Justin Bieber is a very small human being. He’s 18, but he could easily pass for someone six years younger. His rep says he’s five feet nine, but he looks about four feet four, maybe one hundred pounds. I shake his hand, and it feels like there should be more hand there. I suddenly realize that I can’t box this guy. I’m ten inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier. I ought to sit with him and read him Babar. But soon it doesn’t matter, because Bieber says he forgot his boxing equipment.
“I didn’t want to get my ass kicked,” he says.
“But I was told your dad was an MMA fighter,” I say.
“Yeah, he was.”
“So you could beat my ass.”
“No, not really.”
And just like that, game over. No beatdown for either of us. No catharsis. There goes my last chance at making a man out of Bieber. I’m out of options. I’m stuck here with an 18-year-old, and we can’t drink, we can’t smoke weed, and we can’t leave the premises. We’re gonna have to talk.
We head into his studio, where Aldred greets Bieber and pumps him up for the evening by ripping the sleeves off of his T-shirt while he’s still wearing it. OUTTA MY WAY, SLEEVES. This is clearly not the first time they’ve performed this ritual. It’s Bieber’s patented entrance move, his talcum powder tossed in the air. Being Justin Bieber means having an endless number of T-shirts to destroy.
You. Are. Welcome.