Over the weekend, Paris Hilton officially said yes to boyfriend, actor Chris Zylka. Well, actually she said “yas.” It feels appropriate she committed to her future over New Year’s weekend, a time we all reflect on where we are in life and where we’d like to be. For Paris Hilton’s engagement feels like an official end to my youth. The hotel heiress I spent so many hours studying, if not obsessing over, is saying goodbye to her simple single life and subsequently giving official closure to the years I spent toying with buying sunglasses from her Gripping Eyewear line.
Paris Hilton embodied the early 2000s to me (and many people, I’m sure.) Her affinity for hot pink, again tinted and bejeweled sunglasses, fake tanning, and superfluous drama untethered to any cultural substance were hallmark during what I like to call The OC years. I wasn’t anything like Paris Hilton. I didn’t even necessarily aspire to be like her. But she was the apex of all I couldn’t be and in that I became fixated with her during my teen years. She did what she wanted. Of course, that was aided by her seemingly unlimited funds. I’ve been weighed down by anxiety my whole life. That and being a brunette pushed me so far away from whatever Paris was. She seemed truly tethered to nothing and I was incredibly envious of that. That’s what made her hot. Even her BFF-dom with Nicole Richie felt like a contract for their shared reality show, The Simple Life. Didn’t they have a falling out? I Googled if they were still friends recently. Nothing substantial came up. They wish one another happy birthday on Twitter still, which is fitting for Paris’s exceptionally uncomplicated approach to life. Nothing substantial.
There isn’t a modern day Paris. Even Kim Kardashian, notably her former closet organizer, is weighed down by issues Paris was able to skirt. As a society, we demand more from our celebs these days. They have to at least pretend to be charitable. Paris was an escape. She was hotter than you. She was richer than you. She even had a show where people competed to be her best friend, but the unspoken joke was no one could actually ever be that close to her. People that cool don't let others into their inner circle. Even her brief engagement in 2003 to a fashion model somehow strengthened her coolness. She broke it off. Of course she did. She floated above us all. It was written or like, whatever.
The news of her engagement, the fact that she’s decided to partner with someone who isn't even that famous, destroyed the personage of her I’ve constructed in my head. Dismantling that perception of her imperturbable nonchalance means I can finally move past my obsession that I was never that. The anxiety that consumed so much of my teen years, knowing I nor anyone would ever be her best friend, can be put to bed. She’s moved on. I’ve grown up. I’ll tweet her a casual “congrats.” And I mean it. Congrats, Paris. Your ring looks super hot.