On Monday morning, I woke up and felt like I did most Monday mornings: despondent about having to face the workweek ahead instead of, say, hanging out on a yacht with Diplo off the coast of Ibiza. But when I signed onto Twitter, I found that the universe had a gift waiting. It was 278 characters of pure, unadulterated analysis about Richard Ojeda’s, Michael Avenatti’s, and Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 presidential campaigns. I’m speaking, of course, about the Horny Beto Tweet.
“Ojeda and Avenatti as candidates are like the guy who thinks good sex is pumping away while you’re making a grocery list in your head wondering when he’ll be done,” it read. “O’Rourke is like the guy who is all sweet and nerdy but holds you down and makes you cum until your calves cramp.”
The reactions to the tweet were, uh, mixed. Many members of the so-called #Resistance voiced their agreement with the original sentiment. For others, the statement became fodder for mockery. Personally, my face froze into the exact expression from Shia Labeouf’s 2007 mugshot while the words “pumping … cum … calves cramp” ran through my head over and over like a broken chyron from the depths of hell.
The next morning, the author clarified her stance, writing that “some people chose to distort [my original tweet], use it to characterize me as ‘horny’ and mock me as though that would be a bad thing if true.” She is right on some level: it’s still technically a free country, and everyone is welcome to be as horny as they want to be within the bounds established by Twitter’s content guidelines. However, the tweet, which contains three separate hypothetical sexual encounters, is undeniably horny. And in any case, the follow-up only dragged the discussion about the viral Horny Beto Tweet into a second delightful day.
By Tuesday night, I found myself feeling a sort of Stockholm Syndrome for the tweet. Yes, I took issue with pretty much every single part of it, including: political analysis that hinges entirely on imagining the main actors in bed; sexualizing politicians in general; a 2020 projection that doesn’t include the possibility of another Bernie Sanders run; using the word “cum” as a verb; a clear disregard for ingesting enough water and potassium. But my reaction had gone from “holy shit, lady!” to being overcome with warmth and affection for the idea of using your main account to tell everyone, in vivid detail, how you think about a politician giving someone a sex-induced charley horse. To paraphrase one of the horniest presidents of all time: “Ask not how horny your country can be for you — ask how horny you can be for your country.”
It’s Friday now, and I find myself missing the Horny Beto Tweet, which — thanks to the ceaseless news cycle, and our relentless march off this mortal coil — feels like it was first sent out five years ago. Since then, the sun has set and risen and risen and set. There have been births and deaths. Beto himself posted a boring blog about going for a run on Medium. The world spins on and on. But in our quietest moments, when we’re alone with our thoughts, we can always take the time to keep the memory of the Horny Beto Tweet alive.