Listen. I care for a range of things: the stiff hair that grows out of my chin, your feelings and the fate of the human species being three of them. But somewhere in the Filofax of all that holds my attention, nestled between climate change and those sticky hands from the 90s, is every particularity of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s on-and-off relationship. It’s neither reasonable nor defensible, but as a wise pop songstress once auto-tuned, “the heart wants what it wants,” and mine wants Jelena gossip.
I’m sorry! Seriously. I’m not even “sorry not sorry,” about it, I’m actually sorry.
I just can’t believe it! I can’t believe they’re back together. Or whatever they are. Didn’t Selena and The Weeknd just break up? Weren’t they best friends but also in love? What happened to that unshakeable multi-faceted bond founded upon 10 months of probably saying things like, “I’ve never felt like this before but also like to hang out with you like a pal!”
Whatever, it doesn’t matter, in literally every sense of the word. What’s important (barely) is that I was 488 characters deep into a story about how to conquer relationship troubles yesterday afternoon when I was sent a link to BRAND NEW photos of Biebs and Sel riding bicycles within petting distance of each other, indicating they were dusting off some old relationship troubles of their own. Coincidence? Absolutely. Still kinda weird though.
They look really cute, I must say. I love a gray look. But I’m shocked the photo exists at all. For one, I didn’t realize an on-and-off relationship could go on and off so many times. There must be rules to this kind of thing. For two, I thought Biebs had soared off the figurative rails. Have you seen his IG stories as of late? Me neither, but they’re genuinely unsettling. He basically just stares into the camera (a la Gigi but less chic) and makes spooky noises. Selena, on the other hand, charitable queen that she is, has been on a spiritual JOURNEY this past year. Did you see her Vogue profile? Did you hear “Bad Liar”? Watch “Fetish”?
What is it about him? Is it this new vibe? It is kinda fun. Is it his new tattoo which evidently took TWENTY-SIX HOURS? These two either have an incredible knack for not learning their lessons, are in a love story for the books or are pulling off the longest PR con of all time.
I can’t deny I’ve been following along since 2011, when they were falling in love for the first time and I was a young girl of 22, copyright Taylor Swift, learning how to fill the offbeats of a boring full-time job. I was rooting for them at first, but as the years passed and things got messier and he further cemented himself as a douchebag, I was pro-split. I mean, that teary opener to “The Heart Wants What it Wants” in 2014? How could I not have been?
That said, his full-song subtweets of 2015, “Where Are U Now?” and “What Do You Mean” were kind of good. And when he told Billboard, “When you love someone that much, even if something comes between you, it’s a love that never really dies,” I was almost impressed by their commitment to vaguely referencing each other in interviews for literal years. (Here’s a full timeline of the back-and-forth. I refuse to make it myself.)
Anyway, I can’t spin this into a remotely necessary essay. I’m just feeling a little nostalgic for a time when Jelena took up real estate in my mind more than the fate of humankind. And I kind of want to know if you think we should trust Selena right now.
Feature collage by Louisiana Mei Gelpi.