Before I knew what Pete Davidson looked like, I knew he was hot. A couple relatives of mine encountered the comedian during a visit to New York, soon after he’d been announced as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. They were ecstatic—and the headline was that he was hot.
Over the years, Davidson’s hotness has crescendoed from a gentle simmer—“He’s so cute!”—to a full-blown, lollipop-sucking boil. It’s an irresistible combination: His look might scream dirtbag chic, but the bleached hair and cool gaze belie the earnestness of his broader persona. Being funny will get most heterosexual men pretty far on its own, but Davidson’s public-facing persona is also unusually vulnerable. Combine talent, sincerity, and boyish charm—and a little thing called BDE—and you’ve created a Hollywood dreamboat.
So imagine my surprise when, all of a sudden, the discourse around Davidson shifted to ask how he’s dated so many accomplished and beautiful women, including Cazzie David, Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale, Margaret Qualley, Kaia Gerber, Phoebe Dyvenor, and most recently (and surprisingly) Kim Kardashian. The New York Post compared him to Warren Beatty, perhaps Hollywood’s most notorious womanizer who’s bedded thousands, which feels premature.
Treating any person’s dating record as an accomplishment feels somewhat icky to begin with. But why the confusion? Maybe it stems from dated ideals—do we think women only like quarterbacks named Biff?—or some stodginess about the bleached hair-tattooed look. But are we really, seriously going to pretend in the year of our Lord 2021 that famous comedians, especially those with any kind of an edge, are not extremely high on the sexual/romantic food chain?
Pete Davidson occupies a strange place in the public psyche. Despite those sexy slacker vibes, Davidson himself has long been vulnerable in a way many celebrity men are not—and do not have to be. The comedian’s father was a first responder who died on Sept. 11, a subject the comedian has openly discussed along with his drug addiction and rehabilitation and his Crohn’s disease. At one point during their relationship, Ariana Grande called out Barstool Sports for joking about the dark circles under her fiancé’s eyes.
But if I had to distill Pete Davidson’s appeal to one fun fact, it would probably be that until recently he lived in his mother’s basement—in the Staten Island house he bought for her. A successful comedian who also loves his mama? Ew, who wants that?
In 2019, Page Six attempted to divine the origins of Davidson’s dating prowess. The answer they received will blow your mind: “You wouldn’t think it,” a friend told the publication, “but he has impeccable manners and is so polite. I think, honestly, that’s part of the reason women like him.”
As a woman… Yes! No shit! After so many first dates spent watching men blow their noses at the table, reach under their shirts to scratch their backs, and, in one special case, insist on paying the bill only to try and stiff the waiter on the tip, yes—even decent manners will take a man very far in this life. And so will having a nice jawline. Case closed!