If John Boyega Were Your Boyfriend -The Toast

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If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you would realise it was getting serious when, with a studied casualness, he asked you what kind of music you wanted to put on in the car.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, there would be no room for fear on the dance floor. Even when you stumbled or didn’t quite know where to put your limbs, John would be right there with you, his enthusiasm and grace infectious.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, your mother would love him to the point of always pinching his cheeks when the two of you come to visit. “Oh my God!” you’d hiss, mortified. John would find it hilarious and kind of sweet, and give your mom a hug every time.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, small children would naturally gravitate toward him like moths to a flame. You’d go to powder your nose whilst on a date, and come back to find him using a spoon as a blaster before an audience of enthralled children. “Sorry,’” he’d say with a smile. “I know you wanted a romantic night out.”

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you’d fall into the peculiarly South London habit of referring to the owners of chicken and chip shops as “Boss” (even “Bossman,” if you’re angling really hard for some free onion rings).

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, your film collection would expand and the two two of you would set up a home cinema to fully appreciate your favourite movies. His commentary would always be on point.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you would have a “Sunday Best” section of your wardrobe, which you would actually wear to Sunday dinner.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you’d become a morning person. It wouldn’t be sudden, nor would it be obnoxious; you would just slowly come round to it and then you’d know the satisfaction of tackling most of your to-do list before lunch. Besides, that first sip of coffee is always better when you get to watch him watching the sunset.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, the photo that broke the news of your relationship would be from Comic-Con, the one year when he finally persuaded you it would be fun to turn up in cosplay. You’d go as Gwendolyn and The Will, employing a stuffed animal as Lying Cat and the occasional over-excited child as Sophie. You’d both look amazing — the collective muscles and bone structures do most of the heavy lifting, but the McQueen definitely helps.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you would occasionally get home to find him and Oscar Isaac jamming out in the living room, John beatboxing and Oscar strumming along on his guitar faster. Later, when the two of you are alone, John would sing a little song just for you, but only after you swear on your life not to laugh. (He’s shy about his singing voice.)

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If John Boyega were your boyfriend, every inanimate object in your life would have a name. “Don’t be so rough with Steve,” he’d mumble as you prodded your printer. “I’m sorry?” you would say. “Steve,” he’d stress, fixing the printer effortlessly, “gets stressed out when you just poke about like that.”

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, he would cook you jollof rice in bulk, carefully storing the extra away in plastic containers. “Babe, are we preparing for the apocalypse?” you ask, laughing. He’d shake his head: “When the zombie apocalypse rolls around, I’m going to remind you of this moment. We’ll see who’s laughing then!” The rice would be delicious, hovering somewhere just beneath his mum’s but well above Restaurant 805 on your list. Not that the food at 805 isn’t delicious, but nothing could possibly beat the sight of John at the stove in his dressing gown and socks, testing stew for the rice with the concentration and precision of an astrophysicist.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, he would tease you endlessly for being a vegetarian who can’t cook, but would still avoid putting meat in everything he cooked so that you could eat it, too.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, your apartment would slowly fill up with movie and comic book memorabilia. Not in a “Big Bang Theory” kind of way — John would never do that to you — but every so often, something like a signed Kevin Wada print or the perfect silver ankh necklace would materialise at your place, looking for all the world like it had been there forever. When you asked him about it, he’d grin, shrug, and say: “I used the Force.”

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, the two of you would develop a language composed entirely of facial expressions. A slow blink at the same time would translate to “We have to go home right now.” You’d never stay at parties longer than you had to.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, you would open up your phone to find snippets from him, things he thought were cool but didn’t want to put on Instagram for all the world to see. He’s actually a really good photographer — sometimes the light or angle of a photo would be just as cool as the subject. Your favourite would be the picture of a parakeet perched on his finger with the caption: this bird is beautiful and completely unafraid of anything. reminded me of you.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, he would develop a habit of playing with your hair that would be equal parts maddening and adorable. One night, while both of you were engrossed in The Fifth Element, he would start massaging your scalp. When you turned to look at him, he’d be smiling a little sheepishly with a small bottle of oil leaning against his leg. You raise an eyebrow and he’d give your scalp another squeeze, saying, “It’s the Boyega Mix. Just trust me.” Soon you’d realize your hair was better than ever before and the Boyega Mix would become a weekly ritual.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, meeting his Star Wars colleagues would feel nearly as important as meeting his parents. “So you’re the one who persuaded John to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?” Daisy Ridley would say as she gave you a firm hug. “I’m so happy you’re finally showing him decent musicals and like, culture.” She and John would bicker as friends do, but never make you feel like a third wheel. You’d be cool as a cucumber all day — even when Lupita N’yongo floated over to give you another hug — even when Carrie Fisher grasped your hand and told you “don’t let this one go” — but when you finally met Harrison Ford, you’d finally be a little nervous. Ford would squint at you, then say to John, “You finally found someone to put up with you, huh?” He’d be a little gruff and he definitely wouldn’t smile, but John’s shoulders would relax infinitesimally, and there’d be the palpable sense of a test having been passed.

If John Boyega were your boyfriend, he would insist on trying to persuade you of London’s charms. “It’s overrated,” you’d tell him. “Londoners are mean! And it’s so dirty! How can I blow my nose and have it be grey just because of the Tube?” He’d make a face, like you’d committed a cardinal sin by saying so, and top up your Oyster cards. He wouldn’t let you get swallowed up by the tourist traps, but would instead take you to his favourite bookstore, the pub where the landlord knows his name, the roasted peanut spot he likes to hit up on a cold day, the weird little perfume store down a road you’re sure didn’t exist ten minutes ago. The two of you would spend the day traipsing through all of his favourite haunts in Peckham, his eyes soft as he told you about his childhood, and you’d take his hand and think that perhaps a city capable of producing someone like John Boyega is worth a second look.

Garen Abel Unokan is an actress and writer with an uncanny knack for sensing when strangers are secretly racing her.

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