The Way I See It

An open letter to Tyson Ritter, lead singer of The All-American Rejects

Dear Tyson,

This is not my first letter. You might recognize my name from several NSFW messages posted to your MySpace page in 2006, and while I’ve grown as a writer since then, I stand by those words. However, this particular open letter is strictly SFW. I am writing to thank you for your many contributions to my ~brand~, the single most important thing a woman can have.

Our story begins in 2004. I had just started my second round of braces, and was experiencing a swift orthodontia-induced end to my Frankford Middle School popularity. The blonde highlights in my black hair had completely backfired, and I couldn’t afford the Abercrombie jeans necessary to win back the respect of my seventh grade peers. I’d lost everything, Tyson. I’d hit rock bottom, but immediately upon landing, my local Kiss FM affiliate played “Swing Swing” on the radio. I Asked Jeeves about The All American Rejects, and a new girl emerged from the ashes. I dyed my hair back to black. I started wearing sweatshirts with thumbholes and purchased my first pair of Converse. I was reinvented.

Skip forward to 2008. I am a junior in high school, and I am still thriving as a Reject. I was easily the edgiest girl in my AP Psychology class, and with my new job at Coldstone Creamery I could finally afford as many Hot Topic T-shirts as I could wear. I sang “Dirty Little Secret” all the way through my first hangover and “Another Heart Calls” through my first heartbreak. I drove 45 minutes to see you sing “Gives You Hell” live at the Palladium Ballroom in Dallas, and stole the setlist off the wall even though I was really disappointed that you were wasted and flubbed the lyrics to “Mona Lisa.”

It’s been six years since that concert. I’ve graduated from college, outgrown my skinny jeans and stopped buying Converse, but I still harbor my crush on you safe in my heart. I have dated two men I outweigh, and even though I spend my days wearing business casual in a cubicle, I dream of the day I cover my arms in tattoos and you whisk me away to a dirty studio apartment. I stuck with you through your horrible techno remix phase and bravely ignored the rumors of your romance with Taylor Swift. Today, I set my Spotify account to play only your music and enjoyed it all without a single ironic bone in my body. I still know every word to every song, and I suspect I always will.

Your angst became my brand, Tyson. Thank you.


Kelly Fine