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Voir Dire John

Do you have what it takes to join Taylor Swift’s #JurySquad?

HBO/Getty Images/Ringer illustration
HBO/Getty Images/Ringer illustration

On Monday, Taylor Swift reported for jury duty in Nashville. And while that could mean something — she had an honest excuse to skip the VMAs? — or nothing, there is one thing it definitely, definitely, definitely means: #JurySquad. And even if Taylor won’t be on a jury this time around, she’s a citizen. This will happen again.

And when it does, it will be time to ask: Are you in or are you out? Here’s how you’ll be able to tell:

I made the jury! How can I maximize my chances of making Taylor Swift’s #JurySquad?

First of all, congratulations. You’re serving on a jury with Taylor Swift.

Second, and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but, a slight reality check: #Squads have historically been known to be incredibly fickle. And there are no guarantees at all of making the “jury -> #squad” transition. (Rumor has it that the Scooter Libby jury didn’t even have a #squad.) That said: It can be done. But first you have to make the #squad. As far as formal approaches go, there are a few schools of thought. There is the Dunham Method, which essentially is to #squad early and #squad often. It’s a fine method. There is the Lorde Method, which is to become identified as a potential threat and then annexed. It’s also a very good method. And of course, finally, there’s the Moretz Method, which is to play hard to get. It’s not my favorite method, but I know people who swear by it.

Consensus on the issue right now is that it’s best practice to BYOSquad. Recent successes include Haim and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team: Each of these groups formed their own, respective #squads in advance — and then approached Taylor from a position of #squad (one might contrast this with the position of, say, #nosquad). Freed from the burden of being a founding member, Swift felt comfortable allowing these #squads into her orbit as what we’ll call satellite #squads.

My advice is to: (1) Form your own clique on the jury, independent of Swift. (Note that it barely matters who is in this base clique; it’s purely a transition step. ) (2) Flaunt said clique in front of her as much as possible. (Nothing fancy: Take pictures of you making a joint-heart with your hands. Pour some water on the conference table and slide down it together. We’re talking elementary stuff.) And then, (3) approach her with your #squad — but not explicitly (never explicitly) to join. Approach her as if to say, “Hey, listen, this is a #squad-friendly jury … and I just wanted you to know.” Again — don’t force it. I can’t stress that enough. You just want to be giving off … a vibe, something in the neighborhood of, “Hey, friend. This is a place. And there just so happens to be a #squad in it.” No more, no less.

The rest is up to the gods.

How will I know if our jury has become a #squad?

Traditionally there is a ceremonial acknowledgment. This can range from going on a last-minute Hawaiian vacation, to writing a song together, to sitting near each other at an awards show, to being brought out during a concert, to getting dapped on social media, to receiving an invitation to a party on the Fourth of July.

Given the logistical constraints of #JurySquad, I would look for a conversation along the lines of Taylor turning to you and saying, “Cats are good,” and you replying, “Agreed.”

I made #JurySquad! Can I tweet about it?

Tweeting about #JurySquad is a hard no.

Thank you — I had no idea. What are some other #JurySquad don’ts?

Don’t stand front and center during group photos. Don’t record phone calls. Don’t steal backup dancers (you shouldn’t do this anyway, it’s rude).

That’s interesting. Are there any #JurySquad dos?

Of course. Be able to draw a map of Rhode Island from memory. If Taylor asks about the VMAs, send her articles about how they were disappointing. When the trial gets to a part that Taylor is really into, and she does rap hands, just go with it.

I need to know: Is there any hope of making the jump from #JurySquad to #Squad?

The process of matriculation from #JurySquad to #Squad is, of course, extremely complicated. I won’t sugarcoat it: After the trial is over … you’re probably out. Maybe you’ll get a sympathy Twitter follow. Maybe you’ll get matching mugs with an inside joke on it. (But it won’t even be that “inside,” and “Doesn’t Orlando Bloom have a dumb penis?” isn’t even that funny of a joke, and anyway, you’ve seen the pictures, his penis looks fine.) Maybe — and even this is pretty best-case scenario — you’ll get invited to join #NashvilleSquad, and Taylor’s manager will say something to you, like, “Kelsea Ballerini will be in touch.” (50–50.) Maybe all of those things will happen. But you’re still probably not going to make it into actual #Squad.

And that’s fine. In fact — call me a #squad purist — it might even be better that way. Because, look: #squad isn’t always about getting what you want. Did you get to go onstage at MetLife Stadium to do a Charlie’s Angels pose during “Bad Blood”? No. Did you get to fuck a Kennedy (I mean, someone really small-time — like, a random third cousin, who was just hanging around the beach while you guys were partying there, and whatever — it’s a Kennedy)? No. Did you get to go to Hawaii? Forget Hawaii! Honestly, Hawaii kind of sucks. What is there even to do there — catch raindrops on your tongue and make the fourth-best Kanye album? Pass. The point is: Thinking about #squad in terms of #squad mobility does a disservice to its very concept. And that’s because #squad, at its true core, is about none of that stuff. #Squad isn’t a thing. It’s just an idea. And you’re a part of that idea now. And you should feel good about that.

So — did you make it to the main #Squad? Let’s be honest: You didn’t. And you won’t. And you probably never had a chance. But who cares? You made it to #JurySquad. You’re a legend now. You did your civic duty, and you made friends for life, but not really life, at all, but still. You should be really proud of yourself. You’re amazing. You did it. You’re #SquadGoals. Never date John Mayer or we will fucking end you.