'I Guess' is Kathy Iandoli's battle cry of #shruglife. It's everything that impresses us and unimpresses us—which could be one in the same given the day.
It was just two months shy of a year ago when everyone was gushing over the pictures of Drake meeting Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown for the first time.
Ever since Stranger Things landed on the wonderful world of Netflix, Brown has become something of a tiny teen legend, considering her character Eleven is unequivocally a young badass. Everyone from children to grown ass men have been Eleven in some form for Halloween—from her shaved head, bloody nose, and pink dress to her military jacket and loose curls with her hand stretched out ready to disassemble a train with one glare. Eleven is an icon, so Millie is now one by proxy. The hilarity of the photos where Aubz meets Millz was that he looked even more starstruck than she was. That's because Millie Bobby Brown is poppin'. At 14, she's poppin'. Drake can relate, because he too was poppin' at 14—the age he first starred on Degrassi.
During the swarm of Emmy interviews this week, Brown told Access Hollywood that she and Drake text each other and that they're great friends. She called him a role model. When the hosts asked what she texts about with Drake, she simply said boys. Drake gives her advice about boys. He also told her he missed her and the two plan to reunite during his Atlanta tour stop. There is also a video interview of Millie explaining how the two have had dinner a few times. Drake is 31 years old; Millie Bobby Brown is 14 years old.
When I was in high school, I had my first cool job at a record store. Everyone was way older than I was until my one friend Lauren started working there years later. The guys were grown adults (some with families), and I had to have my mom drive me to work. I would stand at the front counter and any time a cute boy walked in, I would saunter over to the respective section like Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) in that episode of The Office when she's trying to seduce Charles Miner (played by Idris Elba) so she keeps saying, "Yes, Charles? You wanted me?" hoping that at some point he'd want her want her. My boss Dennis—who was probably, like, 20 years older than I—would always tell me to judge the boys by the CDs they bought. "That's how you know if they're worth shit," he would say. My other older coworker, Mike, used to call them all "Chowderheads" and told me not to talk to any of them. They gave me advice about boys all the time, and it was never gross or creepy. When I went on family vacations, I would tell them I missed them all. I was still underage when I said that. Again, nothing gross or creepy. Those were my big brothers, my good friends. In many ways, my role models. Is it really so hard to wrap our heads around the idea that Drake and Millie just have an innocent friendship?
Drake doesn't know Millie Bobby Brown outside of "the biz." They didn't star on a show together; he's not her cousin. Yet they text things like "I miss you" and discuss boys, which is enough to make media headlines turn into billboards, highlighting their glaring age discrepancy. And I get it. R. Kelly was 27 years old when he married a 15-year-old Aaliyah. He's also a fucking pedophile with a very obvious fetish for significantly younger girls and has been caught not only on camera, but also allegedly leading a sex cult and has had a number of charges against him for everything from sexual misconduct to assault. The only suspect thing Drake has done is be rumored to be dating 18-year-old model—and daughter of Jimmy Jam—Bella Harris (despite meeting her at 16), and she's of legal age.
It's hard living in a world where our rose-colored lenses have been smashed and all we're left with is the harsh reality that Santa doesn't exist and Cliff Huxtable is a rapist. Finding innocence and purity in any situation now feels so foreign, but really, do we need to go there so soon with Millie and Drake's little friendship? Has Drake proven himself to be a creep, really? I mean, a super fan of multiple things/people, yes. Overzealous, yes. Way too happy to be there, yes. A creep? Ehhhhh.
But once again we're wired for the grossness. Add to that stars like Kylie Jenner, who since the age of 15 have looked like they're 30, and there's the legion of people (predominantly men) who argue that since she looks and acts older, she's allowed to be treated as such. That remains a divided argument until it hits the court of law, but we aren't talking about some rumored couple involving a grown ass man and a teenager endowed with super-hormones. For all intents and purposes, Millie Bobby Brown still wants to be a kid. She's slightly more mature than the average teen (or maybe it's just the British accent because everyone seems more mature to me when they have a British accent), but she doesn't really seem to be scouting for older men just like Drake hasn't given us a reason to believe he's on the prowl for little girls. Can they just be friends? He knows what the pressures of the industry are like at 14. He knows the creeps, he knows the stress, he understands the process, and considering Millie also sings, he gets the pivot.
Hold onto your seats, but maybe it's really just that: a friendship. And given the overexertion of public discussions about this friendship by Brown, it may be a publicity friendship now gone extremely wrong. When Justin Bieber was 14, his best buddy was a 30-year-old Usher. No one questioned that. Once again, life and experience can lead us all to believe the creepier side of a narrative than the innocent one.
Now listen, I will throw this entire piece out the window if by next week we learn Drake is sending her roses and she's the "Kiki" from "In My Feelings," but I'm not holding my breath for that creepy reveal.
I don't know what I would have done without the older guys who counseled me at my record store job when I was a teen. Maybe I would've given that loser who bought the Offspring CD a chance, and I'd be sitting here writing about how manufactured diluted quasi-grunge rock ruined my life. Instead, I was saved from that pit of despair, and to this day I know who to date—now based upon their Spotify playlists. Until Drake gives us a reason to question his intentions, let's give the guy a break. Go home, gossip blogs. You're drunk.
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