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Home: The Toast

Previously in this series: If Prince Harry Were Your Boyfriend

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, doors would open for you a little quicker, you’d always have enough room on public transport, and black cats would jump out of your way. Dogs would howl when they saw you, but you never really liked dogs that much anyway.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you’d ask her, giggly and a little embarrassed, what it was like to work with Robert Downey, Jr. She would stare at you, half-smiling, like it was a joke she didn’t get. “Who?” she’d say. You’d clarify. She’d shake her head. “I don’t think I know a Robert,” she’d say, confused.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she’d bring you expensive heels that made you look amazing. “These must have cost so much!” you’d say, but she would wave her hand dismissively. They would be a smooth, creamy white, and a texture you found familiar but couldn’t put a name to. “I love them,” you’d say, “what are they made out of?” and Gwyneth Paltrow would shake her head and tell you how beautiful you looked.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you would eat so well. She would bring you chia seeds soaked in water and under her firm, unwavering gaze you would eat them and like them. You would have smoothies made from kale and basil and cucumber and raw almonds and charcoal; somehow they would be a deep, warm crimson, but they would always taste delicious.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she wouldn’t mind when you slipped up and ate some gluten. “It’s okay, honey!” she’d say. “Even I want a doughnut, sometimes.” She would kiss your cheek and leave you to it. Later, you would walk in on her calmly sweeping up shattered glass in the kitchen. “You’ve cut your hand!” you’d say, worried, and she’d smile brightly and tell you she was just about to make you the best salad you’d ever had.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she’d wrap her arms around you and press her face against your neck, kissing your skin, when you were staring downcast at the mirror and having a bad skin day. “I think you look beautiful,” she’d say, and you’d smile mournfully and tell her that that was all very well but it was hard, sometimes, dating someone as beautiful as her. Gwyneth would look mildly surprised, and gesture at her face. “What, this? I can get you one of these, if you really want.”

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she would never mind when you – or your mum, or your dad – spelled her name wrong, she’d just laugh and gently correct you. You’d love her name, the way it sounded when you said it in bed, or when you came home and called for her, or when she left you voicemails that started, “Hi, sweetheart, it’s Gwyneth.” You would only very rarely get caught staring at it and watching the letters twitch and twist like a snake.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she would talk to Chris Martin on the phone about their kids every day, but you wouldn’t mind. You wouldn’t mind about anything.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she wouldn’t expect you to hang out with Chris Martin when she had to see him. “It’s okay that I don’t want to meet him, right?” you’d say. “I’m sure Chris is a perfectly nice guy.” She would stare at you with that polite, vaguely concerned smile. “Who’s that, again?”

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she would bring you fresh jars of honey from the beehives out the back of your shared house every morning for your chia seed puddings. She would smooth the honey on your face, teaching you to use it as a cleanser. She would use it for any physical ailment. She would get you to eat a spoonful of it every day in winter to ward off colds. Your skin would be clearer, your scars would disappear, you wouldn’t have even a hint of a sniffle. You would never go out and visit the hives yourself, and there would be no beekeeping equipment in the house, and you would never once see a single bee.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she would laugh at all your gleeful misandrist jokes. “Men are ridiculous,” you’d say, and she would say, “Who, again?”

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you would go out for brunch with her and Beyonce and Cameron Diaz, and Beyonce and Cameron would nod approvingly at you. “You’re good for her,” Cameron would say. “You tame her,” Beyonce would say, and you’d laugh and rest your hand on Gwyneth’s shoulder, and Gwyneth would smile, and outside a hundred ravens would take off in a cloud of black.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she’d take you on the red carpet with her. You’d always look good on her arm; so good that your mum would call and tell you she couldn’t spot you.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you’d get to share her wardrobe – multiple wardrobes, actually, three different walk-in closets in one house. There would be another closet that was always locked and that you’d never seen into; a closet that you occasionally heard scratching noises from, or the soft scuffling of thousands of tiny legs, but you wouldn’t think about it that much. 

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you would go to yoga together. You would actually do yoga! You would be good at it! You would feel your body getting stronger and more flexible, and you would several times a day drop your torso down to touch your toes, just because you can. Obviously you wouldn’t be as good at yoga as Gwyneth Paltrow, but that’s impossible and wouldn’t make you feel bad: Gwyneth is just so good! She would fold herself smaller and smaller and smaller into a tiny blonde pentagram on the carpet. Then you’d both laugh, happily and healthily.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, you’d love how nerdy she was, and sit with her outside on sunny days while she peered at insects. You would read your book while she sat cross-legged and lightly stroked a beetle’s exoskeleton and murmured, “Hello, friend.”

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, her kids would love you in a way that you found flattering and fun, because you got to play an irresponsible cool aunt role. You would have a box of dress-up clothes for them, and you’d make cookies, and you’d end up being the best person to soothe their nightmares. When they woke up in the night, you would perch on the side of their bed and cuddle them, stroking their hair. Gwyneth would stand leaning against the doorway and smile at you. “You’re so good with them,” she’d say, her shadow long, maybe too long.

If Gwyneth Paltrow were your girlfriend, she’d be blandly but fiercely supportive of whatever it was you’d want to do. “I love how much faith you have in me,” you would tell her, laughing, “I bet you think I can rule the world.” She’d smooth back your hair and say, “You can do that. If that’s what you want. I can make that work.” You would know, suddenly, uncomfortably, that she was telling the truth. Then you would forget.

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