It's not every day your ex-boyfriend moves on to romance one of the world's most famous women — but that's exactly what happened to journalist Lindsay Crouse.
"If you’ve ever googled an ex’s new partner (be honest) you’ve probably played a certain game with yourself,” writes Crouse. "You’re either just curious — which is healthy of you — or you want to know how you compare. Ideally the ex’s life didn’t improve too much without you? In this case, though, that’s all upended. How do you compare yourself with Lady Gaga?"
Crouse recalls the moment her friends first saw an Instagram photo of Gaga sitting on the lap of her new man after attending the Super Bowl in Miami. One by one, they texted her, telling her to check social media.
"While I’d been watching the Super Bowl on television in New York, they were snuggling in her private box at the Hard Rock Stadium at Miami Gardens. There were the paparazzi as he escorted her away, her pink hair flowing and sequins pasted around her eyes," she writes.
While the press describes Polansky, a Harvard grad who's the CEO of the San Francisco-based Parker Group, as Gaga's new "mystery man" and her most "normal" boyfriend yet, he's simply Michael to Crouse.
"I dated this normal, mystery man for seven years," she writes. "Our relationship lasted all of college, and then a few years more. (A popular song from back then described being 'caught in a bad romance.')."
"So suddenly it’s like I’m star-gawking by proxy (yes I know there’s another word for that). But there’s almost no way to avoid it," she adds.
But rather than feel intimidated by Gaga, Crouse decides instead to be inspired her. She soon finds herself starting to make bolder decisions and living more fearlessly.
She gives as an example her decision to ditch the same old black dress she always wears to parties, to instead buy something fancier for herself. "I’ve never owned anything that costs more than a week’s worth of groceries — whereas (Gaga) is a woman who wears pieces of raw meat on the red carpet," Crouse wrote.
"The dress was too expensive, but I bought it anyway. Why should I accept less than Lady Gaga?" she asks. She also upgrades her order at a coffee shop, gets her makeup done professionally and says yes to a scary work presentation.
"The point is, Lady Gaga is living the ambitious life that we keep saying women should embrace. A quote I remember reading from her, probably on Instagram, says, 'Don’t you ever let a soul in the world tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are,'" she writes.
"It’s so easy as you get older to find the best in who you’ve become, to make the most of it — and maybe even to get a little complacent about it," she adds. "But if Lady Gaga can do what she wants, and even expand on what she wants, why not me, too?"