I am not about to launch into any discourse surrounding the much-talked about La La Land, have no fear. For try as I might to articulate hard-hitting, poignant opinions about this film, my main thought throughout the first hour or so, at least, was simply “imagine getting stuck talking to this guy at a party.” (“This guy” being Ryan Gosling’s character. Sorry, Ryan.)
Because we’ve all been there, in some respect. The scene: a house party. Your friends have disappeared. Before you can register that this is the case, you have been singled out. Ryan Gosling’s Character has homed in on you. Enter stage right. It could be worse, of course. There are worse archetypes of male who might try to talk to you at such a gathering. But it could be better. Because Ryan Gosling’s Character isn’t like other guys, Ryan Gosling’s Character likes art. He likes jazz.
“Do you like jazz?” he asks you, in Barry B. Benson-esque tones. Your stomach turns. It has begun. Your eyes dart around the room and you spot your friends in the corner. You try to make eye contact, but to no avail. You have no choice but to ride out the wave.
So, of course, this begs the important question on all of our minds: what would other Music Men be like to talk to at parties? ‘Terrible’, is the conclusion I have reached, after much thought and deliberation, and I present to you my reasoning below.
Hypothetical Case Study #1: Sufjan Stevens. This is an improvement on our last example. He wouldn’t talk about jazz, but he might try to start a conversation about our fragile mortality, perhaps. Maybe he’d just start crying. Hard to tell.
“It’s just, like… We’re all gonna die, you know?” he would say.
I know, Sufjan, you would reply, looking up from refreshing your Twitter timeline. I know.
Hypothetical Case Study #2: Keaton Henson. Keaton Henson is an outlier in this study, as one would presume that Keaton Henson would be a cool guy to talk to a party. But, alas, Keaton Henson wouldn’t be at the party. Keaton Henson would be at home, writing poetry, absentmindedly stirring his black coffee with a cigarette. Maybe.
Hypothetical Case Study #3: Zayn Malik. Poor Zayn. He would have good intentions.
“I watched this film the other day,” he would tell you. “Have you heard of it? It’s called Gone Girl. It’s, like, feminist. I think.”
Yes, I liked the book, you would respond.
He would frown, perplexed, perhaps even mouthing the word ‘book’ to himself in confusion.
Hypothetical Case Study #4: That guy from Mumford & Sons. Father Mumford. That guy. Why is he here? Who invited him? No one wants to own up to it. He would try to talk to you about the sheep on his family estate. He names all of them, even the ones that end up on a plate with gravy. He seems like that kind of guy. Also, he’s wearing a Barbour. Indoors. Because he’s that kind of guy.
Hypothetical Case Study #5: That Dude From The 1975. The one whose hair needs a wash. Your friend has a crush on him.
He needs to wash his hair, you’ve told her, on several occassions. She doesn’t care. Where is your friend? She should be the one talking to him.
“So, I’ve been writing this song,” he tells you. You wonder when you asked him what he’s been writing.
Mm-hmm, you respond, not looking up from your Instagram feed.
“Yeah, it sounds like it’s about his chocolate, right, but it’s, like, a metaphor.”
Mm-hmm, you reply.
That Dude From The 1975 sips his can of Red Stripe. “Yeah. Like, for drugs.”
This is when you hypothetically decide to leave the party. You have seen and heard enough.