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Taylor Swift’s folklore album contains 16 songs’ worth of lyrics to analyze and speculate about, especially because Swift informed fans that the music is a blend of her own life experience and stories she’s telling about other people and characters (some fictional). Of all the songs, fans have the most theories about “betty,” which Swift wrote with William Bowery—which fans believe may be a pseudonym for Swift’s boyfriend Joe Alwyn.The song is told from a male perspective about a teenage boy attempting to apologize to Betty, whom he cheated on with someone else. Some fans think the music may be hinting Swift could be bisexual; others think Betty may be the name of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds’ third daughter, since Swift uses the names of Lively and Reynolds’ other daughters, Inez and James, in the lyrics. (The couple has not revealed their new baby’s name publicly.) And others pointed out that there’s a teenage love triangle vignette in the album, something Swift confirmed in a YouTube comment. The three songs “betty,” “cardigan,” and “august” tell that story, each sung from different perspectives (the boy James, his girlfriend Betty, and the girl he cheated with) at different times. Read on for the song’s full lyrics, via Genius, and each Twitter theory.
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Verse 1Betty, I won’t make assumptionsAbout why you switched your homeroom butI think it’s ’cause of meBetty, one time I was riding on my skateboardWhen I passed your houseIt’s like I couldn’t breathePre-ChorusYou heard the rumors from InezYou can’t believe a word she saysMost times, but this time it was trueThe worst thing that I ever didWas what I did to youChorusBut if I just showed up at your partyWould you have me?Would you want me?Would you tell me to go fuck myself?Or lead me to the garden?In the garden would you trust meIf I told you it was just a summer thing?I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anythingBut I know I miss youVerse 2Betty, I know where it all went wrongYour favorite song was playingFrom the far side of the gymI was nowhere to be foundI hate the crowds, you know thatPlus, I saw you dance with himPre-ChorusYou heard the rumors from InezYou can’t believe a word she saysMost times, but this time it was trueThe worst thing that I ever didWas what I did to youChorusBut if I just showed up at your partyWould you have me?Would you want me?Would you tell me to go fuck myself?Or lead me to the garden?In the garden would you trust meIf I told you it was just a summer thing?I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anythingBut I know I miss youBridgeI was walking home on broken cobblestonesJust thinking of youWhen she pulled up likeA figment of my worst intentionsShe said “James, get in, let’s drive”Those days turned into nightsSlept next to her, butI dreamt of you all summer longVerse 3Betty, I’m here on your doorstepAnd I planned it out for weeks nowBut it’s finally sinkin’ inBetty, right now is the last timeI can dream about what happens whenYou see my face againPre-ChorusThe only thing I wanna doIs make it up to youSo I showed up at your partyYeah, I showed up at your partyChorusYeah, I showed up at your partyWill you have me?Will you love me?Will you kiss me on the porchIn front of all your stupid friends?If you kiss me, will it be just like I dreamed it?Will it patch your broken wings?I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anythingBut I know I miss youOutroStanding in your cardiganKissin’ in my car againStopped at a streetlightYou know I miss youThe Teenage Love Triangle TheoryThis one has official Swift backing. In her live chat on YouTube about the album, she revealed she planted a story in three of the tracks. She wrote, “There’s a collection of 3 songs I refer to as The Teenage Love Triangle. These 3 songs explore a love triangle from all 3 people’s perspectives at different times in their lives.”Fans note the parallels in the lyrics of “cardigan,” “betty,” and “august,” including their imagery.
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For example, “betty,” which would be James’ perspective, has the line “I was walking home on broken cobblestones / Just thinking of you.” Betty’s perspective track, “cardigan,” makes mention of cobblestones in the first two lines: “Vintage tee, brand new phone / High heels on cobblestones.” The “cardigan” lyric is from Betty’s perspective, “Chase two girls, lose the one / When you are young, they assume you know nothing / But I knew you” contrasts with the “betty” lyric from James’ perspective: “I’m only seventeen, I don’t know anything / But I know I miss you.”Swift teased this theory in an Instagram note about the album that discussed using her real-life experiences and fictional stories to make folklore. She seemed to call out “betty” specifically with the line “an [sic] seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning how to apologize.” Here, that note:It started with imagery. Visuals that popped into my mind and piqued my curiosity.Stars drawn around scars. A cardigan that still bears the scent of loss twenty years later. Battleships sinking into the ocean, down, down, down. The tree swing in the woods of my childhood. Hushed tones of “let’s run away” and never doing it. The sun drenched month of August, sipped away like a bottle of wine. A mirrored disco ball hovering above a dance floor. A whiskey bottle beckoning. Hands held through plastic. A single thread that, for better or worse, ties you to your fate.Pretty soon these images in my head grew faces or names and became characters. I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t. An exiled man walking the bluffs of a land that isn’t his own, wondering how it all went so terribly, terribly wrong. An seventeen-year-old standing on a porch, learning how to apologize. Lovestruck kids wandering up and down the evergreen High Line. My grandfather, Dean, landing at Guadalcanal in 1942. A misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out.A tale that becomes folklore is one that is passed down and whispered around. Sometimes even sung about. The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible. Speculation, over time, becomes fact. Myths, ghost stories, and fables. Fairytales and parables. Gossip and legend. Someone’s secrets written in the sky for all to behold.In isolation my imagination has run wild and this album is the result, a collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness. Picking up a pen was my way of escaping into fantasy, history, and memory. I’ve told these stories to the best of my ability with all the love, wonder, and whimsy they deserve.Now it’s up to you to pass them down.

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The Bisexuality TheoryThe Sun and Vulture were quick to point out the queer vibes of the song, and many fans on Twitter saw “betty” as Swift’s way of hinting she’s bisexual. Swift, in her album note, said that lines between fact and fiction are intentionally unclear. “The lines between fantasy and reality blur and the boundaries between truth and fiction become almost indiscernible,” she wrote. Fans promoting this theory believe the character of James may have roots in Swift’s own experiences or feelings.
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One fan even theorized the song could have to do with Karlie Kloss (for years, some fans have theorized the two had a secret romance; neither Kloss nor Swift have ever confirmed that.)
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This isn’t the first time Swift’s music sparked fan theories she may be bisexual. Fans noticed a wig she wore in the “You Need to Calm Down” video had the colors of the bisexual flag (and you know Swift loves an Easter egg). But then, Swift referred to herself as an ally of the LGBTQA+ community. She directly denied she would queer bait when responding to a Tumblr theory that she and Katy Perry would kiss in the video for “You Need to Calm Down.” (They ultimately hugged in a show of friendship.) “Guys. That is ABSOLUTELY false,” she wrote. “To be an ally is to understand the difference between advocating and baiting. Anyone trying to twist this positivity into something it isn’t needs to calm down. It costs zero dollars to not step on our gowns.” The Blake Lively Third Baby Name TheoryFans noticed that Swift named Lively and Reynolds’ two children, James and Inez, in the lyrics for “betty.” Lively and Reynolds secretly welcomed their third daughter last summer. They never announced her exact birth date or name. Reynolds shared a photo of their new baby in October 2019, although he blocked out her face.
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In December 2019, Reynolds appeared on the Today show, where its hosts tried to get his daughter’s name out of him. He did not share it. When Reynolds was asked how he came up with her name, he joked to the hosts, “We haven’t yet! We’re gonna be original, and all the letters in her name are silent. I want to give her something to push against in life.”Craig Melvin quipped back, “She’ll be known as anonymous.” Reynolds replied, “Yeah, exactly.”Lively and Reynolds are good friends of Swift’s. Their oldest daughter James’ vocals were sampled in “Gorgeous.” Swift, of course, knows the name, but whether Lively and Reynolds would give her permission to reveal it on her new album remains a mystery.Fans on Twitter were ecstatic about the possibility though:
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Some even used James being Lively’s daughter name to back the bisexual theory:
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Alyssa Bailey
News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).

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