Attn: People of Earth
For every decade, there is one celebrity couple that embodies the era's zeitgeist. The 1960s had John Lennon and Yoko Ono, representing the revolutionary times and the thin line between art and crap. The 1980s had Charles and Diana, feeding the era's obsession with extravagance and unattractive people in outrageous clothing.
The 1990s brought Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, defining the backlash to '80s excess and the accompanying darker side. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie took the 2000s, a decade as infatuated with celebrity culture as saving the world. (You'll notice I skipped the 1970s, a decade in which people were too busy with disco and key parties to stay in couplings.)
Rob and K-Stew should be the next ones to join that list. Why? Because they're the opposite of the decade before. The '60s focused on building culture while the '70s tore it down with cocaine and polyester. The '80s were over the top, and so the '90s were minimalist with grunge music and indie film. The 2000s loved Paris Hilton and Perez Hilton, and so the 2010s will inevitably welcome more introverted and innocent icons.
All you have to do is compare how the tabloids frame stories about the "Twilight" stars. Most are based on photos of them kissing. Just kissing. Articles discuss what stage Pattinson and Stewart are in in the courting process, while rumors of loud hotel sex and infidelity follow Brad and Angelina. Photos of "Robsten" swimming are about as risque as things get. If anything negative is published, it's usually about why K-Stew has to brood so much.
People like the fact these young actors seem more Edward and Bella than Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Sure, both Pattinson and Stewart are already trying to break away from being typecast. He publicly smokes and played a gay Salvador Dali in "Little Ashes." Away from "Twilight," she takes indie roles as lesbian rockers and teen prostitutes. Yet the public continues to place a sort of classic romanticism on their careers and relationship.
Pattinson and Stewart stand apart from contemporaries trying to snatch the couple title. They seem well-behaved and are extremely private, which makes them more intriguing. When Katy Perry had a falling out with "Sesame Street," her husband Russell Brand immediately began leaving tweets on her Twitter page. Was he concerned we'd forget him in the wake of Elmo? You won’t catch Pat and Stew tweeting each other.
Even the recent engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton feels less like a classic fairytale than Robert and Kristen's story. So for now we'll keep our love of royalty based in Hollywood.
Pattinson and Stewart are obviously still young and will certainly grow and change between now and 2020. But right now they define the zeitgeist, and people will hold their coupling as the standard -- barring, you know, rumors of loud hotel sex and infidelity.