Let’s get one thing straight: The Devil Wears Prada may pretend, on its surface, that it’s a movie about navigating a terrible work environment, but it is actually the story of a determined young assistant, who achieves success despite everyone in her personal life trying to bring her down. The day a girl first realizes that is the day she becomes a self-actualized woman.
But even the most self-actualized person will desire a companion or partner at one point or another, and the fact remains that despite all of Andy’s charms and ambition, she ends the film completely alone. That’s perfectly acceptable, of course, as not every movie needs to end with lovers kissing one another into the sunset. But if it were going to, there is only one correct option, and that is Emily Blunt.
First, we have to stress the unworthiness of Andy’s ex-boyfriend Nate, played by the stale wheat bread of humanity, Adrien Grenier. I’m by no means the first Pajiban to make this observation, but to reiterate: Nate is just the absolute worst. Setting aside the initial hypocrisy of a line cook taking issue with anyone’s unusual work hours (Have you ever noticed how restaurants are open much later than office buildings are? You know, just as a general rule?), this is a man whose defining personality trait is concern over food prices. “I went to Dean & Deluca! They charge five dollars a strawberry!” he says proudly, as if you can’t get perfectly decent strawberries at any common Gristedes or C-Town for a fraction of that price. And then the gall of him to scoff at Andy’s newfound interest in expensive clothing, none of which she actually pays for, as if it’s beneath the both of them? You’re making grilled cheese out of Jarlsberg, you unconscionable snob. I’m not saying it doesn’t sound delicious, but let’s not pretend you’re the salt of the Earth yourself there, my dude.
Speaking of snobs, let us move on to Andy’s other explicitly stated love interest, Christian Thompson (Simon Baker). If Nate is wheat bread, then Christian is more of a brioche — unlike the “healthier” and more boring option, he’s not going to pretend that he isn’t terrible for your insides, and at least you get to feel like you’re indulging yourself. He’s a dick who thinks too highly of himself and who doesn’t care about any of the boundaries Andy sets between them, but at least he acts like wants to see her be good at her job and has tangibly useful skills and connections that he can offer her. If this were a choice between the two men in Andy’s life, he would certainly win. However, that is not what this choice is, so we can cast him aside for being, as my good friend and fellow Pajiban Rebecca Pahle puts it, “scarf-wearing trash.”
All right, the men are out of the way (Stanley Tucci’s character, Nigel, will not be considered, on the grounds that he is too good for everyone in this movie); this leaves Miranda and Emily. Far be it from me to challenge the great Mallory Ortberg (who, directly inspired this little exercise), but as much as Miranda and Andy’s undeniable sexual chemistry intrigues me, I do not believe they would be able to sustain themselves as a couple.
Miranda may grow to care for Andy in her own way, but there will come a day that she no longer has any use for the girl — or, more likely, she will find a more practical use for her that irrevocably damages their relationship, just as she did with Nigel. And while Andy takes great pride and delight in pleasing Miranda, she clearly does not approve of Miranda’s self-centeredness, which is an understandable deal-breaker. And then, of course, there is the problem that sexual relationships between employers and employees make for a fun kink, but are not necessarily ideal for either party in the long term. Add to that Miranda’s tendency to demean Andy on a deeply personal level, and it’s unlikely that even the people who find Christian Grey an acceptable fantasy would find her insults very romantic.
Emily, by contrast, is on more equal footing with Andy as coworkers, so their office romance would be much less likely to upset Human Resources. You could argue that their constant competition for Miranda’s attention would make fraternization difficult, but then you’d be forgetting one of the all-time greatest femslash tropes in existence: rivals who cast aside the object of their affection and fall in love with one another instead. And Emily is arguably cattier than Miranda is to start, but she’s also much quicker to warm up to Andy after she’s earned her respect. More importantly, she is the only person in Andy’s life (save, again, for perhaps Nigel) who understands her; and who knows exactly what it’s like to be measured by Miranda and found wanting.
And then there’s the reaction she has to Andy’s makeover. You know, the “How dare you say she looks good, other woman, I saw her first!” reaction. You know the one.
So: we have two young women who compel each other to strive for excellence, who share similar life experiences and interests in fashion, and who, it should go without saying, are completely gorgeous next to each other. If you took out all the gross body shaming and ED talk on Emily’s part, this would be an absolutely perfect love story for the ages. Heck, you could still greenlight Mallory Ortberg’s sexually cruel sequel idea and have this be endgame at the end. It would be just like how [SPOILERS FOR LA LA LAND ENDING. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED] Emma Stone goes off with Tom Everett Scott at the end of La La Land. You know, the right decision. And that’s all there is to say about it.
(With apologies again to Mallory Ortberg and her Femslash Friday series, because this post was supposed to be an op-ed about how much Nate sucks and then completely got away from me.)