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The Cruelest Thing Taylor Swift Could Do to Calvin Harris

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The news came from People, which means it’s almost definitely true: Taylor Swift and Calvin “DJ” Harris are done. “There was no drama. Things just don’t work out sometimes,” said People’s source, which is a kinder way of saying that Taylor’s two-year album cycle is up this fall and she needs some more inspiration for her breakup songs. But! What if, just this once, Taylor Swift didn’t seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend the usual way? What if, instead of writing a couple of Grammy-nominated kiss-off songs, she got creative? We have some ideas; we hope she’ll take them. Those liner notes are getting pretty tired.

Get Petty with Names

Juliet Litman: Taylor Swift’s best option for exacting revenge on Calvin Harris is to refer to him in the press by his given name, Adam Wiles. Calvin Harris is just a guy. In fact, his namesake is the original guy! His income — currently estimated at the outrageous height of $66 million annually — is dependent upon thousands of people buying into the myth of Calvin Harris. So Taylor should demystify him. She needs to underscore that all he does is push buttons while standing at a table in a very loud room (or worse: at a massive outdoor festival) while seeming aloof. Do you really need to wait in an unruly line at some club in Las Vegas while a guy named Adam plays prerecorded music? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Get Petty with Genres

Lindsay Zoladz: When Taylor decides it’s finally time for her to go EDM, she should pick up the phone and call… Avicii. Although the video for their hit single “STILL WINNING” will at first be criticized for “cultural appropriation of Scottish stereotypes,” it will go on to receive a record-breaking 37 VMA nominations so, naturally, Taylor will be invited to sing it at the ceremony. Midway through her performance, there will a theatrical pause during which Taylor assumes a power stance, flips her rebound haircut, and says in a barely perceptible Scottish accent, “THERE’S the drop, bitch.” (She will later clarify, via Twitter, that she meant it as a term of endearment.)

Just Get Petty

Allison P. Davis: Taylor should just Instagram a Polaroid of a selfie of herself holding a little handwritten sign that says: “I thought you were Diplo.” That’s all.

Get Even Pettier

Kate Knibbs: Date Diplo.

Go Big with MassageGate

Alison Herman: The biggest thing Calvin is losing in this breakup isn’t true love; it’s access to the ruthless, Terminator-level efficiency of the Swift Publicity Machine. But even though Taylor could most certainly drag a skeleton out of Calvin’s closet if she wanted to, her secret weapon is hiding in plain sight. Imploding a relationship via illicit massage is a tabloid story so good even facts won’t kill it; with rumors like these, who needs the truth? All it needs is a few rhymes and some Jack Antonoff wizardry and it’s a guaranteed song of the summer. It even has a built-in title, at once Lemonade-level vicious and perfectly Swiftian. Catch “Happy Ending” on the radio sometime next week.

Put Her Feelings in a Book

Sam Schube: Taylor, spurned, should announce a hiatus from music and, Franco-style, enroll in NYU’s creative writing program. The result: My Husband, the DJ, a collection of short stories (prefaced by Lena Dunham) that critics will call “measured” and “quietly devastating.” Swift should, per usual, deny that her fiction — primarily centered on a globe-trotting knob-twiddler and his long-suffering partner — draws in any way from reality. (Coda: Harris releases “Molly the Explorer,” a coloring book for adults. It flops.)

Put Her Feelings in a Song

Sam Donsky: Taylor Swift should record a pretty good breakup album about Calvin Harris that, for its modest flaws, takes her music in a fun, new direction. She should announce the album on a Yahoo livestream for some reason, at the end of which she should debut its lead single — an abrasive earworm with one really good part where she just says the title over and over. Upon the album’s release, she should host a series of intimate listening parties that give off the loose and anything-goes atmosphere of a group suicide. Subsequent singles should be much better and include a Starbucks lyrics controversy and a failed attempt to ruin Kendrick Lamar for everyone. Eleven months later, she should tweet, “I like Ryan Adams a medium amount,” prompting him to release a song-for-song acoustic cover of her entire album. She should buy that album and then mail it to Calvin Harris, with a note attached that says, “This boring fucking thing reminded me of you.”

Destroy That Swan

Rob Harvilla: A brief buffet of options:

1. Hire the most boring British dude she can think of (Asa Butterfield? Taron Egerton?) to play DJ Hero as the opening act on her next world tour. (He should fail at every song, on the easiest difficulty setting.)
2. Light their beloved inflatable swan on fire and have Annie Leibovitz shoot it for the cover of her new album, Last Night a DJ Soiled His Trousers.
3. Buy whichever Vegas nightclub is currently giving Harris a billion-dollar residency and forcibly relocate the whole operation to Irkutsk.
4. “Swillex”?

Do Nothing

Justin Charity: In my mind, Taylor Swift has become a sort of Bond villain; a corporate mastermind who hires live-in henchmen (“friends,” you say) to ghostwrite Wall Street Journal op-eds and sabotage her rival Katy Perry’s brakes and parachutes. Vengeance is hubris. Taylor Swift gotta stop turning every soured human encounter into the plot of GoldenEye. But if, as always, Taylor Swift is tempted to seek musical retribution upon her latest wasteman, Calvin Harris, she should consider that most people — including me, a music writer — have a tough time summarizing what the wealthy DJ figurehead and pantsu model Calvin Harris does. If she forgets him, we’ll forget him. BOY, BYE.