The XX Factor

Celebrity Years Are Like Dog Years

The tabloids have been excitedly covering the hot new coupling of the moment: Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift. The latest tidbit is that Jake spent more than $100K to fly Taylor to London on a private jet so they could hang out while he promoted his new movie, Love and Other Drugs . Though Taylor is now 20, she still has the whiff of teen queen about her; she’s wrote lyrics about cheer captains and bleachers in the very recent past. By contrast, Jake’s pushing 30, and his most recent famous girlfriend was 34-year-old mom Reese Witherspoon. Some random bloggers are calling Taylor ” jail bait ” and wondering if Jake’s “robbing the cradle.”

It doesn’t seem weird to me at all that Taylor and Jake are dating, and that’s because celebrity years are like dog years, which is to say that each year on the national stage is worth, say, three years worth of normal person growth. There are lots of stories about teenagers who can’t handle this accelerated maturity schedule, like Disney star Demi Lovato, who recently checked into rehab . But since she became famous at 16, Taylor’s been able to handle the rapid development. She’s now a multimillion dollar brand, who, according to a New York Times squib from two years ago , “is more in touch with her inner life than most adults.” Most 20-year-olds are still figuring out what they’re supposed to major in; Swift is the 12 th most powerful celebrity in the damn country. She can handle a little Gyllenhaal-in fact, with those soft, puppy dog eyes he has, I’d imagine she’d be the one pushing him around.

Photograph of Taylor Swift by Getty Images.