BFFs: Eric Reads the Week, #24

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

Yesterday, our friends Jarrod and Stefan invited us to have a picnic in the park. This is exactly the kind of thing I'm also whining to my therapist about never being able to do. "Why am I not a romcom heroine?! Why don't I splash in public fountains? Why don't any of my friends invite me to picnic in a park? Why don't the baristas at my local coffee shop every want to banter with me?!"

Invariably my therapist replies, "Well, why don't you invite your friends to a picnic instead of waiting for them? And maybe go to a different coffee shop?" To which I answer, "Oh God, I can't do that. I'm a Charlotte!"

(I'm not a Charlotte. I'm more likely a Miranda. A Lin-Manuel Miranda. Wait... can this be a thing? "What Sex and the City character are you if all the Sex and the City characters are also somehow Lin-Manuel Miranda?"

"Oh, you're such a Lin-Manuel Samantha!")

Anyway, all of my television personalities were excited to get this invitation to a picnic in the park. Years ago, when I was living in Baltimore and working at the Hard Rock Cafe and generally unsure of what I was doing with my life, I wandered into the Harry & David store in Harborplace, catty-corner from the National Aquarium, on a break and walked out with an $80, insulated picnic basket. No, not a basket. An embroidered cooler.

I have no idea why I did this. I didn't have a car and therefore was very unlikely to take a day-trip to the beach or even a public park (public parks in Baltimore City are a little more scarce). In fact, I don't think I'd ever even been on a picnic in my adult life at that point. But when I saw it in Harry & David, I got a glimpse of a different kind of life that I could have. At that point, I spent my days hawking burgers and doing the YMCA on the bar at the restaurant, and my nights at happy hour with my coworkers or sitting in my parents' basement apartment watching everything sad and/or gay I could find on Netflix. So, I guess, to me, throwing down $80 on a highly impractical, unwieldy accessory was a way of betting on myself, on a future that I couldn't quite see, a future in which I have a long-suffering therapist who listens to my whining, and I've taken a lot of Sex and the City quizzes to really know myself, and I'm maybe not selling burgers anymore (although it remains my favorite job besides writing for Elle) and I have friends who invite me to picnic in the park.

The kicker to all of this? I didn't even use the basket yesterday. I think it's in our living room closet and is currently being used to store bored games or books. Anyway, it seemed like too much work to get it out. I made fruit salad and salad salad and key lime pie (okay, I bought the pie) and when David got home, I asked him to just put it in any bag he could find. We had a friends to meet.

Such a Lin-Manuel Magda thing to do.

Speaking of friends, this week's columns were chock full of BFF-ships, from Meryl and Diane, to Barack and Justin, to DJ Khaled and his toddler son. But first, perhaps the greatest BFFs: James and the Giant Drama...

I Couldn't Help But Wonder: Is James Comey a Capitol Hill Carrie Bradshaw?

We also learned that James Comey keeps the world's most thorough Bullet Journal. He's a Capitol Hill Carrie Bradshaw. And his diary is full of the most exquisite, shady details written in the cadence of a genial Middle School Science teacher. He released a written statement yesterday in anticipation of his testimony that detailed his excruciating dinner and reads like 50 Shades of Grey for people with social anxiety. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Your Ex, Barack Obama, Had an Intimate Dinner with Your Prom Date, Justin Trudeau

Le Bae and Le Best Ever had dinner in a Montreal diner to discuss further ways that they could troll me. I love how they don't even acknowledge the camera or the fact that there is plenty of room next to them for you and me and 65 million Americans, actually. I am fairly certain that there is someone at the Obama Foundation whose sole job is to think of different scenarios to put the former president into that will remind us all that he's still here and still looking like a filet mignon in rolled up sleeves. I think I saw an ad for the position it on Idealist, actually: the Director of Thirst. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

DJ Khaled's Toddler, Asahd, Is The Hardest Working Person in Showbiz

Let's all raise a glass of Pedialyte to Asahd Khaled, DJ Khaled's son and the hardest working person in the music business right now. Yes, Beyoncé performed gravity-defying acts at the Grammys while twenty-eleven months pregnant with twins, yes, Chance the Rapper is a one-man industry, but no one is hustling harder than the toddler who was an executive producer on an album before his first birthday. What are you doing with your life? Not that. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

What Should James Comey Wear to Testify Before the Senate?

The president offered a number of explanations for Comey's dismissal from "he was a nutcase" (actual words from the "leader" of the "free" world) to "I saw him dancing with Goody Proctor in the moonlight." The country as a whole replied "Sure, Jan," and waited patiently for Comey's side of the story. The willowy investigator better known as Government Groot has laid low over the last few weeks but, like jelly sandals or Country Time Miley Cyrus, he's back and he's here to stay. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Meryl Streep Cosplayed Diane Keaton and It Was Perfect

We are, truly, not worthy of Meryl. Only Diane Keaton is worthy of Meryl. A Diane Keaton lewk falls squarely within Meryl's style purview, a broad cross-section of drapey, high pattern ensembles that could also be described as "Things Worn By Your Kooky But Awesome High School Drama Teacher Who Sometimes Smoked French Cigarettes in Her Car and Whose Husband Had a Ponytail and Played a Djembe." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

You'll Never Guess Which Adorable Canadian Prime Minister Is Photobombing in a Kayak

The Quebequois Prom King was out here in these lakes paddling in support of World Environment Day, which is a holiday we no longer celebrate in the United States. It's been replaced by a tire fire and a 21-aerosol can salute. I would be here for this under any circumstances because "Justin Trudeau Doing Things In Nature" is one of my love languages. But I'm especially here for it because it's a casual subtweet of our own disastrous leadership. Yas, Le Bae, read us to filth in two languages! Kayak me outside, how about that? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Muddy Motives: The Bachelorette Season 13, Episode 3 Recap

Rachel tells DeMario, “I’m glad that that you realized you should move forward, but forward isn’t this way to the mansion. I hope that the pain you’ve gotten from this gives you joy somewhere else. It’s just not here right now. Thank you.” Thank you! I live! HONEY. SHE READ HIM THE RIOT ACT. Mini-Maxine Waters over here, giving him the headlines from the You Tried It Gazette.[READ THE FULL RECAP]

R. Eric Thomas' Theatre Date - GYPSY with Arielle Brousse

Gypsy, for us hardened veterans of the middle school theater circuit, is as much as seminal classic of the American theater as it is a chilling horror masterpiece. That’s particularly clear in the number “Dainty June and Her Farmboys,” which features Camp as June squealing, spinning, cartwheeling and cantering while Dooner as Louise does a soft-shoe as the front half of a very expressive cow. It’s embarrassing how much we enjoy it. At one point I think I actually screamed with glee. At intermission, the person next to me turned to me and said “You loved that cow number!” I told her, “I apologize and you’re welcome.” [READ THE FULL ARTICLE]

Random Thing from the Internet

When I went to DC to hang out with Rep. Maxine Waters for her Auntie Maxine's Tax Day Rally event, I got to spend a few minutes one-on-one with her. I wrote about it on Elle and now there's video out! In this 90 second clip, you'll watch me ask a long-standing, legendary Congresswoman to give her definitions of modern slang, including "Keep it 100" and "Show me the receipts." Do you think they'll mail the Pulitzer to me or will I have to pick it up myself?

To a Lin-Manuel Miraculous week,