“You busy later? / Just keep me posted / I’ll probably be at home honestly / Call me” —Syd, “Come Over”
The fifth time I came out, I was told I would never find love or peace with a woman. Sadly, by attempt number five, I had already come to that conclusion on my own. Even by coming out attempt number eight, the one where I was finally taken seriously, I was living under the impression that queer love was a commodity at best and a myth in practice. Queer love existed for the screen or the page, but never on the street. Queer love never existed in the grocery store or in farmer’s markets where I was certain we liked to congregate.
I grew bitter, and then I grew up, but all the while I had to know: where does queer love exist? And in a broader sense, do queer people even exist? Of course, in the media, things are different now. We have Brockhampton and Young M.A and Janelle Monáe, and countless others. We have The Internet, and their new single and video for “Come Over,” and just like that, I was granted all of the answers to all of my questions.
To overcome my bitterness, I developed a deep love for the love song. My instant connection to “Come Over” expands upon and sophisticates that love. Not just any song will do. I yearn for love songs about the patter of daily life. When you come to assume you’ll go without even the most egregious parts of love, benign bickering becomes a sly blessing. How wonderful it is to argue over who will carry the groceries when just a few years prior you were told to either marry a man or die miserable and alone.
How wonderful it is to have the chance to exist.
With “Come Over,” The Internet show us that queer love absolutely exists. It unfurls on the couch, in the quiet pockets of the most mundane tasks, in the way a sunset strikes freckled cheeks or pools in loose curls of brown hair. It blossoms once Syd jogs away from band practice, trying to maintain nonchalance, and mimics how I sprint to the front door to let my girlfriend inside.
For all of its charm, “Come Over” remains realistic and begins in familiar territory: rejection. What’s a gay love story without an apropos dose of pining and gentle humiliation? Subcultures thrive in the throes of self-deprecation, after all. Soon, though, the video takes a necessary and momentous turn: Syd gets the girl.
I once imagined that if you were gay and miraculously in love, you were obligated to make a show of it, to prove it real and valid and viable. To be gay in the social media era is to live with a tremendous burden of proof of your humanity. My family, strangers, too, are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, for me to “come to my senses.” For them, we perform love online with a tinge of resentment. Viral proposal videos, relationship montages, lavish trips, elaborate dates—and all of this is publicized. What about watering the plants and arguing over takeout? When love and visibility are elements of survival, it’s easy to conclude that there is no true and simple queer love.
I lust after the simplest pleasures because until very recently, there were few mass media representations of a thriving queer love, and even less so of lesbian relationships. Showtime’s The L Word depicts lesbian relationships as a series of drug-induced fuck-ups, meetings at the local coffee shop, and a lot of hiking. The classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer has one half of the show’s flagship lesbian couple die by gun violence.
“You got me open / Filled with emotion / Living in ecstasy / Just want you next to me / I’ll bring the champagne / Don’t turn me down babe / We can play Simon Says / Or watch TV in bed / Wake with the sunrise / Sleep in it’s alright” —Syd, “Come Over”
Yet in “Come Over,” as we cycle from bedroom to bedroom, we discover that queer love can be quiet, kept to oneself, and still valuable. The importance and necessity of silence permeate the visuals. Syd and her girl are taking photos, Steve’s man is silently gazing out of the window, and Patrick’s meditating. “Come Over,” visually, is as empowering as it is a steady stream of back-channeling. Seeing queer love on the screen is one thing, but to get the supportive “Mhm” to experience love free of expectant gazing and appraisal, a love free of tragedy, is invaluable.
Sonically, too, there’s a personification of queer love and experience. The sugary atmosphere of Syd’s voice is a manifestation of harmless leering, of stealing looks and hearts amidst the humdrum of any setting. There’s a blown-over quality to each held note that’s recognizable to anyone who has been lucky enough to fall and stay in love quietly. Syd's singing catalogs adoration's slow unraveling into admiration. An airy and tempered swagger wafts between downbeats as if to say, "Loving can be easy." The lightness translates in writing, too. The first verse and hook are cheeky with their blunt quality, far from obtuse, and sexually charged but playing it cool. Just like that, “Come Over” makes queer love possible.
“Come Over” captures the essence and subtle desperation of this flavor of love. All Syd wants is for her girl to come by for a few hours, and within that banal desire is the sordid truth of deprivation and how it deforms our base needs. Our wants may shrink and transform, but I’ll be damned if my heart is not full whenever I watch my girlfriend chop vegetables or take out the trash. What could be more luxurious than a few quiet hours on the couch when a good percentage of the country assumes we are subhuman? Of course, I’m pining for an easy night in.
“Come Over” is an early contender for song and video of the year. The single seamlessly takes survival tactics and flips them on their head, makes living appear lavish in its most basic forms. It's a celebration of a life we’re told cannot possibly exist, and a proof that celebration can be intimate and for our eyes only.
“Come Over” proves true, unexpectant, unfiltered queer love exists, and it’s the only song you’ll catch me playing while my girlfriend cooks us dinner.