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The Trouble with Elon Musk and Grimes

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At Monday night’s Met Gala, held to celebrate the opening of the Costume Institute’s new show, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” Kim Kardashian appeared as a sexy liquid-gold-dipped statuette, in a skintight Versace dress; Rihanna stepped out as a sexy Pope in sparkling Margiela by John Galliano, complete with ceremonial mitre; and Jared Leto, also plenty sexy, made the rounds as a Jesus manqué, in embroidered Gucci togs and a gilt crown of thorns. But for some the focal point of the evening lay elsewhere. Mere hours before the gala began, the New York Post’s Page Six reported that the Silicon Valley billionaire Elon Musk—the forty-six-year-old C.E.O. of the electric-vehicle company Tesla and the aerospace company SpaceX, who has discussed his plans to colonize Mars—had been “quietly dating” Claire Boucher, also known as Grimes, the thirty-year-old, critically lauded electronic musician, who once sailed a D.I.Y. houseboat loaded with live chickens and bushels of potatoes down the Mississippi River and who, in a Profile in this magazine in 2015, was deemed possibly too punk to become a pop star. It was almost immediately after the news of this unlikely coupling broke that the pair appeared at the Met Gala, setting a possible world record for the shortest amount of time elapsed between the announcement of an under-the-radar relationship and that relationship’s extremely public outing.

On the red carpet, as Musk and Boucher posed for photographs, Musk wore a white dinner jacket and white shirt with an inverted priest’s collar—the clerical tab black—and spoke to the press, as Boucher stood beside him, dressed in distinctly goth garb: black lace-up platform boots, black-dyed tresses, blood-red-stained lips, sheer fingerless gloves, a strapless corset, and a black, poufy, business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back skirt. Around her neck, she wore a choker that looked, some noted, like the logo of Musk’s electric-car company, Tesla (a suggestion that Musk quickly denied). Seen together, the couple appeared radically mismatched: not unlike, as one friend noted, a cater waiter picking up his girlfriend from a Siouxsie Sioux-themed costume party.

The pairing was satisfyingly surreal, in the way of the familiar Bréton formula, with an umbrella and a sewing machine placed on an operating table, forcing meaning out of meaninglessness. Pleasingly, too, one after the other, Twitter users shared their own versions of Musk and Boucher, culling past pop-cultural references that have matched straight man and disaffected goth, each seemingly more


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