What’s that sound you hear? That’s the sound of a million ovaries exploding (and whatever the male equivalent of ovaries exploding is), after watching Jake Gyllenhaal act as an adorable, poetry-reciting dad in Calvin Klein’s new ad for the fragrance, Eternity. In a simple white T-shirt, jeans, and a beard that would make Nick Offerman proud, Gyllenhaal recites E.E. Cummings’ classic love poem, “I Carry Your Heart With Me,” alongside model Liya Kebede to their gorgeous on-screen daughter, played by four-year-old Leila. The whole thing is sickeningly sweet and simple and beautiful it will make you want to throw up but also you’ll probably watch it four or five times in a row regardless.
The thing is, Gyllenhaal is only extremely attractive until Kedebe comes on screen. Her piercing eyes, perfectly tousled hair and incredible smile make you siren-like forget that any other beauty exists in the world but her. Gyllenhaal and his beard look like Mr. Potato Head in comparison. But looks aside, it is refreshing to see a multiracial family on TV and see such simple and ordinary representations of love. A weekend morning joking around with Mom and Dad. Dad using his daughter’s foot for a phone, and lifting her up into the air Superman-style. And while it’s sad that seeing a multiracial family—or LGBTQ family, for that matter—on TV these days still feels refreshing, or like an unexpected treat, this ad is surprisingly profound in a number of ways. Seeing a family on TV is the most ordinary thing in the world. But the mom’s not making breakfast while the dad kisses her and the kid goodbye before heading to work. There are no shots of wedding rings to make sure you know that everything’s okay because mommy and daddy are married and therefore allowed to have a kid. Gyllenhaal and Kedebe aren’t even shot together—for all we know, they’re co-parenting. And that’s just the point: We don’t know! And we don’t need to know, or to care.
The 1950s nuclear family is no longer the only acceptable way of being. And it’s taken a long time for it to be okay to show different family arrangements or expressions of love on TV and other media, and we’re still not really there yet. We still don’t see an ad like this and not think about how it’s showing something other than a same-race married couple. It’ll likely be another decade at least until it’s so normal that things like this don’t even register. But for now, any mainstream acknowledgment that there are multiple ways to love and to be, and all of them are valid, is a welcome indicator that we’re moving in the right direction. Slowly, but surely.
Check out the full ad below.