You know the feeling when you see your ex with someone new? Now, imagine that someone new was Lady Gaga.
Such was the case for Lindsay Crouse. At the start of this month, the Grammy winner's increasingly visible romance with Michael Polansky sparked headlines over Super Bowl 2020 weekend, culminating in the new couple making matters Instagram official. "We had so much fun in Miami," the Oscar winner wrote of their weekend getaway in a caption for a photo of the triple threat cuddled up on Polansky's lap.
Meanwhile, Crouse, a New York Times Opinion senior staff editor, was getting texts. As she recalled in a piece penned for the website titled, "My Ex-Boyfriend's New Girlfriend Is Lady Gaga," she was "eating bodega grapes at my desk" when she learned the news that Gaga's new man was her old one.
"I dated this normal, mystery man for seven years. Our relationship lasted all of college, and then a few years more. (A popular song from back then described being "caught in a bad romance,'" Crouse wrote, an obvious reference to Gaga's "Bad Romance."
Crouse went on to muse about the state of social media today and our relationship to it, how relationships are marked by digital milestones and the ways in which we can remain connected to one another even as those relationships dissipate.
"I don't follow my ex on social media. We were 'friends' on Facebook. Then we were 'in a relationship' on Facebook. After we broke up, I noticed I was 'blocked' on Facebook. And then we moved on," she said. "I hadn't googled him in forever (I promise). But this month I knew everything about his new relationship status, within hours of when it was disclosed."
As for the fact that relationship involves one of the biggest stars in the world, "Instead of thinking, 'Why not me?' when I see them together, I think 'That was me,'" Crouse wrote. "It pulls the illusion of celebrity down."
The silver lining of the situation? She found comparing herself with Mother Monster "motivational."
"I went to a nice store I'd never been inside before and I tried something on. The clerk asked me what the occasion was. I found out from Facebook that my ex-boyfriend was dating Lady Gaga, I told her, and she looked me up and down," Crouse described. "The dress was too expensive, but I bought it anyway. Why should I accept less than Lady Gaga?"
Referencing an empowering quote from the performer's social media, Crouse elaborated, "It's so easy as you get older to find the best in who you've become, to make the most of it — and maybe even to get a little complacent about it. But if Lady Gaga can do what she wants, and even expand on what she wants, why not me, too?"