WORTH REPEATING: Being Justin Timberlake


ESQUIRE: Justin Timberlake and I are standing in our underwear in his hotel suite. He’s wearing white boxers and a wifebeater. I’m wearing plaid boxers and back hair. We met maybe two minutes ago.

“I can’t believe how quickly you got my pants off,” I say.

“It’s a gift,” he says.

Timberlake’s open suitcase sits next to the window in the bedroom. He is a fastidious packer. In the other room, a buffet has been laid out, with platters of fruit, big cookies, and cans of pop. He’s eaten only cookies, and yet he has a very flat stomach. Broad, smooth shoulders. A couple of tattoos, including a big cross on his upper left arm. A low forehead. Really straight teeth.

He can also do this thing with his eyes that makes them seem more intense, as if he’s squeezing the light into them. Timberlake’s eyes look like that now, he’s so excited. He’s sparked up like a kid, and his spark is infectious. He could propose anything in the world, and I would do it. I’m already not wearing pants. I must obey Justin Timberlake.

“Dude, this is going to be awesome,” he says. “Let’s do Bert and Ernie. I think it’ll make for better bonding.”

There are four costumes hanging in his bedroom closet. They are very sketchy. Apparently, his assistant bought them, maybe in an alley somewhere, out the back of a cube van. There is Cookie Monster, a strung-out-looking Elmo, and Bert and Ernie. If the police stormed in right now, we’d have a lot of explaining to do, except that we’re in San Diego. And the 2011 edition of Comic-Con is happening across the street.

“You’re Bert, okay?” Timberlake says. “Is that cool?”

“Sure,” I hear myself say. “Totally cool.” Deep down, I must have always wanted to dress up like Bert with Justin Timberlake in San Diego. It’s weird that it’s finally happening. MORE