Did your mother ever tell you it wasn't nice to gossip about people? Mine did. A lot. She used to tell me that it wasn't nice to talk about people behind their backs. She said it was disrespectful, especially if what we were saying about them were not even necessarily true. Perhaps not a lie, but more like "speculation" or "assumptions".
The reason for that little talking-to we had was because she overheard me on the phone with my friend 'R', talking about how 'A' and 'C' left together from a party we all went to the night before, and we met them again in the morning at McDonald's wearing the same clothes they were in. Ohhh... that was sweet gossip material indeed.
Fast forward a 'few' years later - well ok, maybe not really a few.. more like fifteen.. - guess what? I'm still gossiping. Or rather, looking forward to gossip.
Here's how gossip surrounds my life: I get up and go to work in the morning, and I arrive at work at 08.30 (if my HR is reading this, then yes, I get there at 08.30. If she's not reading this, then actually, I arrive at 09.00. Sometimes 09.15. Oh all right, fine, I admit it - sometimes it's 09.30!) and before I start turning on my computer and checking my emails for oh-so-important emails from people, I sit back in my chair with my mug of coffee and wait for exactly 2 minutes. 2 minutes later, on the dot, my two colleagues come up to me with gossip for the day. "Did you hear what happened to 'K' from accounting? Her boyfriend totally dumped her for a model!" or "OMG, 'L' just had a fight with 'C' and cried in the ladies room for two hours!" -- you get the picture, right?
Then, throughout the day, I'd receive numerous phone calls, asking about certain work related things, but then ending up with at least one or two more gossip topics. By the end of the day when I am ready to go home but not quite eager to get stuck in traffic, I open up perezhilton.com to check out the latest celeb gossip. Oh, and I'm signed up for the newsletters too.
On weekends, my husband and I love going to bookstores, where the kids would get 1 book each that they like, he'd get some magazines and books, and I would grab the latest People magazine along with some fiction novels (because I can't be bothered reading books that don't have conversations in them).
And it's not just me! Every single time I am at the bookstore, I hover around the magazine rack along with hundreds of other women, all practically pushing and shoving trying to grab hold of OK or Life & Style or Star or whatever gossip magazine is available. And believe me, the ones that sell the most are the one with headlines like, "Co-star Love Triangle" or "She left him" or "She Kicked Him Out". It's always the relationship gossips that sell best.
What is our fascination with gossip? Why is there always that need to know someone else's business and then re-tell it to someone else? Why is it that we enjoy it so much that we dedicate valueable time in our lives that we can never get back, just to talk about things that might not even be true? Even when you know for sure it's not true, there is this urge to read or talk about it anyway!
Maybe it's because some of us live mundane and uneventful lives. We live monotonously and so we feel the need to live vicarously through others. Maybe it's because it's the only way we can talk to other people constantly. Like, if we didn't have gossip, our conversations over lunch or dinner with friends would probably only be enough to last us through appetizers. What else would we talk about during the main course? Or maybe, just maybe, it's because we actually care about the people we are talking about. Maybe. Highly unlikely, but well, maybe.
For those of you that feel bad for constantly being obsessed with gossip, fear not, you are not alone. There is a whole bunch of people out there (and here, e.g. yours truly) that cannot for the life of them, live with out gossip. I, for one, have already made it a point to tell my mother that if she is expecting me to stop gossiping (or hearing it, or looking for it) - it's never going to happen in this lifetime. It's just part of who I am.
I do constantly wonder why I do it though. Honestly. Don't you?