With Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson’s alleged courtship sweeping tabloids, Life&Style Hannah Vernon explains and deconstructs what it means to date ‘out of your league’

Written by Hannah Vernon
Awkward bibliophile and complicated wreck. I panic! in every conceivable location, especially in Second Year English Literature - what a shame my mother hates my prose ;)
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The analysis of one Pete Davidson’s sexual history, the obsessive interest in each woman the comedian has been photographed with romantically is perhaps a somewhat insulting investigation– yet it is one that has captivated the internet with increasing ferocity. To quote American rock band Bowling for Soup’s 2006 song ‘High School Never Ends,’ ‘the whole damned world is just as obsessed/with who’s the best dressed and who’s having sex.’ These lyrics seem entirely applicable to the public interest in Davidson’s love life, particularly concerning a fledgling romance with a certain well-dressed celebrity currently gaining traction. The Saturday Night Live star had seen his photographs alongside a host of famously traditional beauties catapulted to the front page of various tabloids– though never more so, arguably, than those starring his recent co-star Kim Kardashian.

Kardashian joins a bevvy of celebrities publicly linked to the comedian

Kardashian joins a bevvy of celebrities– including former fiancée Ariana Grande, Bridgerton actress Phoebe Dyvenor, and supermodel Kaia Gerber– publicly linked to the comedian. Most interesting here, seemingly, is the disparity between the two. The former very much capitalises on her beauty and sex appeal. The latter– to quote the incredibly self-deprecating comic himself– is an ‘anorexic panda’ covered in Harry Potter ink. Other comments from the funny-man himself describe him as more ‘scarecrow’ than stereotypical pinup, desperately ‘in need of more blood’ and, contrary to his far-from-lacking carnal history, ‘has sex like Green Day.’

Sexual prowess aside, Davidson evidently has enough redeeming qualities to attract such a volume of women. That is, if one takes the more complementary route.

It might be that Pete Davidson is simply a nice man. There are evidently draws aplenty in his drawers. Perhaps he has managed to transgress the narcissistic realm of parallel ‘f*ckboys’ and ‘soft bois’ pervading the dating scene; these tropes appear somewhat niche on inspection, and yet droves of ex-lovers can attest to being hurt by such men. Davidson, on account of his consistent self-dismissal, appears not to convey the necessary arrogance associated with such types of partners. As evidenced in his sketches, he seems to express few qualms about dating objectively more handsome and successful women. Interweave a healthy understanding of consent and touching honesty surrounding his mental health struggles, Davidson appears to have acquired a legion of admirers.

[Davidson] seems to express few qualms about dating objectively more handsome and successful women

Such chivalrous behaviour aside, an underlying climate of judgement persists. Kim Kardashian, whether one likes or loathes it, is a social media icon and arguably one of the most famous women currently on the planet. Much of her brand relies on her physical attributes, something which Davidson, as mentioned, notably downplays. This comparison between the two is one which often still begins by studying outward appearances. Some might raise the question of how Davidson managed to ‘win’ Kardashian.

To study this in greater detail, one might turn to the concept of ‘punching.’

Think ‘punching above your weight,’ or ‘punching beyond your reach.’ If society was boxed into categories based on appearance, having a member of one sphere transgress their bubble and reach for an objectively superior partner is a rather simple description of ‘punching outside the box.’ If we apply this to the Davidson/Kardashian case, the comedian is considered physically less attractive than the mogul and thus, having gained her interest, is ‘punching.’

Connotations arise of the ‘puncher’ having won or acquired something valuable

Such a concept is rather vulgar, and potentially demeaning to all involved. In the first instance, it is assuredly not pleasant to be considered the less attractive party in any situation, self-confident or not. Switching then to the other person concerned, neither is it agreeable to have your partner considered publicly below yourself as if expected to do better. Connotations arise of the ‘puncher’ having won or acquired something valuable. The target, meanwhile, becomes a commodity to be attained, aspired to. Perhaps it is a backward ego boost to others– seeing someone of your own sphere attracting someone deemed innately more impressive might well inspire hope that the same can be achieved. Among friends, however, this masquerading compliment appears rather trite. Teasing aside, it is surely unpleasant to be so confined to your physical attributes, as if you have nothing personally better to offer.

On the surface, Pete Davidson might seem to have been ‘punching beyond his reach’ to court such a globally attractive star as Kim Kardashian– however, even among friends, his ‘punching’ does not quite sit so comfortably. Albeit the short-lived nature of his past relationships, Davidson evidently has the qualities to attract and romance. Whether he and Kardashian last is a separate matter entirely. At present, perhaps the focus should not be so much on what Davidson has achieved physically in punching outside of his sphere, but rather what happiness the two might share together, regardless of who has a body worth reaching for.

Read more from Life&Style:

Keeping Up With The Kardashians: the End of an Era

Lessons from ‘All Too Well’: Power Imbalances in Age Gap Relationships

Our Fascination With the ‘Psychopath’ in Popular Media