We women are plain crackers about gossip
Last updated at 14:26, Friday, 06 August 2010
It didn’t take long. An hour on the phone for headlines and an evening, over supper, for filling in finer details. Corporate types would call it networking. Most men consider it necessary intelligence sharing – though they only talk football.
We call it catching up. Gossip, for short. “I’m back. What’s the crack?”
Big question that, from someone who has been away all summer. But most women can take crack challenges pretty much in their stride – even without keeping notes. We’re good that way.
We have a special compartment in our brains for crack. It sits in front of household budgets, to the left of things to worry about at work, underneath nasty people to be wary of and just behind shopping list essentials.
“Bleach for the toilets, moisturiser and bananas. Sorry, wrong compartment. I’ll rewind.”
It’s a proven fact that women are best at gathering, storing and analysing information; forming brilliant conclusions and making decisions on the strength of informed intuition.
Then men claim all the credit by hearing us out (making notes) and insisting they thought of it first. Infuriating but you get used to it after 30 years or so.
“Try again. It rained cats and dogs at the Cumberland Show and people asked where you were. There was a plague of seagulls and a furore in the Tory Rory glory story – but they kind of blew over.
“Coalition cuts are beginning to draw blood and I reckon we’re both going to have to learn how to make panhaggerty and darn again before the money runs out.
“My Sky+ box blew up, University woes are still woeful, the sun shone in June but hasn’t much since, we’re getting a Sainsbury’s after all, someone set fire to Gelt Woods, Brampton’s cobbles have gone all wobbly – watch your heels – when are we going shopping?”
Important things, see? They slip from a woman’s lips, easy as you like, no matter how long the absence of meaningful communication.
Juicy incidentals – unlikely romances, surprising divorces, rumours of affairs and shameful extra-maritals – are mentally stored in red italics for more detailed discussion with a third glass of Sauvignon tongue loosener. It was ever thus... for women.
“And how she’s doing with the divorce?”
“Absolutely fine. I told her to book a holiday, have a party on a beach and forget all about him – worked for me. She’s smiling again and buying euros.”
According to a national report out this week, half the country is busy snooping and gathering local info for social sharing with interested parties – the nosey female half, obviously.
And that’s a good thing, says the UK Neighbourhood Watch Trust. Keeping an eye and an ear out for who’s up to what; where, when and why; how they try to keep their secrets – those are the skills that build neighbourly trust, keep curtains twitching, burglars at bay... and gossips in business.
Some reckon we women are biologically – or is it genetically? – programmed to exchange useful, entertaining, even mouthwatering information with frequent regularity and earnest enthusiasm. I wouldn’t argue with that.
Not that we do so with any malice. There’s nothing vindictive about keeping abreast of local goings-on. It’s just crack – which, I guess, means we girls must all be crackers.
Urges to catch up on summer gossip are sure signs of imminent season change. Signals that we’ve already hit what my mother calls back-endish days are all here.
Flaming June was our high summer, July our drought driven wash-out. August counts down to autumn’s failing light, turning leaves, tights, boots and a visit from the central heating service engineer.
But that’s OK. There’s much to recommend back-end – if you’ll pardon the expression.
For womenfolk everywhere it heralds a glorious catch-up period of breathless huddles over tasty nuggets of priceless secrets – kept faithfully until passed on to another promising total confidence.
“You’re kidding! She didn’t! Again? After the last time?”
Delicious gossip will sustain us through our long season of chatter in shops and offices, butcher’s queues and markets, around pub tables and kitchen tables, in hairdressers’ chairs, on sitting room sofas.
It’s a season extending up to and well beyond Christmas – in fact right until next flaming June, when summer’s absences will start the cycle all over again in readiness for the “I’m back; what’s the crack?” call.
You guys will never get it. You’re not programmed to understand. Only we know the deep delights of the original information technology – two gossiping women barely pausing for breath.
We’re crackers... and we love it.
First published at 14:12, Friday, 06 August 2010
Published by http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk