When Taylor Swift released her critically acclaimed new album Midnights, it got me thinking about her much-talked-about relationship with her boyfriend of six years, Joe Alwyn. So what exactly is the timeline of their romance, and did it overlap her short-lived fling with Tom Hiddleston? And how can we forget that Hiddleston himself overlapped with Calvin Harris? After some embarrassing sleuthing with the help of very-devoted Swifties, I might have cracked the code.
CLUE #1: “HIGH INFIDELITY”
In Taylor Swift’s new song off her Midnights album, “High Infidelity,” she says the following telling lyrics:
“Do you really want to know where I was on April 29th?”
“Do I really have him him to chart the constellations in his eyes?”
“Do I really have to tell you how he brought me back to life?”
So where exactly was Taylor Swift on April 29, 2016? There are some fan theories rolling around, but there’s one in particular that I find most compelling. While in a relationship with Calvin Harris, Taylor Swift attended Gigi Hadid’s 21st birthday party on April 28, 2016, which likely lasted past the 12:00 hour (leading us into April 29, 2016). Many suspect this party was also attended by her current boyfriend, Joe Alywn. Why you ask? Because Gigi and Joe allegedly became friends after appearing together in a VOGUE photoshoot, and Joe was in Los Angeles at the time.
It was originally believed that Taylor and Joe met three days later at the Met Gala on May 3, 2016, given Taylor’s lyrics in her song “Dress,” stating, “Flashback to when you met me, your buzzed cut and my hair bleached.” But a smoking gun this is not. If you look at the photo below from Gigi’s birthday party, Taylor’s hair is bleached. If they did in fact meet at Gigi’s birthday — and not the Met Gala — the lyrics would therefore still make sense.
Another theory is that Taylor and Joe had mutual friends, which I learned thanks to the tweet below.
If it’s true they met through the Lily connection, then it’s possible they actually had their first meeting in LA near the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Vine Street (“Whisky on ice, Sunset and Vine” are lyrics from her song “Gorgeous”), potentially at the Bowery Gastropub, which would explain Joe using the pseudonym “William Bowery” for his co-writing credit on Taylor’s album. This meeting might have also taken place on April 29, 2016.
CLUE #2 “GORGEOUS”
It’s widely known by now that “Gorgeous” is written about Joe, but the larger question is — when did Swift pen the tune? Swift released a behind-the-scenes video of her songwriting process, where it was revealed that the final lyrics of, “And I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us / He’s in the club doing, I don’t know what,” were originally “And I got a boyfriend, he’s older than us / I haven’t seen him in a couple of months.” The boyfriend in question is Calvin Harris, which means she wrote “Gorgeous” on or before the end of May when Taylor and her older-than-us DJ boyfriend called it quits. And finally, Swift was still polishing the tune on September 18, 2016, because she was spotted out in Nashville wearing the same outfit she can later be seen wearing in the self-recorded video of her writing “Gorgeous.”
If Taylor was this taken by Joe’s “gorgeous” face (from May until September), then how does actor Tom Hiddleston play into this, given that she met and began dating the Thor star just after the May Met Gala and they ended things mid-September? Was there an overlap?
CLUE #3 “CRUEL SUMMER”
Many speculate that Taylor and Joe were falling in love as friends while she was in her “Getaway Car” with Tom Hiddleston. In a verse of “Paper Rings,” Taylor says, “I hate accidents, except when we went from friends to this,” and “The wine is cold like the shoulder I gave you in the street, cat and mouse for a month, or two, or three.” Those three months in question took place over the summer, which brings us to her song, “Cruel Summer,” where she sings “I’m drunk in the back of the car / And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar (oh) / Said, “I’m fine, ” but it wasn’t true / I don’t wanna keep secrets just to keep you / And I snuck in through the garden gate / Every night that summer just to seal my fate (oh).”
Thanks to a very devoted fan with an intense Twitter timeline, the “Cruel Summer” overlap is a little more clear. On June 13th, 2016, Taylor rented a townhouse on Cornelia Street in NYC. Shortly thereafter, she begins dating Tom Hiddleston, which presumably ends around mid-August. On August 31st, Taylor is seen in NYC, where it’s believed she meets Joe at a “dive bar on the East side” (see the first verse of “Delicate”). She then invites him back to her place on Cornelia Street (see the first verse of “Cornelia Street). It is therefore believed that Taylor and Joe had their dive-bar date about two weeks after she and Tom ended things.
Though Taylor Swift might have cheated on Calvin Harris with Tom Hiddleston because “She wanted to leave him / She needed a reason” (see “Getaway Car”), it appears her romance with Alwyn was simply emotional “High Infidelity” until she officially ended things with Tom. Hence, after seeing Joe’s “Gorgeous” face for the first time, she had a “Cruel Summer” of lusting from afar before sealing the deal on “Cornelia Street” with her now “Lover” (Alwyn).