I Think About This a Lot is a series dedicated to private memes: images, videos, and other random trivia we are doomed to play forever on loop in our minds.
On January 5, 2011, Chloë Sevigny and Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio Jr. found themselves sitting next to each other courtside at a Knicks game. They’d never met before, and came from opposite sides of the Hudson River. She, a stylish actress and original New York City “It” girl. He, a Jersey Shore cast member and DJ on the nightclub circuit. They were so seemingly mismatched, Avril Lavigne could have written a song about them.
That night, Sevigny wore a bomber jacket with the team’s logo and trendy Miu Miu clog heels; a beer and a quilted Chanel bag rested at her feet. DelVecchio, meanwhile, had on a leather jacket, bootcut jeans, and sneakers. Even Sevigny’s blunt blonde bob was the exact inverse of DelVecchio’s hair, which stood about an inch tall in a solid, fully erect mass. And yet, despite their differences, these star-crossed sports fans acted as though they belonged together. They laughed. They cheered. They expressed passion for the game. At one point, Sevigny leaned over to whisper something in DelVecchio’s ear. Their chemistry was so strong, you might have even thought they were dating.
Somehow, the cultural weight of this encounter didn’t fully sink in for me seven years ago. I was a college freshman at the time, and a blind fool. But thankfully, the Twitter gods brought it back to my attention on November 27, 2017, via a now-deleted viral tweet from someone going by @korolevcross. “Extremely thinking about this,” they wrote, attaching two paparazzi photos of Sevigny and DelVecchio sitting courtside. I downloaded the images without a moment’s hesitation, making them my background of my phone. Now, I extremely think about them too.
I think about Chloë Sevigny and Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio Jr. staring into each other’s eyes mostly because I see myself smack in the middle of their gaze. I’m half–Italian, Roman Catholic, half-WASP by birth, and as a result, my style is some combination of gold chain necklaces and designer clogs. I gel my curly hair in the morning, but with a $22 gel that smells like a Diptyque candle. And the “G” in my weekend GTL routine (gym, tan, laundry) might stand for “gluten free” when no one’s looking. These impulses feel at odds, and kind of embarrassing. I’m always trying to marry an outward-facing “fashion” version of myself with my taste for what my colleagues might call “tacky.” But the space between Chloë Sevigny and Pauly D feels safe.
I also think about the reaction these photos provoked online a lot, which I only internalized later. A few weeks after the initial, brain-exploding shock of this “odd couple” “hanging out” set in, Interview magazine went and asked Sevigny point-blank if she and DelVecchio were dating.
“No, but I wish,” Sevigny replied. “Because that would be hilarious. That would be the weirdest couple in the world. It would be like the apocalypse.”
I’m sure Sevigny meant well, but comparing your compatibility with anyone to “the apocalypse” is not a very nice thing to say. In fact, I kind of resent her for it. Why can’t we live in a world where Chloë Sevigny and Pauly D make perfect sense?
“I think it’s because we’re both kind of extreme,” Sevigny tried to explain. “We represent extremes, in opposite directions. So for us two to come together, it would be a very strange meeting of the minds or colliding of two worlds.”
Oh come on, Chloë! Just say it. You think you’re cooler than Pauly D, with your Miu Miu clogs and bob haircut. But really, you’re not so different. I looked at your Wikipedia page. I know that you grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut, taking a train into the city on weekends like every other “bridge and tunnel” person. That you dated Harmony Korine, who directed Spring Breakers and The Beach Bum — two movies that wish they could fist pump as hard as The Jersey Shore. And! I know that you say you “only” watched three episodes of The Jersey Shore ever in your whole entire extremely cool life. But honestly, that is a lot, Chloë Sevigny. That is a lot.
Rather than harbor any resentment, I like to imagine that it was all an elaborate cover-up. In my mind, Chloë Sevigny and Pauly D are still together. Chloë never had a thing for Harmony, and Pauly D never dated Aubrey O’Day (who probably dated Donald Trump Jr.). Instead, they wake up next to each other in their own little smush room every morning. When Chloë comes down for breakfast, Pauly D greets her with an exuberant “’Ey buddy!” And then Chloë pats him on the head. Yes, it’s possible they’ve been madly in love this whole time. The world just isn’t ready for it.