Every day of my life, I can’t believe that Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton are still dating. I kind of understand how it happened: two closely-seated judges on The Voice get closer following splits from Gavin Rossdale and Miranda Lambert, respectively. But with the passage of time it gets more baffling, and worst of all, the former ska-pop rainbow unicorn seems totally beige-afied by her beau. Is Blake draining Gwen of all her cool? It certainly seems that way, but let’s look at the evidence.
Blake Shelton is a 6’5” sack of oatmeal.
Literally, I could not think of anyone on the planet more aggressively bland than the so-called Sexiest Man Alive. Maybe you can. Maybe you’re drawn to denim shirts with the top button carelessly undone, the inability to choose between perpetual five o’clock shadow or a true beard, and the pungent aroma of a Texas Roadhouse. Personally, it ain’t my bag.
Of course, there’s that other stuff about him being low-key racist and homophobic, with a convenient collection of cringe-worthy tweets easily accessible. “Question for my gay followers… Are skittles y’all’s favorite candy?” Blake memorably shot out to his Internet friends. And like, as a sample Tweet it really skirts a line with being inappropriate, right? Yet it feels like the biggest crime is that the tweet fully commits to just being a really bad joke.
I can only imagine that in his free time, Blake is just pounding out Budweisers and making these awkward wisecracks at barbecues across the country. You don’t want to engage, but you really want to get some potato salad and he’s in the way.
Blake and Gwen together are at best, bewildering and at worst, stomach churning.
Just look at this mismatched pairing those two perplexed women in the background can’t even process. Their faces scream my constant incensed thought of, “But what do these two even talk about?” Well, the two have a loophole for that whole, “connecting with someone on a soul level” thing; instead of normal communicating on a soul level, they trade ska-country songs.
“We’re like we’re in a musical constantly and we just sing,” Gwen explained. “We actually don’t talk to each other, we just sing like a musical and everything we sing is like ‘I love you,’ like it’s pretty much the whole time like how great we are.”
Suffice to say their front-and-center PDA seems forced and more than a little unnecessary. And on Gwen’s end, we’re questioning her priorities. “Missing being a girlfriend on tour w this country boy,” she captioned a Snapchat of her and her beau back in February.
Look, Gwen, missing a hefty bag of grains seems a little dramatic. But we’re also not into the whole “being a girlfriend on tour.” You’re Gwen Stefani. Can’t you upgrade from being just another girlfriend?
Blake literally drains the color out of Gwen.
Again, the receipts are literally right there. Wake up, America. To her credit though, Gwen’s wardrobe is still boatloads more eccentric than your garden variety 48-year-old mom of three. Style is in Gwen’s DNA, hence the whole L.A.M.B. fashion line thing. Still, being around Blake means accessorizing with a lot more baseball caps at Cardinals’ games (ugh) and investing in nude lipstick after years with her Revlon red. Oh, and professionally she’s a Lesser Gwen too.
I saw No Doubt clad in a whole lot of plaid in 2004 and Gwen was a spitfire, boundless energy that she could parlay to an audience of thousands. And then when you see her on (aggravated sigh) her boyfriend’s stage for a duet, she’s just…standing there crooning gooey sentiments. No action, no anarchy-loving jump-kicks.
Now pair that move with the recent release of the groanworthy “You Make Me Feel Like Christmas” (yes, Blake is all over that). Or the fact that instead of being a woman or a rock star on tour (not a girlfriend), she’s going where all former pop superstars get put out to pasture: a Las Vegas residency. All of that I can maybe attribute to the cruel passage and time. But Gwen, Cardinals’ games?
In spite of this, we can’t combat two important facts.
Truth is, Gwen is an undeniable Relationship Girl, and that hasn’t always worked out for her.
Or maybe it’s one for two, because Gwen’s young and intense relationship with No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal led to some of the most bomb tracks on Tragic Kingdom. But her relationship with Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, well, that just gave her a lot of grief.
Though they outwardly looked like a perfect rock and roll couple, Gavin made headlines in 2004 when model Daisy Lowe took a DNA test and was revealed to be her biological daughter. Though her existence pre-dated Gwen and Gavin’s relationship, that kind of massive life change can put a strain on a marriage.
And then there were all the infidelity rumors that allegedly ended their marriage, but this may have started back when they were dating. In 2010, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love claimed she bedded Gavin Rossdale for a time in the ’90s. When Howard Stern pressed that Courtney was sleeping with him, she said, “Everyone … yeah … and a few other people. We didn’t have a lot of pressure on each other, but we did like each other quite a bit.”
So yeah, we can understand that Gwen and Blake (who had his own alleged infidelity issues with ex-wife Miranda) would double-rebound. And that’s not all.
To be honest, this is maybe what Gwen wanted the entire time.
Look, she literally has a smash hit song, “Simple Kind of Life,” that details her desire to settle down, to be married to a simple man. She didn’t get that with Gavin. She didn’t get that with Tony. And though wedding bells aren’t ringing yet, she’s surely getting an easier life now dating her boring sometimes co-worker on a reality TV competition show.
So why does that bother me so much?
Sometimes, with Gwen, it feels like watching your most vibrant, rebellious teenage friend —the one who came to school picture day with a mohawk in sophomore year and never looked back — become a steady stream of gooey Instagram posts. Like these grainy declarations of love to some burly hick she met on a freak trip to Walmart after graduating art school.
Other times, I feel like Gwen is my worst fears realized, that if I get too invested in a relationship, I’ll cease to be the person I’ve grown to love. That with relationships comes creative sacrifices, disgusting social media posts, nude lipstick, which I already know is not a flattering shade for me.
So sure, it’s possible I’m projecting and this isn’t a relationship thing or a woman thing. Being with Blake dulls her down, and that’s undeniable. Yet for what’s it worth, Gwen seems happy or at least not unhappy. And I can understand prioritizing being happy over being cool, especially after years of social and romantic turbulence. Maybe you just want to settle down with your two-year long publicity love. I don’t have to like it, but to be fair, Gwen was always upfront that she wanted a simple man. And she deserves to get what she wants.
…but it really doesn’t have to be this simple, does it?