I Want What They Have: Ben, Jen, and Dunkin'

I Want What They Have: Ben, Jen, and Dunkin’


Love is a many-splendored thing, especially when you’re gawking at it from the outside. In this column, we’ll be examining the celebrity couples that give us hope for our own romantic futures and trying to learn what we can from their well-documented bonds.

We’ve spoken before about the ongoing rom-com that is the relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Affleck (née Lopez), detailing the beauty of their bond as it’s stretched across decades (with breathers in between) and praising the newlywed couple’s signature style. Enough of that; today, we will be enrolling in Dunkin’ Donuts Appreciation 101.

If you’re not from the East Coast (or, specifically, Massachusetts), it’s going to be hard for me to explain to you the regional pride that Bostonians take in Dunkin’ Donuts—or, as it’s regionally known, Dunkies. I myself do not qualify as a Masshole, but having spent every winter holiday outside of Boston with my extended family, I at least feel qualified to try to do some cross-coastal analysis. If you’re from L.A., Dunkin’ is to them as In-N-Out is to you; if you’re from Texas, Dunkin’ would be your Whataburger; if you hail from Rochester, New York, think of Dunkin’ as your garbage plate. (Yes, that’s a real thing.)

I’m always a little skeptical of celebrity relationships—too many years of covering celebrity news has turned me into a sometime cynic—but when I saw the recent photos of Ben and Jen grabbing donuts and coffee this week from a Dunkin’ in Santa Monica, surrounded by their newly blended family, I was moved (semi-against my will).

It’s not my fault, okay? We’ve seen so many borderline-tragic visions of Ben over the years (remember the back tattoo?) that to witness his wife supporting, and wholly engaging in, his Dunkin’ habit feels like no less than a sacrament. He was wearing a “Believe in Boston” T-shirt, for God’s sake! It doesn’t get more Ben than that, and I’m delighted that J.Lo doesn’t seem to feel the need to pry the actor’s donuts out of his hands and replace them with Erewhon smoothies. Let the man enjoy an iced coffee and a Boston cream, universe!

I do my best to cling to my aforementioned sense of cynicism, but I’m only human. When I see Ben Affleck holding his giant Dunkin’ coffee aloft in one hand and wrapping the other around J.Lo’s waist to bring her in for a kiss, I truly believe that I am in the presence of love. Dunkin’ is no longer an emblem of Ben’s postdivorce ennui; from this day forward, let the word ring out in Dunkin’ franchises big and small that Ben and Jen are back, baby, and they’re more than ready to split a Coolatta. Starting now, Dunkin’ is the official lingua franca of l’amour, and I can’t wait for Ben to commission another bejeweled coffee cup for Jen—this one filled to the brim with properly Bostonian iced brew—to commemorate their first anniversary.

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