My mom used to fucking hate me. But that was the old me. The run-of-the-mill me. The too ugly for Monday, too pretty for Tuesday me. But now? Now she thinks the world of me. Now our relationship is stronger than ever. And it’s all because she thinks I’m Academy Award-nominated heartthrob, Timothée Chalamet.
It started simply enough. After years of awkward and strained conversations usually ending with her saying something like,“I just don’t get you,” I decided to change the narrative. I decided to become someone else.
“I’m Timothée Chalamet,” I told her one day.
“Prove it,” she demanded. So I sensually whispered, “Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine,” and then, for good measure, threw down a few classic Chalamet dance moves.
She beamed. Her face radiated with the warmth of a billion suns. “Of course you are. My boy. My Beautiful Boy. It all makes so much sense now.”
Before I knew it, she was parading me around town, showing me off to all her friends. What was happening? Who was this woman? Other than that time I accidentally backed over her neighbor's petunia patch—effectively eliminating the only threat to my mother winning Garden of the Year—she had never bragged about me.
Suddenly, I was all she could talk about: “He’s been compared to a modern-day Brando, you know,” I overheard her telling her sister on the phone. “Pause it right there!” she yelled to her book group as she made them watch season 2 of Homeland, one of Timothée Chalamet’s first on-screen appearances. “Look at how young he is. It’s so obvious that that kid would grow up to be my son.”
She even took me to lunch at her country club and told me to get whatever I wanted—a first on both accounts. Is this what a happy family is like? Ordering multiple side dishes while explaining what it’s like to work with Saoirse Ronan? If so, I wish I had become Timothée Chalamet sooner. The more details I shared—about my creative process, my future projects, and how I manage to keep my hair looking perpetually clean yet unwashed—the more she would open up to me, the more she would reveal a deeper, fuller person that I didn’t know existed.
Pretty soon we were spending a month backpacking through Europe together, something I never thought possible considering the furthest place she ever took me as a child was a Filene’s Basement two towns over. Wherever we went in Europe, she’d tell people who I was and ask if they wanted an autograph.
In Paris, she asked me if it was true I could speak fluent French: “Cie Vie Mi,” I said, which wasn’t French at all but she didn’t know that. When visiting a castle in Wales, she made me perform a scene from The King. Not having seen that particular Chalamet film, I instead gave Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate from Lord of The Rings, which earned me a three-minute standing ovation from my mother, and a lifetime ban from the castle grounds.
And in Rome, she smashed the camera of a honeymooning couple who she believed were paparazzi. They were just taking pictures of the Colosseum, but seeing my mom protect me warmed my heart, nonetheless.
“I want you to meet your father,” she said on the plane back home. I thought my dad was dead, so this was big. Turns out he didn’t suffer a fatal cardiac arrest two minutes after I was born like she had always told me. He’s an accountant, his name is Dan, and he lives three blocks away.
“You’re too twitchy on screen for my taste,” he said when he heard who I was. Classic dad. Always the critic!
The past several months have been some of the best of my life. I discovered I had a father, and my mother and I have never been closer. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s been worth it, this little fantasy of mine. I promised to take my mom to the Dune premiere later this year, but I suddenly don’t know if it’s worth the trouble of hiring actors and staging an entire movie opening just to maintain a relationship with the woman who birthed me. Deep down, I don’t think it is. Deep down I’m realizing that I want my mom to like me for me. And if she doesn’t, maybe she doesn’t deserve Timothée.