HYANNIS — This will end with a break-up song. That’s the going bet. After that, there are just questions upon questions cascading out of the central riddle: What is Taylor Swift up to with the Kennedys?
The basic story involves a 22-year-old pop star engaged in a summer romance with an 18-year-old boy whose last name is Kennedy.
Swift moved swiftly into her role as a Kennedy woman. Her style shifted toward Jackie O: polka dot bathing suits at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port; a scarf with Ray Ban Wayfarers on the sailboat for the paparazzi.
The romance has been going on since early July, and so has the buzz, but as another weekend began in Hyannis, it followed a week of weird news in the story of Swift and Conor Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. It was reported that the couple “crashed” a Kennedy family wedding in Boston and refused to leave when asked by the mother of the bride. There were also still-unconfirmed reports that Swift might have bought a house next door to the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port.
“It seems like she got very comfortable very quickly,” Joannie Lynch said as she waited for a friend on the street in Hyannis. She’s 18, Conor’s age, and said that 22 is too old.
So what is Swift up to?
“Isn’t it apparent?” Lynch asked.
On the street in Hyannis, there were two schools of thought on what Taylor Swift was up to. One was that she had fallen in love with the black-and-white photograph of the Kennedy dynasty. The other was that she was simply young and in love.
Swift’s songwriting success depends heavily on her willingness to fall hard, and despite her youthful age, she has a good number of breakup songs in the can, including those said to be about a Jonas brother, one of the guys from the “Twilight” films, and the prolific singer-songwriter John Mayer. Now, it’s Conor Kennedy, soon to be a junior at Deerfield Academy.
“He’ll be her muse,” Erica Nanni said. She was in Hyannis with her friend, Elitta Picard. They’re 22, Swift’s age, and well past wanting anything to do with 18-year-old boys.
“It’s going to be a good song,” Picard said.
“The video will be set here,” Nanni said. “She wants to play the part.”
In the story of the Kennedys, the role of a starlet has a history. First, it is said, there was actress Marilyn Monroe. JFK Jr. dated actress Daryl Hannah for a while. But the arrival of Swift, in such a fashion and at such a time – the most recent bit of big Kennedy news was tragic, when Conor’s mother took her life in May — adds a bit of a shine to the dynasty when it could use a little.
As far as 22-year-old country singers go, Taylor Swift is a gigantic star. The retro polka dot bikini she wore playing ball on the lawn of the compound quickly sold out. There’s a reason the mother of the bride didn’t want her stealing the spotlight.
In Hyannis, the latest twists in the Swift story certainly had people talking about the Kennedys. That’s not rare on these streets, but this was an interesting string of gossip, questions about a young starlet trying on the princess crown in Camelot.
If Swift did indeed buy the oceanfront mansion – no one seems able to confirm the rumor yet – there was general agreement in Hyannis that it may be moving a bit too fast.
“I don’t think she’s as mature as people think she is,” Philip Picariello of Wakefield said as he held his infant son in his arms. “Because at the end of the day, I don’t know why she would want to get involved with that family.”
It’s an easy thing to say, given the complicated drama of the Kennedy family, but there’s still something else. That other thing they call the Kennedy mystique, and many said it was hard to fault a young woman who enjoys feeling Kennedy-glamorous on a summer’s day on Cape Cod.
Billy Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.