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Because Being Above “Sunday Styles” Is Just a Way of Being Into “Sunday Styles”

It’s sort of like that one uncle. You know who I mean — the cool uncle. The one you’re excited to see at holidays because the rest of the time he’s busy traveling and doing urbane things. Not young, maybe, but younger than your parents. In a creative industry. Interested in culture; has friends with wild hair who dress in expensive versions of everyday things. He has Bloomsbury-inspired dinner parties! Life can be curated, you suddenly see, and there’s a textbook! That’s what I’ll be like, you think, maybe not consciously. He makes you mixtapes.

And then one day that same uncle shows up carrying a dish you saw in last week’s paper — it involves pomegranate seeds. His denim blazer looks ridiculous. What are the kids listening to? He wants to know. Have you heard the new Joanna Newsom? Seen this web series? What about this distillery? You squirm with embarrassment. He is beyond parody —indeed, impervious to parody. He’s vocally ambivalent about being a father and seems to think it’s brave. He bums a cigarette. And is he hitting on your friends? He’s definitely hitting on your friends.

That’s dad-rock, you say coldly. No one goes there anymore. I’m neither shocked nor titillated. No, I didn’t read that; isn’t it a novel about a disaffected middle-aged couple draped in expensive fabrics? Or just another feature in “Sunday Styles”? Soon, it’s not your uncle. It’s you. One day, you see a silhouette artist you know being profiled. Later, a friend of a friend’s band. I’m writing this piece for “Styles,” says your friend. And you say: Wow. And, yes, I wear shorts to work. And, no, I don’t mind when babies are in Park Slope bars. One more and it’s a trend piece, you “joke.” No, but seriously. Can you think of one more?

Yeah, you say, to your uncle. I’d love tickets to Hamilton. Really, that bilingual school is better? Huh. The new Joanna Newsom’s good; it’s super Cloudbusting-era Kate Bush. No, I have no idea what the kids are doing. But I’m so glad you’re here; I’d miss you if you weren’t.