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When I’m at parties I like to play a game I call “Who Would Beyonce Date If Jay Z Didn’t Exist?”™ It’s important to note the question is specifically “didn’t exist,” not “died.” Obviously, if Jay-Z died, Beyoncé would have him cryogenically frozen and entombed in a Han Solo style relief mold made of solid gold while she enlisted illuminati shaman to resurrect his lost soul. Meanwhile, the rest of us would have no idea that Hova had even passed, so seamlessly would the entire event between his death and ultimate resurrection be veiled behind a constant flow of color soaked, Blue Ivy starring photography on Bey’s Tumblr. That’s misdirection for you.
The game goes like this:
When I’m at a party, stuck with a group of people whose conversation is stalling or who are just deathly boring, I simply ask, suddenly and loudly, “Who do you think Beyoncé would date if Jay Z didn’t exist?” This is always followed by a moment of silence, where what passes over my audience’s rapt faces is a collective look that combines awe (“Who is this brave creature who deigns to go there“), desperate curiosity (“Who would Beyonce date though?”) and the ultimate realization of one’s own mental limitations (“OMG I can’t actually think of anyone!”). After this beat, conversation re-boots and often continues well into the night. I truly know my work as a Party God has been done when debate starts to get heated.
What’s most important to note about this game is that no one ever has a good answer. It’s like arguing over the merits and methods of time travel. You cannot win because it doesn’t make sense in the first place. Beyoncé is too good for everyone, and probably the only reason we are OK with Jay Z being her chosen person is because we are simply used to it, or possibly because he was around in her Destiny’s Child days (which some people — not me — would argue was pre-perfection), and definitely because he dated Aaliyah first.
It stands to reason then, that the French press has decided to start a schoolyard rumor that Beyoncé and President Obama are having a sordid affair. The only thing that could make this ridiculous gossip even better is if someone added the flourish that Bey is using Marilyn Monroe’s alleged secret tunnels to creep around the White House.
Pop culture and the presidency have always been closely intertwined, and now our President is receiving the greatest acknowledgement the mindless masses of sensationalistic, headline grubbing media could possibly bestow: imaginary sex with Beyoncé. More so than being in charge of The Greatest Country There Ever Was, Obama can now add “Potentially Good Enough For Beyonce” to his resume. At least we know he won’t be out of work at the end of his term. It makes sense for Beyoncé, who doesn’t even need number ones (“Drunk In Love” is still sitting at number #2 behind Katy Perry, who by no means is superior in talent or influence to Bey) to be considered the most powerful woman in music, to be linked (if only by rumor) to the POTUS. But even then it kind of feels like he’d be punching ever so slightly above his weight.
There’s something mythical about Beyoncé, and obviously she is just a flesh and blood human like the rest of us, except that she’s curated not only her image but her musical output so perfectly that it’s not at all obvious. Beyoncé has transcended the simplicity of personhood and entered comfortably into the realm of demi-Goddery. For many people, Jay Z embodies the same immortality, more of an idea than a person, but lately he’s been so subsumed in the Beyoncé persona that his back catalog almost belongs to another person.
The best way I can explain the discrepancy is, if there was no Beyoncé, Jay Z could date almost anyone, largely because we bestow so much greatness on him by virtue of his union with Beyoncé, whereas Beyoncé is just flat out great on her own. I mean, he could date Ashanti if he wanted. Ergo, he’s good, but he’s not really good enough to make a fun party game out of.
Back to that game: as its creator I always feel like I should be able to bring it to resolution. I generally settle for her one-time costar Idris Elba, but I have an inkling that’s just because of Obsessed, which, if you haven’t seen, please clear this evening’s schedule to rent and watch. You will not be disappointed, especially if you like B-grade movies with insane plot lines and Beyoncé beating on skinny white chicks.
My second choice is always Tyson Chandler, but again, there’s a disclaimer, which specifically is that I would like to date Tyson Chandler myself so I am merely projecting. Finally, I like to throw out the curveball: David Bowie (with apologies to Iman). Beyoncé is from Texas, but Bowie is from space. I think that in itself makes him a companion worthy of our Yoncé.