Is Paul Mescal the Indie Pete Davidson? A Very Serious Investigation

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Over the weekend, TMZ published images of actor Paul Mescal on what looked like a dinner date with musician and newest Taylor Swift BFF Gracie Abrams. The pair seemed cozy, and as happens whenever two random hot celebrities are standing within close proximity of one another, the internet immediately decided that they were dating. Would you blame Gracie for shooting her shot with indie cinema’s favorite Irishman?

Abrams is actually the fourth woman to have been the subject of Mescal dating rumors in 2024. Ayo Edebiri posted an Instagram story of herself alongside Mescal to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and fans either assumed a romance or hoped for one. Around that same time, British tabloid The Mirror claimed that he was spotted kissing Australian actress Sophie Wilde at a BAFTAs after-party. THEN in late May, he was seen hanging out with Natalie Portman in London, sharing a few laughs and sending body language experts into a frenzy.

The All of Us Strangers star is now at that level of fame where the world just decides that every woman who breathes the same air as him must be jumping the Irishman’s bones. The Abrams news had fans wondering if Mescal is the Pete Davidson of the A24 crowd, the go-to fling for ladies who like a sweet but slightly sad boy who rocks the shortest of shorts and has Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s phone number. Sure, none of these relationships have been confirmed—really, Mescal hasn’t been in a confirmed romance since he dated musician Phoebe Bridgers—but the sheer possibility is fuel enough for fans.

It just makes sense. Who would be the perfect post-divorce fling for Natalie Portman after her French ballerina husband reportedly cheated on her? The sitting president of the Tortured Man Club! Oh, Sophie Wilde is a rising star who has a lot of doors open to her? Let her fall into the arms of County Kildare’s finest. Remember that time he was, for a hot second, linked to Angelina Jolie? She could use a melancholy younger man in her life so why not this one? In the age of the Hot Rodent Boyfriend, Mescal is a classic choice for lusting of all varieties: a good fit for all women, the little black dress of drama school boys.

Every generation gets their hot slutty guy, from Valentino to Warren Beatty to the aforementioned Davidson. Granted, Mescal will have to increase his workload to match the alleged 13,000 women that Beatty pulled over the course of his illustrious career (any volunteers?) One of the reasons Pete Davidson fascinates us so much is because he makes his endless cycle of romance seem easy.

Men are often baffled by Davidson’s prowess given that he doesn’t look like, well, Paul Mescal, but it makes total sense to most women. There is something to be said about a funny guy in touch with his emotions who is guaranteed to show you a good time. He’s a good fit for everyone, whether it’s post-Kanye Kim Kardashian, rising star Phoebe Dynevor, or unashamed romantic Ariana Grande. The more a guy is seen with women who seem delighted to be in his presence, and the more his reputation builds, the greater his legend becomes. At this point in history, Pete Davidson is basically the jeans from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, or that one guy on Sex and the City who was an expert at oral.

Not every lothario is appealing, of course. The more Leonardo DiCaprio dates young models then ditches them Logan’s Run style when they turn 25, the creepier and less alluring he looks. There’s a fine line between dirtbag sexy and fuckboy gross. Every woman Davidson dated seemed to know what they were getting in for, as Kardashian noted when she said she approached him at first because she just wanted some of that good capital D. You go in, get your laughs and screams, then flourish.

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Is that what’s happening with Mescal? Again, we have no idea, and now that he’s in that part of his career where he’s tabloid bait through merit of being hot and talented, the myth has started to expand beyond his grasp. But there is a reason we want to put Mescal into this mold. His career so far has been largely defined by roles of aching romantic melancholy, raw sex appeal, and sheer emotional agony, and alongside actors with whom he has the most astonishing heat.

He broke out in Normal People, perhaps the great millennial romantic drama, playing a student whose relationship with a more affluent woman was achingly real (as was his chemistry with co-star Daisy Edgar-Jones.) In Aftersun, for which he garnered his first Oscar nomination, his performance as a single dad perfectly captured the double-edged sword of growing up and realizing your father is indeed just human. He's at his most gut-wrenching (and hottest) in All of Us Strangers, as the love interest of Andrew Scott in a film that is impossible not to sob hysterically at. And let’s not forget the great sexy brute of the legitimate theater, Stanley Kowalski, who Mescal played to sweaty perfection on the West End stage in a recent production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Did he bear his forearms and roll around in the rain? Yes, he did!

Mescal is a private man who probably isn’t wild about the fact that so many people are probing into his love life. We can’t blame him for that. He just wants to wear his teeny shorts, look good while smoking, and keep working with the best directors on the planet.

One of the reasons the indie Pete Davidson narrative fits so well is that he’s enough of a blank slate for us to project that onto him. The little we do know of his love life only fuels that, such as his time with indie rock queen Bridgers and a prevailing TikTok rumor that he ditches his one-night stands by taking them on a walk in the park and then running away (he may have poked fun at this rumor during an appearance on Chicken Shop Date, because we love a self-aware king.) Regardless, Mescal is heading towards the A-List. The world is his oyster, and if he wants to sow his wild oats, we know a few thousand women who would be honored to join him in his quest.

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