Let’s begin with a hypothetical: Let’s say you’re a 20-year-old girl, maybe in your junior year of college, and you’ve been seeing this guy off-and-on for a couple months. Nothing serious. Or at least nothing super serious. It’s not that you don’t like him, it’s just that … well, he’s dumb. Pretty as the summer sunset, sure, but painfully, galactically dumb. “But hey! He’s fun! And it’s college! This is what being young is all about,” you tell yourself, among other things, as the two of you walk back to your place in the cold at 2:00 a.m. because he lost the keys to his apartment. Again.
Anyway, the following morning your mom calls while you’re in the shower and he decides to answer it, because, in his words, “I dunno. It was ringing.” Needless to say, they hit it off famously. By the time you get back to your room, still soaking wet and wearing only a towel, your mom has mistaken him for a serious boyfriend and has already invited him over for dinner with the family, and the two of them are discussing the finer points of the show Royal Pains. A debacle on every level. But there’s no going back at this point. Mom’s making lasagna. It’s been decided.
So. Dinner. Unbeknownst to you, your mom has also invited Nana and Grandpa and your two boozy, nosy, single aunts, and by the time you and your — again, very, very attractive — date show up (forty minutes late, because he was “hella sure” he was close to beating Assassin’s Creed), the aunts are already a bottle of wine deep. Each. You navigate the situation carefully, bouncing briefly from relative to relative, slowly repeating the carefully chosen, vague lines you worked on in the car (“Yeah, we’ve been together for a few months.” “Oh, we met at a friend’s place.” “Did you know he’s on the swim team?”), desperately trying to avoid your family figuring out that you’re more or less dating a sex doll. Somehow, it all seems to be going to plan. Even dinner, which you managed to get through with only one minor hiccup, when Nana asked him if he’d ever read Oliver Twist and he replied that he didn’t “really dig comic books.” But everyone laughed as though it was a joke, and he smiled at Nana and she just melted all over the floor, so disaster averted.
Then it happens. Your worst fear. Your dad, brother, and grandfather all spin off to look at Grandpa’s new Lincoln (“The seats move when I push this button! Look!”), and Nana and your mom pressure you into helping with the dishes, and… oh God. Oh no. He’s been left alone with your aunts, who have now switched to whiskey sours, and have taken it upon themselves to pour him one as big as the goddamn moon and lead him over to the living room for “a little chat.” You can’t hear exactly what they’re talking about from the kitchen, but you can hear them cackling, and you can see them touching his legs and shoulders. A lot. Too much. And he looks terrified.
The point of this hypothetical is to inform you that Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb — America’s boozy, nosy aunts — cornered Ryan Lochte after his appearance on Today proper, and proceeded to pepper him with questions about girls, and swimming, and whatever else boozy aunts ask gorgeous young dimwits about when they get them alone. Poor Ryan. It wasn’t quite as bad as the train wreck interview in Philly last week, but … just look at his face in that banner pic. He knows he never should have picked up the phone when you were in the shower. You tried explaining that to him, but this is how he has to learn.