About a week ago, news broke that Bobby Flay—aka hamburgler fuccboi, aka “this sandwich won’t bite, I promise” guy, aka wait, is he going to cook this kitty cat?—may or may not be dating star of such Certified Fresh movies as Chef and Topher Grace-masterwork, In Good Company: the one, the only, the Scarlett Johansson.
Scarlett Johansson is 32-years-old, and arguably one of the most beautiful women on the planet. She’s also a fabulous actress, and one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood. Her subdued melancholy in Lost in Translation? Unbelievable. Her free-spirited neuroticism in Vicky Christina Barcelona and Match Point? Top notch. And He’s Just Not That Into You?!?! That was a movie that was made once.
Bobby Flay, on the other hand, is 52. He’s a Food Network star. And his name sounds like the generic version of a name that gets sold at Walgreens for half the price.
I did the math. IT DOESN’T ADD UP. (I ALSO DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO MATH!)
So I asked myself a very simple question I’ve asked myself for very different purposes almost every morning since November: How did we get here? And more specifically: If they are indeed dating—which, who knows—how did Scar Jo get here?
Below, I’ve compiled an incomplete list of Scarlett Johansson’s paramours, in roughly chronological order. This will help us get a clearer picture of what’s going on here.
Scarlett Johansson dated Fun. guitarist, Bleachers guy and otherwise big time music producer Jack Antonoff for two years in high school, at the Professional Children’s School (here is a picture of the valedictorian).
Scarlett Johansson was romantically linked to 31-year-old Jude Law, then 12 years her senior. She also had sex with Benicio del Toro in an elevator at the Chateau Marmont, which is exactly the type of thing people who’ve never been to the Chateau Marmont (me) would expect to happen at the Chateau Marmont. She was reportedly seeing Patrick Wilson, too. There is a pattern here: older dudes.
She has a fling with notorious lady’s man Jared Leto, thus beginning her age-appropriate dudes phase.
Johansson dates perma-teen-hearthrob Josh Hartnett for two years. It’s her first real relationship since Antonoff in ‘02.
Our girl goes straight from Hartnett to Ryan Reynolds, whom she marries. It’s a pretty lateral move taste-wise.
Scarlett gets divorced and goes to Mexico with Sean Penn.
Scarlett begins dating Nate Naylor, a New York ad exec who, according to those who know him, has an eye for risqué art and looks like Morrissey in his prime. That’s high praise for a normal person to receive. For contextualization sake, I’ve only ever been compared to Matthew Perry, but less during his prime, and more during the years he was coked out on Friends.
Scarlett dates, then marries, then divorces French journalist/editor Romain Dauriac.
Scarlett was linked to SNL Weekend Update co-host Colin Jost as late as May, which everyone sort of universally agrees to be a huge win for Colin Jost. And now, finally, it could be Flay's turn.
Ok, time to return to our original question: How did we get here?
Well, after meticulously Homeland-ing my entire bedroom with pictures and newspaper clippings and different-colored yarns—I bought the spools at the Yarn Store, it’s a place—I came up with the following explanation. I’ve used dashes to separate the points, so you can keep up.
-2002 to roughly 2005 we can basically discount due to Scarlett Johansson being a newly famous 19-year-old starlet in Hollywood. It was, as people say, a phase. Totally understandable behavior. Especially doing del Toro in an elevator. If you were a starlet between the ages of 19-24 between 2003-2006, it was basically a rite of passage to have sex with del Toro in a hotel lift.* I mean, you guys have seen 21 Grams, right?
*Backed up by zero evidence.
-2005 to 2011 is more or less the “Oh wait I can basically date any dude I want” phase. We get Hartnett. We get Reynolds. Two serious relationships with two seriously traditionally good-looking dudes.
-2011 (cont.): Classic rebound situation, going from someone who smiles all the time (Reynolds) to someone whose face is sort of stuck in a permanent snarl (Penn’s face).
-2012 to 2016 finds Scarlett with two good-looking successful guys (Naylor and Dauriac) who are nonetheless not a part of the Hollywood elite. After dating actors for so long, this is a reasonable departure. Plus, hot creative execs are the actors of normal people.
-Post-divorce, 2017 is perhaps Scarlett’s most interesting year to date. Jost is kind of a throwback to the clean-cut Reynolds-esque actors. And Flay feels like the result of a) returning to her 19-year-old older-guy-phase; and b) starring in Chef in 2014. Her toggling between the two is novel, yet also predictable: she’s been toggling between a Jost and a Flay in one way or another her entire dating life.
For some reason, I’m 76% sure she’ll date Anthony Bourdain next.