Let's Raise a Toast to Joaquin Phoenix and His 19-Year-Old Girlfriend

Teens! Some of us hate them. Some of us love them. Some of us make love to them, because we are their co-counselors at Camp Lackawanna for Troubled Youths, celebrating a hard-won color war victory by the light of the curfew break moon. Or because we are the 39-year-old actor Joaquin Phoenix.

Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly dating a teen. Specifically: a nine-teen. A 19-year-old from Arizona named Allie Teilz. She's a DJ! (Aren't we all?)

On Wednesday, the Daily Mail published these photographs of Phoenix and Teilz strolling through Rome with their fingers entwined like earbud cords in a coat pocket of amore—an uncomfortable way to walk, to be sure, but far from the least comfortable thing about this legal relationship between consenting adults.

E!'s summary of the Daily Mail account (which, in addition to photographs, included biographical details about Teilz adapted from an August interview with Bullett magazine), concluded with this hilarious smattering of details that tiptoe around the particular of Phoenix and Teilz's 20-year age difference like a mom reluctantly writing the world's most pained Christmas brag letter:

Teilz also admits to being a huge fan of R. Kelly and said she'd like to be "his bitch."

No word how she met the Walk the Linestar or whether she appreciated his "retirement" from acting and brief foray into hip-hop with his 2010 mockumentary I'm Still Here.

But if one thing's for certain, they both share a passion for music.

(Well! More than one thing's for certain. Another thing for certain is that Allie Teilz is 19 and Joaquin Phoenix is 39.)

This stumbling tap dance raises an important issue. If Phoenix and Teilz are to be together for the long haul ("long" being a relative term—for her: 61 minutes; for him: 9,000 years), all of us are going to have to become a lot more comfortable celebrating their beautiful love.

To that end, we have compiled a brief guide designed to help awkward friends, family members, and mystified catering staff deliver the perfect toast—accommodating but never directly addressing the 20-year gap—at the couple's eventual, inevitable commitment ceremony.

  • Write out your remarks before delivering them. (This is good advice in general.)
  • Don't ask the DJ to turn down the music before you start talking, especially if the DJ is a teen. This is the most disrespectful request you can make of a DJ or a teen.
  • Base your funny observations on details about Joaquin and Allie's lives and identities that are irrelevant to their age. For instance: "Joaquin's last name is Phoenix and Allie is from Arizona." "Joaquin and Allie both love to wear sneakers, for style and comfort." "Joaquin is 5'8" and, because Allie's spinal column has not yet been ravaged by the osteoporosis that affects so many women later in life, she looks to be about that height." (That one surprised us all by turning out to be age-relevant at the end. That's why it's good you're writing out your toast beforehand.)
  • Do not refer to the couple as one another's "best friends." Lots of people are fond of describing one of their parents as "my best friend." Don't invite the comparison.
  • In fact, don't refer to "family," at all, as this conjures images of parents and children. Speak as though all humans sprang from the earth fully sexually mature.
  • Do not assume knowledge of Ghostbusters II, as it was released in theaters in 1989, five years before Allie was born.
  • Make frequent references to "the music of Selena" but do not specify a particular Selena.
  • Don't talk about boring stuff like taxes and acid reflux; Allie's teen friends will hate that.
  • "[Something something something] Enron,"—NO.
  • Don't look at your watch, as it is an indication of nervousness and will remind people of the abstract concept of "time."
  • Do not get into a debate about who was best class on Degrassi because everyone Joaquin Phoenix remembers from Degrassi is dead now, probably.
  • Do not make a "big scene" if all of Joaquin's teeth suddenly fall out while you are talking.
  • Do not refer to Allie as "a great girl." Call her "a great adult woman."
  • Do not refer to Joaquin as "a man." Call him "a teeny tiny baby boy."
  • Do not refer to Allie as "a great gal." It will sound like you're from the '20s and you don't want to get Joaquin started on remembering the '20s.
  • No spoilers of R-rated Joaquin Phoenix movies released before 2011, for obvious reasons.
  • Make sure Allie is toasting with sparkling grape juice because she is not old enough to drink legally in the United States of America.

[Images via Getty]