If you somehow haven’t seen the video of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s post-concert kiss yet, I need you to rectify that and join in on the fun. After her Buenos Aires, Argentina, performance on Nov. 11, Swift waved at fans as she left the stage and immediately ran into the arms of a grinning Kelce, and they embraced passionately.
In a year marked by several high-profile celebrity breakups — including the singer’s own — this grainy video is the most titillating celeb couple moment we’ve had in a while. But why has Traylor (Tayvis?) captivated everyone so swiftly? (Sorry.)
It’s very simple. If you made a Venn diagram of “high school” and “romance novels,” Swift and Kelce’s blossoming romance would be right in the middle. The drama, the intrigue, the hormones — it’s compelling as hell.
We Love To See Her In The Spotlight
Swift has been navigating love in the public eye since she was a teenager, and has consequently been written off and reborn so many times that she can cheekily reference it in her own lyrics: “I rose up from the dead/I do it all the time.”
She was a teenage songwriter reduced to her hopeless romanticism, and each new album sparked a slew of theories speculating which ex-lover every song was about. The endless jokes, near-constant dismissal that “she just writes songs about her ex-boyfriends,” plus the ongoing rumors about her sexuality and every flavor of slut-shaming led our fiery Saggitarius to retreat from the public eye for almost the entirety of her six-year-long relationship with actor Joe Alwyn.
Which really is a shame, because Taylor Swift loves attention, and thrives in it. And I admire that about her — after all, “a diamond’s gotta shine!”
Now, she’s sparkling. She’s out on the town, holding hands in front of paparazzi, and smooching one of the most high-profile football players in the NFL. She is standing on stage at her record-breaking Eras Tour in front of 70,000 superfans and the world, pointing to Kelce during love songs, changing lyrics to reference his team, and of course, running into his arms to make out with him.
Dare I say it’s aspirational?
She’s Living The High School Dream
It’s not just the whole public aspect of this relationship that’s so compelling, it’s also the high school dynamic of it all.
Swift romanticizes the traditional high school experience throughout her discography, and especially the idea of a nerd/cool kid dichotomy. “You Belong With Me” is the most popular iteration of this theme: she wears short skirts/I wear T-shirts/she’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers. Her song “Fifteen” references a relationship with a football player going awry.
She comes back to high school constantly, even in later albums: “Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince” is the opening song on the Eras Tour setlist and even uses the proverbial “go, fight, win!” cheerleading cry in its bridge. Swift’s own lore includes references to struggling to make friends (“no one wanted to play with me as a little kid”) and feeling more at home with the music nerds — she even had a marching band outfit phase. So now, her quest for concert and box office domination and her shiny new high-profile relationship have cemented her perception as queen bee — something her fans have known all along, anyway.
Now, we’re witnessing one of the most powerful and entertaining versions of a classic romance trope come to life. Everything about this pairing screams romance novel plotline.
We’re Thirsty For A Good Love Story
And we are clamoring for these happily-ever-afters now more than ever: Romance novels saw a 52% increase in sales last year even as overall book sales declined, and BookTok is filled with creators who specialize in recommending your favorite romance tropes. Alexa Martin’s Playbook series, Lyssa Kay Adams’ Bromance Book Club, and Hannah Grace’s Icebreaker are all viral favorites in the sports romance genre.
Romance novels are pure escapism. And that’s what it feels like to watch Swift and Kelce’s relationship unfold in real time: it’s an archetype we love — not to mention the epitome of cuffing season energy. What challenges will they face? What second-act fight will threaten to ruin them forever? Which shady actors are hiding out of sight, ready to pounce on an opportunistic moment to tear these lovers apart?
We don’t know how this particular romance will unfold, but this is certainly one that I am staying up late to read in one sitting, eyes bleary, with a goofy grin on my face. It’s a love story; baby, just say yes.