woman of the woods

How to Gird Your Loins for Folklore

Here’s how to prepare yourself for Taylor’s surprise woods album. Photo: Courtesy of @taylorswift/Instagram

Taylor Swift said “good morning to forest sprites only.” In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last *checks watch* mere hours, this morning, venerated lumberjack, revered protector of the woods, and noted hunter-gatherer Taylor Swift announced her surprise eighth studio album, Folklore, to be released at midnight, and nothing has ever caught me more off guard. According to Swift’s new Instagram aesthetic, the album is thematically folksy and wooded, with much of the album co-written by Aaron Dessner of the National, plus a Bon Iver feature — Folklore is certifiably cottage-core — and honey? I’m yelling “timber.”

Luckily, as an aspiring woods dyke with plans of going (plane emoji) full off-grid cabin-gay, I’ve been training for this moment. So grab your bow and arrow, your cable-knit sweaters, and gird your loins, Swifties: Here’s how to prepare yourself for Taylor’s surprise woods album.

Sleep Inside a Bear

I don’t want to start off too intense, but the first rule of both survival and being gay is Be Intense, so … Girls, we’re sleeping inside a bear tonight!!! Five years ago, when I saw The Revenant, I thought, “this isn’t for me.” But as it turns out, Leonardo DiCaprio Mr. Miyagi-ed me! I now know how to survive being stranded in a remote area under grueling conditions: We must hunt a bear and sleep between her ribs tonight, ladies. And when we awaken? Folklore.

Live Off the Land

Taylor Swift may not have given queer women the representation we thought we’d get with Lover, but with Folklore, Swift is providing necessary representation for women who want to enter the woods and never return. It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing since Hillary Clinton haunted the woods of Chappaqua, and now I finally feel visible enough and strong enough to live off the land. We barely live in a society anymore anyway, so, it’s speared river trout and twig tea for lunch today, ladies!

Get Heavy into Whittling

Got some leftover wood from the fireplace you built inside your properly ventilated log-and-pitched-tarp cabin? There’s no cell reception here in Folklore, so pick up a fun and butch new hobby: whittling. There’s truly so much you can do with a small block of wood: A sculpture of Joe Alwyn drinking water (or whatever it is that he does). A monster that turned out to be just trees. A woodblock print of THIS image Karlie Kloss posted to Instagram a few hours after Taylor’s announcement (I guess smirking in a forest and calling it her “happy place” is how she’s prepping for Folklore.)

Chop Your Hair Off With a Carving Knife

You will never survive Folklore or a lifetime in the woods (synonymous) with all that hair. Chop it all off, brutally and remorselessly. Great, now join me in the smoke of this campfire I built on the riverbed.

Throw Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods Album in the Garbage

I don’t need to hear Taylor Swift’s woods album to know that it’s better than Justin Timberlake’s woods album. Under no circumstance could Justin Timberlake outlive Taylor Swift in the woods. Taylor will be sleeping comfortably and warmly inside a grizzly bear tonight next to an absolutely merciless fire. Cool kindling, Justin. Enjoy your squirrel meat, Justin. Hey, I think I just saw a grouse over there — maybe you could catch that, JUSTIN.

Stream Nell

Sorry, no part of me believes you’ll be ready for the Taylor Swift woods album if you haven’t either a) been raised by wolves or b) watched the 1994 Jodie Foster film Nell, in which the lesbian legend portrays a “wild child” raised in the rafters of an abandoned house in the mountains. Either use your last drip of WiFi in your home of logs to stream Nell and get hyped for Folklore or I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe Justin Timberlake has some spare rotted squirrel thigh for your weak ass.

Folklore drops tonight at midnight. Join me in the forbidden forest for a listen: I’ll be the one with sticks in my hair, moose meat in my belly, illuminated solely by the light of the moon and these flames.

How to Gird Your Loins for Taylor Swift’s Folklore