bird that we have in this country. . . . It was the most beautiful subspecies of the peregrine falcon, and I could watch these birds come down Pennsylvania Avenue from top of the post office at those speeds and pick pigeons out of the air 40 feet above the heads of the pedestrians, and then fly back to the cupola of the post office.  And to me, something like that was as exciting as visiting my uncle at the White House. But that's a site that my children will never see.

Kennedy and friend observe
"Take Your Falcon to Work Day"
RFK Jr. claims deep admiration for St. Francis of Assisi, because he "understood the way God communicates to us most forcefully is through the fishes and the birds and the trees, and that it is a sin to destroy those things."  Unless the birds are pigeons, of course -- Kennedy gets a real kick watching pigeons getting nailed by his beloved falcons.

Back to Taylor Swift and her 4400-plus square-foot Cape Cod house.  She and Conor Kennedy broke up a few weeks after she bought it in August 2012, and she must have decided that they were never ever getting back together: she immediately put the house on the market, and it sold a few months later for almost a million bucks more than she paid for it.

Taylor Swift's Rhode Island mansion
In May 2013, Swift rolled that cash and several million more into the purchase of a spectacular waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  That property had an asking price of $24 million, but Swift haggled the owners down to less than $18 million -- a real bargain.  

I'm guessing that Conor Kennedy broke up with Taylor because he was embarrassed by the granny-panty bikinis she wore.  Here's one example:

Here's another:

She muist have a whole closetful of the awful things:

"You Belong with Me" was released as a single in 2009.  It made it to number one on the Billboard "Country Songs" chart, and reached number two on the Billboard "Hot 100."  The song that kept Taylor from getting to number one on the pop chart was "I Gotta Feeling," by the Black Eyes Peas. 

Coincidentally -- or perhaps not so coincidentally -- the two songs were mashed up by the Super Mash Bros. on the "M.A.T.Z.O." track of their Mile(y) High Club album:

The song's narrator is a girl-next-door type.  She has a crush on a boy who is dating a high-maintenance cheerleader -- a real b*ll-buster -- and dreams of the day when he will pull his head out of his ass and realize that she is the girl he belongs with.

The music video features Swift as both the shy, nerdy protagonist (who wears huge glasses, of course) and the bitchy villainess.  (Taylor dons a brunette wig for that part.)

Good Taylor, bad Taylor
Spoiler alert:  the video has a happy ending.

When "You Belong with Me" won the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for best female video, Kanye West famously interrupted Swift's acceptance speech and told the crowd that Beyoncé deserved the award for her "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" video.

Kanye taking the microphone away from Taylor
West's rudeness got a lot of attention, all of it unfavorable -- even President Obama weighed in, calling Kanye a "jackass" in an off-the-record conversation with a reporter.

Here's "You Belong with Me":

Click here to order the song from Amazon:

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