Peroxide blonde hair, black sullen eyes and teeth like Pez candies. That hardly sounds like the face of a dream man. But Pete Davidson is not just any man; in the last ten years he has transformed from a nobody New York stand-up to every woman’s favorite plus-one.
Davidson is a contested sex symbol. Women spend their Saturday nights salivating at Saturday Night Live, thinking about how they’d offer up their firstborn for one date with the comedian. Men, on the other hand, think we’re mental. They just don’t get Pete’s appeal.
So, gents, I’d like to tell you what it is about Pete. I’ll start with the obvious: it has been well-reported that the comedian is well endowed. Ariana Grande once tweeted, then deleted, “ten inches,” but she was probably just being nice. Davidson’s former Saturday Night Live colleague Jay Pharoah claimed Pete once told him, “it’s like nine inches.” But, in all honesty, it doesn’t matter how many inches Pete’s popsicle is, the sheer BDE is enough.
What is BDE, you ask? Well, think Robert Downey Jnr,, think Adam Driver, think Jane Fonda. BDE is less of a physical attribute and instead something more… spiritual. It’s unexplainable but immediately obvious. To quote the Cut‘s Allison P. Davis,
BDE is a quiet confidence and ease with oneself that comes from knowing you have an enormous penis and you know what to do with it. It’s not cockiness, it’s not a power trip — it’s the opposite: a healthy, satisfied, low-key way you feel yourself.
Every woman, and I mean every woman, falls for it. Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale, Margaret Qualley, Kaia Gerber, Phoebe Dynevor, Kim Kardashian and now Emily Ratajkowski have, at one time, been a Davidson squeeze. Pete’s dating résumé reads like a line up for a World’s Hottest Woman award; every TMZ whisper of who Pete’s been spotted with proves that he never misses.
Pete’s attraction goes beyond BDE, however. It comes down to classic dating psychology. Every woman is secretly attracted to that which she can’t have — and there is nothing less sustainable than Pete Davidson. By his own admission, he’s a bad boy. He’s “always suicidal,” “always depressed” and is often found taking mushrooms or LSD. He once said that he had been “in and out” of treatment facilities for mental health issues since age nine.
There is nothing hotter than self-destruction. To put it nicely, he struggles. To put it less nicely, he’s a hopeless flame that doesn’t know what he wants from one day to the next. As Freud no doubt wrote, helpless boys do something to women. It’s motherly, it’s sexual, it’s a reverse Oedipus complex.
“What is the appeal of Pete Davidson? What’s not to like? If you are a celebrity, nine out of ten like attention, most are narcissists, so he brings a lot to the table,” Perez Hilton tells me. “He brings fame, and he will elevate yours. He also brings that BDE, which, many people like. I mean, I’m a size queen so I can understand that. He also is very funny, and women claim they like a guy with a sense of humor. And, he knows how to make women feel special. He isn’t shy about showering them with affection and interest. However, that can quickly turn to smothering, which women find a turn-off, and obsessiveness, which can lead to break-ups.”
History throws up Pete-types in every generation; the Swinging Sixties had Parisian musician Serge Gainsbourg. Long dead, thanks to his hedonistic lifestyle, Gainsbourg’s paramours included Bridget Bardot, Jane Birkin and Caroline von Paulus. Listening to Birkin purring “je t’aime” on one of Gainsbourg’s tracks, you’d expect to find he’s an Adonic heartthrob. Nope. Just a grubby 5’8″-er who smoked five packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day. Gainsbourg is proof that having a face like cottage cheese doesn’t stop you from bagging a ten.
Unlike the unfaithful Gainsbourg, Davidson is overwhelmingly honest. Emily Ratajkowski once described him as “vulnerable,” but by his own admission, Pete lays it all on the table on day one. The comedian once said: “Off the top, I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m nuts. Here’s all my issues. Here’s what I do. Here’s the therapists. This is what happens.” After Pete’s split with Kim Kardashian she publicly called him a “good, good person.” And Ariana Grande called their time together “frivolous and fun and insane and highly unrealistic.”
The last, and perhaps most obvious, reason for his ungodly attraction is that he’s funny. Davidson lasted eight seasons on SNL. Even when taunted by Kanye West in their very public feud, Davidson was able to laugh it off playfully. One text he shared said “I’m in bed with your wife,” accompanied with a photo of Pete sticking his tongue out.
And when British comedian Jimmy Carr went on Comedy Central and joked about Pete Davidson’s dead father, saying, “I’m appalled that people would come here and make jokes about the sacrifice Pete’s heroic father made on 9/11. This is not the roast of Pete Davidson’s father. That was in 2001,” Pete was there laughing along.
And so, like clockwork, it’s happened again. Pete the gloomy gent swoops in as the ultimate rebound for Emily Ratajkowski. TMZ captured their relationship’s chrysalis moment in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. Men, maybe it’s time to take notes: head to your nearest tattoo parlor, book in at the barber’s for a dye job and get your pharmacist to write you a benzodiazepine script. Then watch the women throw themselves at your feet like Pete.