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Home: The Toast

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If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, one day you’d come home to find her painting a giant rainbow on your living room wall and you wouldn’t even be mad. “It’s beautiful,” you would say, setting down the gluten-free pizza you brought home. “No, you are,” she would reply, stroking your cheek with a wet paintbrush.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, your bangs would never need to be trimmed.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would write a fight song for your roller derby team (the Rilo Killers).

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would get you a ukulele for your birthday, because she’d know you wanted one even if you said you didn’t. “It seems like everyone plays a ukulele now,” you would tell her, sheepishly. “I won’t tell anyone!” she would insist, giving you a conspiratorial wink.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you would never have a bad weed experience again. Every time you smoked together you would just feel happy and relaxed; you would never feel like your apartment was being broken into or that someone, somewhere, was being murdered. 

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would let you try on her rainbow suit.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she’d dare you to do things you’d never dream of doing, like shoplifting a full gallon of milk from a 24-hour grocery store, or finally asking your boss for that well deserved raise. You’d do them and laugh, flush with your own success, and Jenny would beam at you proudly.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, there would be a room in your house filled with those giant concert balloons that always end up obscuring everyone’s view of the stage. She’d love them and refuse to let you pop a single one.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would finally get you to watch all of Buffy on Netflix after years of resisting. “You’re such a Willow,” she would say sometimes, rolling her eyes in mock frustration.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you’d argue over whose turn it was to introduce the dog you adopted, Ryan Adams, to new people.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you’d never have to wait in line the next time a fancy donut shop opened up in your neighborhood. The owners would have a secret off-menu item called “the Moneymaker,” and they’d always keep a half-dozen behind the shelf for the two of you.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you would love hearing about her dreams when she woke up every morning, because they would never be boring or rambling like the ones you have. “I was opening for Bruce Springsteen, and when I looked out into the crowd, everyone turned into cyborgs,” she would tell you, still bleary-eyed. “Then suddenly I was riding an alligator with that dude from the Flaming Lips. Miley was there.” You would just smile and tuck her hair behind her ear, asking her if she wanted coffee.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would name a drink after you and order it everywhere. She’d have to explain it every time, but she wouldn’t mind, and neither would anyone else.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you wouldn’t really have fights. If you pouted about having to walk Ryan Adams for the third day in a row because Jenny was still asleep, she would listen. “I hear you,” she would say soothingly. “I’ll take him tomorrow, I promise.” But the next morning you’d be up first anyway, so you’d let her sleep in and take him out just the same.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would constantly surprise you by leaving new mix CDs in the player of your car. But she’d refuse to tell you which songs were by who, so you’d have to do a lot of Shazaaming to figure it out.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would indulge you in your lifelong dream of wearing Wes Anderson characters costumes to a friend’s Halloween party. She’d roll her eyes a bit, but she’d go along with it as long as she got to go as Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom. (You’d be Margot Tenenbaum, obviously.)

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she wouldn’t even flinch if you spilled red wine on one of her vintage rabbit fur coats. “People send these to me all the time now anyway,” she would say with a shrug.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you’d feel envious of her ability to rock a caftan onstage with such unabashed confidence.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would make you feel like you could pull off a cowboy hat. She’d suggest you try one on and you’d brush this off, saying hats never work for you. But then she’d go to her closet and dig out an absurd 10-gallon hat and lightly place it on your head as if adjusting a halo. “Turn around,” she would whisper, and you would. Somehow you wouldn’t recognize the badass looking back at you in the mirror. You would feel worthy of Jenny Lewis, if only for a moment.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, she would proudly introduce you to her friends at the shoot for her latest video. “This is my girlfriend,” she would tell Kristen Stewart and Vanessa Bayer. “Isn’t she beautiful? Her hair is naturally that curly!”

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, you would have a lifetime supply of kombucha in your garage. Manufacturers would just give it to her and she would share it with you by the crateful. At first you would ask questions, like “Who are these kombucha people?” and “What do you think they want with you?” Then Jenny Lewis would give you a cat-like smile in response, and you’d forget all of your concerns and just drink the kombucha.

If Jenny Lewis were your girlfriend, and you asked, all fake-casual-like, if Bill Murray was still tagging along on her tour, she would immediately respond “No” with absolutely no edge or condescension in her voice. When you were apart, she’d always tell you how much she wished you were there, and you’d hang up and starting looking up how much it would cost to surprise her in Tupelo.

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Meryl Williams is a Chicago journalist who recently moved to Portland to write a book about roller derby. You can sign up for her awesome TinyLetter here.

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