It is, to put it mildly, not a great time to be a sentient being in America. Roe v. Wade has been overturned, LGBTQ+ rights (and trans rights in particular) are imperiled, and the Supreme Court has just handily increased all of our night terrors about climate change. I’m not advocating for sticking our heads in the sand—we need to stay focused if we want to have any hope of setting things right—but when I simply can’t take one more affront to my civil liberties, I go to the safest mental place I can imagine: Taylor Swift’s annual Fourth of July party.
To be clear, I don’t know Taylor Swift; Taylor Swift has never heard of me; I’ve never so much as seen her in concert, let alone scored an invite to the much-vaunted yearly Independence Day party that she’s pretty much stopped throwing anyway. Still, when I’m unbearably stressed out about the state of the world, I like to close my eyes and imagine I’m on the pop star’s Rhode Island estate, watching Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss take selfies together while sparklers light up the night sky and a very handsome and highly paid mixologist makes me a martini exactly the way I like it. (In this fantasy, Swift, angel that she is, specified everyone’s drink needs ahead of time.)
Why am I so obsessed with this party? Let me count the reasons: In 2016, not only did Swift’s party break the internet via her then-rumored boyfriend Tom Hiddleston’s “I Heart T.S.” tank top (remember when he explained he only wore it to avoid sunburn?), but the guest list included Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Uzo Aduba, Ruby Rose, Halston Sage, Cara Delevingne, St. Vincent, Martha Hunt, and Este Haim. Six years later, I would still like to hear what that assortment of people finds to talk about over boozy Popsicles and fresh fruit!
In real life, the idea of matching my swimsuit to those of my besties fills me with cringe (as does the word “bestie” in general), but when I saw Swift, Hadid, and Delevingne all wearing the same striped suits, my brain inexplicably fixated on the image and kept refreshing it over the years as a vision of true contentment. This, I imagined, is what it must have felt like to be one of the actually nice popular girls in high school.
As fun as it must be to be famous, there’s a lot about celebrity status that doesn’t necessarily appeal, from dealing with crazy fans to having your love life publicly speculated about on the internet and right-wing trolls coming after you when you (gasp!) endorse a Democrat. Maybe that’s why I’m still so obsessed with Swift’s party; it feels like the ultimate encapsulation of celebrities actually, well, having fun. (Or, at least, looking like they’re having fun on Instagram, and in our social-media-addled era, what’s the difference?)
I’m not really in the mood to celebrate a country that recently allowed nine Supreme Court justices to strip me of my reproductive rights, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment, but this Fourth of July, I’m looking nostalgically back at the golden age of Taylor parties. All I want is to set my brain on pause, play some beach volleyball, drink some tequila, eat a Rocket Pop or two, enjoy a private performance by St. Vincent, and maybe—just maybe—have St. Vincent propose to me from the stage. Is that so much to ask? I didn’t think so.