The Story Behind the Internet Boyfriend Group Pic That Broke Stan Twitter

“Arranging this photo was the absolute hands-down highlight of my professional career,” Aguirre said on Twitter. Later, he added: “When my parents fled from the persecution of their home countries to give their children the American Dream, this was it.” (Aguirre is Filipino-American.)

According to a source on the ground, Aguirre was waiting at the valet for Scott and Mescal to arrive when he saw Bailey and Bomer make their entrance. Knowing a photo of the four would cause a serious ruckus online, Aguirre ran around asking if anyone had connections to Bailey and Bomer. The respective teams soon brokered the moment, asking if the Fellow Travelers pair wanted to meet up with the Strangers duo. Bailey and Bomer soon took a break from their junket to snap the photo with Scott and Mescal. The rest, as they say, is gay history.

The rest of the scene not in that photograph only adds to the gay fever dream of it all. A little over a week after the SAG-AFTRA strike ended, The London was overrun with various For Your Consideration events all happening at the same time. Divas were everywhere. R&B powerhouse-turned-The Color Purple star Fantasia Barrino was making the rounds. Lily-Rose Depp—the “World Class Sinner” herself—was in the mix, as were Killers of the Flower Moon breakout Lily Gladstone and Past Lives auteur Celine Song. (The filmmaker Jonathan Glazer was also there—his Nicole Kidman connection garners him diva credibility.)

But it was the Internet Boyfriend crossover, of course, that sent social media aflame. Over the past few years, each of its four stars has caught the public imagination in different ways. Jonathan Bailey became a superstar mid-pandemic as the moody, furry-chested Viscount Bridgerton in the Netflix blockbuster Bridgerton. Andrew Scott, meanwhile, forever changed the word “kneel” as the Hot Priest on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Emmy-winning series Fleabag. Matt Bomer is perhaps the most tenured of the lot, initially capturing hearts as a handsome con artist in the long-running series White Collar, before stripping down for Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike and its sequel. And Oscar-nominated heartthrob Paul Mescal is known as much for acclaimed projects like Normal People and Aftersun as he is for his 3-inch inseams.

GQ’s Eileen Cartter recently dubbed Mescal “King of Internet Boyfriend Style,” after he paired a Clairo hoodie with his signature micro shorts. But Bailey, Bomer, and Scott are no slouches in the style department, either, and the photo is an interesting case study of Internet Boyfriend signifiers.

Notably, two of the four men were wearing Thom Browne in the photo, a staple brand for any aspiring Hollywood iconoclast. Scott wore a Thom Browne sweater vest over a plain white tee, while Bailey wore one of the brand’s signature short-sleeved grey sweaters. Mescal and Bomer matched in their own way— both were wearing Chelsea boots, a classic choice that conjures both the rakish style of classic leading men like Steve McQueen and the runways of Anthony Vacarello’s Saint Laurent. And of course, with Mescal in the mix, the Connell chain had to make an appearance—Bomer, Scott and Mescal all wore silver necklaces over their casual fits.

The only thing that could potentially top this? An Internet Boyfriend roundtable that somehow ropes in Saltburn’s Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi—a Babygirl Infinity War, if you will. It’s only November, after all, and there’s still a few months of the awards season still to come. Imagine all the Thom Browne sweaters and silver necklaces in that group photo.

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