Fans Post Fawn Over Imagined Relationship

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  • People can’t get enough of the friendship between Dutch MPs Rob Jetten and Jesse Klaver.
  • They are collectively known as “Resse” on TikTok, where fans imagine they are in love.
  • Despite just being friends, Jetten and Klaver have said they enjoyed going viral.

TikTok users are obsessed with the friendship between two Dutch politicians — and now, people are even writing fan fiction imagining a romantic relationship between the two that the pair have firmly denied.

MPs Rob Jetten, of the Democrats 66 party, and Jesse Klaver, leader of the GroenLinks party, are now known to fans by the portmanteau “Resse.” On TikTok, there are fan edits which combine all of Jetten and Klaver’s TV appearances. The hashtag #Resse has videos with over 45 million views in total. In one, which has 3 million views, posted by the account @ressepeasants, the video plays to the sound of the song “Never Enough” from the movie “The Greatest Showman,” a song usually used on the app to depict love or awe.

There are 72 stories under the category “Resse” on the fanfiction platform Wattpad, a community site for amateur writers, including chapters of e-books with titles such as “Inseparable,” “My Colleague,” and “The Heart of Politics.” In most of them, Jetten and Klaver meet at work and try to resist their feelings for one another, but ultimately fall in love.

It’s common for readers of fictional works to write stories that go beyond what’s in the original books or movies, such as the “Harry Potter” series. Fans of real-world bands, musicians, and even YouTubers have also been known to get creative about what the lives of their favorite stars could be. But there aren’t many cases of this happening with politicians.

Psychologists say affectionate, platonic relationships between men may fascinate viewers

Psychologist Avigail Lev, who specializes in interpersonal relationships, told Insider that people may be fascinated by this friendship because Klaver, who is a straight man, displays an “affectionate and respectful bromance” with Jetten, who is gay.

“During this time, with the ‘me too’ movement, Trumpism, and gender tensions, people feel touched when men in a position of power behave affectionately towards each other,” she said.

Psychotherapist Madalaine Weiss, who specializes in helping people find workplace and life fulfillment, told Insider a parasocial relationship — in which fans of celebrities form the illusion of a face to face relationship — is an “opportunity for people to practice seeing themselves in the kind of relationship they dream about.”

“The stakes are low, as people are less likely to get rejected than if they reached out to a real person in the real world,” Weiss said.

‘Resse’ reminds younger fans of a popular fanfiction created about One Direction

The owner of the TikTok account @ressepeasants, which has 41,700 followers, whose first name is Eve but asked to withhold her surname in case it interfered with her own potential future in politics, told Insider that she believed the idea of “Resse” was born about six months ago. She says it all started with one video showing them looking at each other with a “kind of love” in their eyes, she said, which promptly spread internationally. Eve is from Canada and isn’t sure how she ended up on Dutch TikTok, but she said she loved that politics didn’t come between the Jetten and Klaver’s friendship.

“Even though Rob and Jesse are not from the same party, there’s still this really good friendship going on,” she said. “By documenting their friendship, I thought it would be good way for other people that are not from the Netherlands to learn a bit more about politics.”

A fan who wished to remain anonymous and posts TikToks and Instagram photos under the name @dropjetten told Insider they grew up in the time of “Larry Stylinson” — a popular community of One Direction fans who used to write fanfiction about Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson having a secret relationship.

“This Resse ship reminds them of what Larry once was,” they said.

The fandom is navigating what content could cross the line

Jetten commented on people “shipping” his relationship with Klaver back in April (shipping is a term used when fans want two public figures to be in a relationship). He shared TikToks made by the account @papajetten on his Instagram story.

Jetten also posted a photo of him and Klaver and said there was no truth to the romance rumors.

“Sorry to disappoint all my new fans, but Jesse and I are just really good colleagues,” he wrote with a winking emoji. He added that both he and Klaver enjoyed the TikToks, and going viral was a “whole new experience.”

“I will be sitting on the sofa with my boyfriend and Jesse will be doing the same with his wife and kids,” he said. “We both wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A post shared by Rob Jetten (@jettenrob)

Both Eve and the user @dropjetten told Insider that they appreciate how Klaver and Jetten are communicative with their fans, and even play up to “Resse” a little bit.

Eve said that while Klaver and Jetten seem to have “really good chemistry,” fans need to be mindful that they both have partners.

“As long as the Resse edits are done respectfully and not too extreme, I think we can all still enjoy their lovely friendship,” she said. “Resse is just an amazing thing that happened in people’s lives, and shouldn’t disappear because we took it too far!”

Jetten and Klaver did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.

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