“Call me by your name, and I will call you by mine,” 31-year-old Armie Hammer whispered to 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet two years ago in Call Me by Your Name. They were in bed and kissing — it was thrilling, erotic, romantic! What’s in a name, asked Claire Danes 21 years earlier in Romeo + Juliet: A name, Call Me by Your Name suggested, is stuffed with a lot! Call me by the word you are called, and I will call you by the word I am called, and we will poop in the same toilet, and we will be one. That scene worked because Chalamet was named Elio Perlman. “Elio Elio Elio,” he could murmur in his lover’s ear. But it is now 2019, and Chalamet has been cursed with a new name, a name not worth murmuring in any ear: That name, I’m sorry to report, is Gatsby Welles.
I was going about my business on Monday afternoon — thinking about Natalie Portman in Lucy in the Sky, about where Gary Oldman keeps Daniel Day-Lewis’s fourth Oscar, about whether LinkedIn is really as popping as people say — when it came to my attention that some people have seen Woodrow Allen’s latest unholy offering of bespectacled bourgeois ennui, A Rainy Day in New York. Chalamet and Elle Fanning star as a young couple spending the weekend in New York when their relationship is tested by Allen’s typical foibles: a trio of older men who’ve fallen for Fanning. Sure, fine, whatever, I thought. Par for the course. But then I realized that Allen, in his not-divine not-wisdom, had the audacity to look at Timothée Chalamet and say something like, “Yeah. Your name is Gatsby, yeah. Gatsby, uh, Welles.” That $68 million lawsuit should be thrown out on the basis of this name alone, and he should be forced to pay me restitution!
When the meteor hits, as it certainly will in the near future, 2019 will go down in history as the year a rupture tore through our universe. The loop connecting Euphoria stan Leonardo DiCaprio to Chalamet — a comparison that literally every living, breathing blogger and stan and person-on-Tumblr has made — has closed. It has closed, importantly, for a reason other than the fact that they are both human males, actors, and dating women in their 20s. DiCaprio and Chalamet now have at least one tangible thing in common: They have both played romantic misanthropes named Gatsby; Leo in Baz Luhrmann’s two-and-a-half-hour CGI epic, Timmy in, well, this Woody Allen movie without U.S. distribution.
Gatsby Welles is the name of someone who had his lunch money taken by Chuck Bass and Dan Humphrey, and not even because he was hitting on Blair but because he was just really arrogant about his dad donating a library to Princeton. Gatsby Welles is the name of someone who never texts you back, because he thinks having a cell phone is just another 21st-century trapping. Gatsby Welles is the name of a person who fully tells a story about how his favorite book growing up was Moby-Dick, and you’re like, Hmm, I don’t think that’s true, but he really earnestly sells it, so you just don’t say anything. “Poor slob!,” Audrey Hepburn whined in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, holding her nameless orange cat. “Poor slob without a name!” I wish Timothée Chalamet was a poor slob without a name; instead, he really is named Gastby Welles, by far the stupidest thing I have ever heard this side of the Wall Street Journal editorial pages!
Here is what I know about Gatsby Welles, according to people who have seen A Rainy Day in New York: “Gatsby, apparently borne back ceaselessly into a past where 23-year-olds wear tweed and use a pop-culture lexicon composed entirely of Cole Porter aphorisms, is a brilliant, wealthy, but directionless Manhattanite attending leafy, fictional Yardley College,” reports Variety. “He effortlessly wins thousands of dollars every time he sits in on a poker game, and is dating journalism major and fan of preppy sweater-skirt combinations Ashleigh (Elle Fanning).” I want to take out my eyeballs and drop them into a blender. I hate everything about this!
I consulted a group text, as I always do when it comes to matters of boys, movies, and boys in movies, especially if the boy in the movie happens to be named Timothée Chalamet. “Ladies,” I began, “can we discuss the name Gatsby Welles??” Jenny was first to respond: “He doesn’t even go to yale it seems so what’s the point?” Then came Jianna, who is moving cross-country and I am very excited for her, not that that has any bearing on her response: “gatsby welles got blackout on jim beam at my debutante ball and made out with my best friend.” I was next, adding that Gatsby Welles did not wish me happy birthday but did text me on my birthday to say he thought the Sally Rooney novel Conversations With Friends was “beneath us.” (He did, for the record, tap through every photo on my Instagram and fully knew it was my birthday.) “gatsby welles asked me if i’ve ever heard of david foster wallace,” Emma added. Jenny, perhaps the funniest in all of this, offered an entirely hilarious and entirely correct observation: “Gatsby Welles brought a typewriter into once upon a time in Hollywood.” No lies detected! If Gatsby Welles walked up to me in a bar, it would absolutely be in Williamsburg, and he would be a month shy of his 21st birthday. When the bartender asked him for his ID, he would say that age is a bourgeois concept, but he’s not the son from 20th Century Women and Greta Gerwig did not feed him that line, so it would not be charming.
Here is what I know for sure: Timothée Chalamet doesn’t deserve the name Gatsby Welles, and neither do I. What a thoroughly lazy signifier of romantic douchebag status, a part of some made-up fantasyland where hot guys still wear tweed and use rotary phones. I hate it!