In a recent New Yorker profile, Fiona Apple let writer Emily Nussbaum into her home, into her creative process, and in an uncharacteristically transparent move, into her life. The mercurial songwriter has been known to take long periods between albums; the result is that every piece of music she has ever released has been a painstakingly specific, devastating emotional blow to me personally. What follows is a fascinating portrait of Apple’s life, past and present, with a few… Easter eggs?
Look, I’m not saying Fiona Apple is queer, and neither is she. I would never dare to presume anything about the woman who has single-handedly guided me through every breakup I’ve ever had; she knows her own heart (and all hearts) far better than I could ever imagine. She has a right to privacy, and to name her own sexuality however she chooses. What I can say is that this New Yorker article is littered with what feels like clues, and I am a detective who currently has nothing better to do.
Apple’s public relationships have been fascinating; she famously dated the magician David Blaine, the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson and the writer Jonathan Ames. Of course, she’s also dated outside the public eye; a 2012 profile in Vulture describes some of her lesser-known relationships.
She said she’d dated a fat man specifically to see what that would feel like. She’d briefly married a French photographer several years ago, for complicated reasons. She sought out Jonathan Ames after a friend kept talking about him and she’d read some of his work; forces, including distance, conspired against the relationship (he lives in Brooklyn). There was a younger girl a few months ago, a beautiful dancer with whom she climbed onto her roof to watch the sky at various times of day and night. She is currently single. She’d thought a lot, she said, about this. In “Left Alone,” she is direct: “How can I ask anyone to love me / When all I do is beg to be left alone?”
Alright, this woman is dropped in there so casually that a less careful reader might miss it entirely. Nobody has to make any grand statements about anyone’s sexuality! Let’s ignore the part where the idea of climbing onto Fiona Apple’s roof to watch the sky with her makes my heart feel too big for my ribcage, and deal with the matter at hand.
The evidence, as it stands:
1. Fiona Apple named her new album “Fetch The Bolt Cutters” after something Gillian Anderson says in The Fall.
“Fetch the bolt cutters!” shouts Gillian Anderson, in a scene from The Fall! Fiona Apple is sitting at home in her sunny, minimalist Venice abode, salivating over how perfect Gillian Anderson is in everything just like all of us every single day. Suddenly, she is overcome with a spark of inspiration. Does this make her queer? Nay, it makes her human.
2. Fiona Apple is friends with the young, hip gays.
Look, nobody has Cara Delevingne sing meows as background vocals on their new record because they’re straight.
Additionally, Fiona has acted as a devoted mentor for King Princess, who I’m pretty sure breathes lesbian spores. I do not make the rules.
3. Fiona Apple is tired of listening to straight men talking.
Our lord and savior Fiona Apple quit doing cocaine after “an excruciating night” of listening to Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson bragging about themselves. Effective.
4. Fiona Apple wants to relive her relationship with her ex in front of you.
During the writer’s time with Apple, she has her ex boyfriend Jonathan Ames come over so they can warmly rehash their relationship, sparking tension and causing the writer to wonder why they’d ever broken up in the first place. Then, like clockwork, the pair start arguing, hurting each others’ feelings and thus reliving their entire breakup for Nussbaum’s benefit. This same cycle will continue in front of all their friends forever and will freak out everyone they date after each other. I’m sorry to tell you, but this… is gay. It’s very gay.
5. Fiona Apple’s really into pit bulls.
One of the more fascinating revelations in this article is the part where Apple keeps her dead pit bull Janet’s bones in a box in her living room, speaks to them, and at one point taps on them to potentially add percussion to her new record. Apple’s love of dogs is nothing new; she’s passionately involved with pit bull rescue groups for years. She currently lives with Mercy, a pit/boxer mix, and her roommate’s Bermese mountain dog Maddie.
Can you be involved in pit bull rescues and be straight? Sure, of course you can.
I’m just saying.
6. Fiona Apple’s roommate.
Fiona Apple lives with a “silver-haired lesbian” named Zelda Hallman, whom she met after blowing on a dandelion and wishing for a best friend for her dog. Hallman took care of Apple during her second breakup with Jonathan Ames, and the pair talk about potentially buying land back east and “moving there with the doggies.”
They slept on the daybeds in the living room. Apple had made it clear that anyone who questioned her friend’s presence would get cut out. Hallman described their dynamic as like a “Boston marriage—but in the way that outsiders had imagined Boston marriages to be.”
Listen, I just think it’s nice these two are such good friends.
With all this evidence in mind, is Fiona Apple queer? Probably, maybe, I really have no idea. What I can tell you is that the idea of breaking up with Fiona Apple and then not being able to listen to Fiona Apple to cope with it is devastating. Perhaps it’s better — more cautious, even — to wonder.