It’ll take a strong cup of coffee and a whole lot of patience to untangle the teenage love-triangle trilogy in Taylor Swift’s new folklore album, which consists of the moody anthems “cardigan,” “august,” and “betty,” lowercase spelling required. “Betty,” in particular, has served as frenzied fodder for Swift theorists — especially as the names of the song’s lovestruck protagonists (James, Inez, and Betty) are the daughters of Swift’s good friends, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. So, might this be subtle confirmation that Swift sees herself as James, and is pining after a Betty in real life? (Ahem, Miss Kloss.) Well, according to her, no. In a new interview with Country Radio, Swift confirmed that the “betty” James is a teenage boy, which kind of undermines the whole queer-canon thing.
“James has lost the love of his life basically and doesn’t understand how to get it back. I think we all have these situations in our lives where we learn to really, really give a heartfelt apology for the first time,” Swift explained about the song’s premise. “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody really messes up sometimes and this is a song that I wrote from the perspective of a 17-year-old boy. I’ve always loved that in music you can kinda slip into different identities and you can sing from other people’s perspectives. So that’s what I did on this one.” Swift also confirmed that she “named all the characters in this story after my friends’ kids,” presumably because she thought that their names were cute? Still … that doesn’t explain Kloss’s recent Instagrams.