Now it really stinks to be Jessica Simpson. When her new boyfriend, Tony Romo, played his worst football game of the season in her presence, tabloids and his teammates alike christened her a walking curse. And last week, the cover of Us deemed her “Tortured by Regret” on the premise that she bailed on her marriage and now can’t keep a man. Essentially, at the ripe old age of 27, she’s been deemed a washed-up dud. We don’t even like her, and we think that’s rotten.
On its own, the Romo brouhaha is idiotic. It’s not Jessica’s fault Tony is the only quarterback in the NFL who can’t function in front of pretty girls — Carrie Underwood attended his previous career worst — and presumably Simpson isn’t to blame for his throwing hand’s thumb injury. But on a larger scale, too, the sum of Simpson’s press treatment is gross. It probably is hard to get serious with someone when every time you run out for groceries together, the magazines at the checkout stand scream that you’re a desperate man-eater. Not to mention that if you told the 27-year-old in your office that her string of dates, crushes, and flings suggests that she’s a sad sack who’s destined to be alone, you would probably find yourself stapled in some pretty unpleasant places. Because that’s patently absurd.
Simpson certainly isn’t the first to receive the Sad Old Loser treatment; the tabloids often act as though being a starlet whose every dalliance does not end in engagement is tantamount to having a terminal illness. Jessica follows in the shriveled footsteps of such tragic spinsters as Cameron Diaz — obviously dried up at 35 — and Jennifer Aniston, whose reluctance to take the plunge after that awesome first marriage clearly indicates she’s pathetic. But Jessica is the youngest to be singled out just for being, well, single (so far; at this rate they’ll be writing off Miley Cyrus if she hits 19 without a “promise ring”). Some blame lies with a celebrity culture that fools teen stars into thinking their pseudo-adult jobs, temptations, and social scenes make them emotionally advanced. In a nation where the average marriage age has ticked up to 26 for women, there’s been a preponderance of young Hollywood weddings: Angelina’s first was at 20, Drew Barrymore had a quickie union at 19, Avril Lavigne tied the knot at 20, Kate Hudson was 21, and Simpson herself pledged endless fidelity to Nick Lachey at 22 — the same age at which Britney legally hitched her uterus to K-Fed. Comparatively, leading ladies who spend their twenties and thirties working on their careers rather than rushing into a wedding would seem like they’re falling behind.
But early marriage obviously doesn’t truly equal early maturity. For all she’s done, Simpson is still just a girl in her mid-twenties trying to struggle through what every other single girl in her mid-twenties is doing: dating. And she’d be mocked equally as the next Elizabeth Taylor if she rushed into another wedding or six. Ergo, we’d much prefer that Simpson take her time. Hey, if George Clooney and Matthew McConaughey can be championed for dating-without-diamonds on Hottest Bachelor lists, then Jessica and her ilk should get to play the field. Speaking of, where is your Sexiest Strong Single Starlets edition, People? Pretty faces, girl power, alliteration … what more do you want? —The Fug Girls