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When Jenny Met Cap — Er, Chris

Ringer illustration
Ringer illustration

Every day, online, it feels like there is another anniversary. The 20-year anniversary of [’90s movie you watched once and that was enough and maybe even too much]. The 10-year anniversary of [album you stopped listening to nine and three-quarters years ago]. The five-year anniversary of [FIVE YEARS IS NOT AN ANNIVERSARY — please just relax, and take a deep breath, and go outside].

It can be a little overwhelming. Which is why we’re making it a priority to celebrate only the anniversaries of the very most essential occasions — those forever-indispensable and truly unforgettable moments in time.

Congratulations to Chris Evans and Jenny Slate on the 13-day anniversary of their public debut as a couple.

To celebrate, here are the winners and losers:

Winner: Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a place. Jenny Slate and Chris Evans are both from it.

Winner: ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

The Secret Life of Pets is an animated children’s movie. It’s about Louis C.K. subsidizing a second season of Horace and Pete and also the secret life of pets. Recently there was a premiere for it. Jenny Slate and Chris Evans went with each other, because they are dating.

Winner: Podcasts

Podcasts are currently having what awful people refer to as “a moment.” But if there is a blind spot in the emerging pod marketplace, it is definitely “sexual tension.” Cinema, literature, television, theater, radio, IRL, URL, sports — every Great American Pop Form has been built, at least in part, on sexual tension. And yet it has thus far eluded the podding world.

Or had. When Jenny Slate and Chris Evans went on Anna Faris’s Unqualified podcast in April, there was only one reasonable conclusion to draw: Sparks had flown. “I could hang out with Chris for, like, 90 hours,” Slate said. That’s so much time and sounds awful. “I’ve only known Jenny for a few months,” said Chris. “Which is insane … because we’re like the same animal.” That’s actually gross. It soon became clear the pair was talking in a way that betrayed a highly specific, deeper meaning: They wanted to kiss.

Weeks later, they were dating — and now we’re here. But no matter what happens, Chrate’s — Jevans’s? — legacy is secure: They’re the couple that made podcasts sexy again (for the first time).

Winner: Seventh Grade

Slate: “It’s kind of like I got my dream seventh-grade boyfriend.” To quote another Boston legend: Anything is possible.

This is a huge win for seventh grade, which hasn’t always had the easiest time. Incredible perseverance, and a lot of heart — that’s all it takes. You put in the work and it pays off.

Winner: Indie As a Concept

I’m really proud of indie. A lot of people thought that it was dead — but it’s very much alive. It just happens to be alive in a dope apartment, e-signature-ing divorce papers while fucking Evil Douche Bag No. 2 from Scott Pilgrim on a pile of money. Kudos to indie for recognizing its own ideological bankruptcy and leveling up.

Winner: Chris Evans

Is dating Jenny Slate.

Winner: Jenny Slate

Is dating Chris Evans.

Winner: Marc Webb

Marc Webb almost permanently ruined Spider-Man, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Jamie Foxx, Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (may have already been ruined), the city of New York, the Smiths, romantic comedies, and SALLY FUCKING FIELD. He turned Dane DeHaan into a second-tier Dane DeHaan Tumblr. He was complicit in ending [deep breath, aggressive SMH, real tears] the Tobey Maguire Era. And yet: Marc Webb will get to play the Limania part in Evans and Slate’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Are there more honorable wins than failing upward? Sure. But all we’re here to measure is direction.

Winner: Baseball Hats With No Logos

Somehow, in Marvel’s ridiculously elaborately costumed universe, baseball hats with no logos have become a — the? — dominant fashion trope. Which, hang on: Why??????? Why don’t their hats have logos? Do they think it makes them more “incognito”? (Yes.) (Why?) Here’s a free tip: The only people who wear baseball hats with no logos are … MARVEL SUPERHEROES. The first thing — literally the first thing — I would think if I saw someone walking down the street in a baseball hat with no logo would be, “That’s Captain America.” It makes no sense and it’s terrible.

Anyway, Evans attended the Secret Life of Pets premiere in a baseball hat with no logo — ostensibly to remain “incognito” during “Slate’s event.” It didn’t work, mostly because of course it didn’t work, it’s just a baseball hat with no logo on it, why would it work. But there was also, in this new context, suddenly something very moving about it. And that’s when it hit me: Dating Jenny Slate hasn’t just made Chris Evans a winner — it’s made him live his gimmick. Why else would Chris Evans dress like “off-duty Captain America” for an “off-duty” premiere? I’m thrilled to say that there is only one answer: Part of Chris Evans thinks he’s Captain America now. It was inevitable and it’s beautiful and it’s right.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting moments in “actors living their gimmick” history. It’s like that moment when you realized Gwyneth Paltrow was actually, actually, actually going to go through with it and put out a country record. It’s like Stone Cold Steve Austin brewing his own beer. It’s the tall version of Al Pacino talking like he’s the guy from Scent of a Woman for 25 years. It’s the short version of Shaquille O’Neal becoming a basketball player, just like in Blue Chips. It’s like Martin Sheen getting into politics. It’s like Robert Downey Jr. becoming a sarcastic hundred-millionaire.

But most of all: It’s true romance. Because as the saying goes: You’re not really serious about someone until you can be yourself around them. And you’re not really someone’s date to their animated movie premiere until you can be the most comfortingly delusional approximation possible of that self.

And that’s why Evans dressing like Captain America when he’s with Slate is a sure sign that this relationship is built to last — and why baseball hats with no logos are the biggest winners of their union. They’re a reminder that fashion never requires a reason, but always has one. And that the only label we ever need … is love.

Which, now that Jenny Slate and Chris Evans are dating, we can begin to believe in again.