My niece Freya is crying. Happy tears I think. I haven’t seen her cry since the Biodiversity Citizens Assembly. She wasn’t in it. She was just watching it online. It’s for a different reason this time.

“It’s too much Auntie Ann. The Swifties are just giving me life,” she says.

No. Not a hope in the wide earthly world will I understand this in one go. I’m going to need a dictionary. What in the name of God is a Swifty? Honestly now, I thought it just meant a quick drink or something teenagers did after a disco that you hoped you’d never find out about. You never know what you’re saying these days.

Perfectly innocent

The thing that you thought was a perfectly innocent word could mean something completely different. Like the time I said to Rory he could jizz up his outfit a bit for his cousins wedding and he nearly passed out from laughing. I still never found out what that was but I’ve never said it since just to be on the safe side.

Freya sees all this go through my mind. “I’ll explain Auntie Ann because your face is like when you said that thing to Rory. Taylor Swift fans, Auntie Ann. Taylor is dating this footballer and it’s so wholesome and I am so here for that.”

“Of course you’re here for that. You wouldn’t be over there would you?” She ignores this. “You have to look at this Auntie Ann. The fandom are posting their reacts. Look at the way he holds the door for her in this video. She is OMG, totally blissed out.”

TikTok Reacts

She brings up a page with the headline of: We Are Loving Swifty. TikTok Reacts To Wholesome Taylor Content. I swear I had a better chance understanding things in the Irish oral.

“And you were doing a line with a footballer too for a while,” I say. As soon as I see her face I knew I shouldn’t have brought that up but she puts on a brave face. “No it’s okay Auntie Ann. We broke up over nitrates. I thought I could change him. But he wanted his derogation and I wanted a liveable planet so I guess…” She’s waiting for me to say something but I don’t. I happen to know they also broke up because he wanted a derogation from only having one girl on the go at a time but I don’t say that. Anyway this is different apparently.

“It’s not the toxic GAA vibe Auntie Ann. He’s an American footballer. Like, don’t get me wrong, obviously that’s the worst game ever and just a cosplay for American imperialism but still they are sooooo wholesome together.”

Pop stars

“You’ve changed your tune Freya. Weren’t you giving out stink about pop stars? Bad role models for young girls who want to do STEM?” She sighs and it looks like she is going to have to explain something fierce obvious to me.

“That was different Auntie Ann.” A lot of things are different today it seems. “Everything about Taylor Swift is different. Did you know she was going out with a guy who bought her old record label and then she re-recorded all the songs so that her fans would buy those and put the label owned by her ex out of business? Girls are gangstas too, Auntie Ann.”

“Wouldn’t it be great to have the time to re-record all your old hits. What do you think Denis?” Denis has just wandered in.

“What hits do you have? Only me. I was your Number 1.”

“G’way you eejit”

The lyrics out of us. We could give Taylor a run for her money.