This week, as usual, I went along to my personal training session.
I am not a fan of exercise in general, but as I am getting older have realised that I am not immortal. And with the streets filled with women walking around in fancy exercise gear, looking lithe and youthful, I figured that I should give this exercise business a go.
Plus, it would mean that I am not lying to any medical folk if they ask that question: “Do you do regular exercise?”
There are three of us in the group. To qualify you had to be unfit, a little squishy and agreeable to listen to the most heinous and disgusting language that can come out of a lady’s mouth. A mouth that belongs to me, as I contort my body into unthinkable acts and do the move X15 times.
But this column today is not about exercise. Because reading about exercise is boring. It’s about what happens in between the moments of torture.
I found myself having a bit of a gossip at training this week, and it felt a little “bleugh”.
I don’t want to be known as a gossip and I should have kept my big mouth shut. You know, you have certain people in your lives that you would trust with all your heart. Right? I used to be, well… not one of those.
My name is Mrs. Woog and I am a reformed gossip.
In my 20s you could not tell me a thing, unless you wanted it spread around like a wildfire. But with wisdom and age (and a few terrible confrontations), I have managed to rein in my habit to discuss the comings and goings of others. This is quite difficult to do in the digital age, where you are celebrated for being the first with the news.
So where did this behaviour all begin?
For those with a Christian leaning, you would know. It all started with Adam and Eve. That asshole, gossipy snake started slagging God off to Eve, who naively believed him. And you know the rest. That is the first documented example of gossip.
Walter Winchell began to pen a column on the 1930s called On Broadway, in which he detailed private tidbits of celebrities, politicians and people of wealth. The column was filled with gossip and slander, and Winchell quickly became New York’s most feared journalist.
But there is nothing like the brutality and speed of modern gossip. Thank you, Internet!
Meet Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr. (otherwise known as Perez Hilton). Hilton began a blog, documenting his life before he decided his life was quite dull. So he started documenting the lives of celebrities. And nothing was off limits as he outed closeted actors and aired celebrity sex-tapes and pointed the finger at all and sundry. With the general public having an obsession with everything “celebrity”, his site grew to the point that he was enjoying eight million page views a day.
There is a big difference between having a goss with your mate over a coffee, and deliberately causing pain to someone. Crossing the line from fun to damaging can only be done with intent.
Ah, the peddlers of misery we shall call them. Whether it be an attack on a celebrity’s weight or a forensic outline of Sydney’s celebrity drug scene, it is lapped up by an ever eager public, keen to join in the deluge of judgment.
I often think that the life of a gossip columnist must be a miserable one. You would feel really lonely, I imagine.
I recently stood next to a very well-known gossip columnist, who went on to bitch about nearly every single person in the room. Labels like “as dumb as a box of hair” and “social climbing talent void” were dropped into conversation, as if the weather was being discussed. It was quite remarkable, not to mention unnerving.
Am I too much of a precious petal? Or was Oscar Wilde right when he said, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about…”
The truth is…
Catherine the Great did not have sexual relations with a horse, causing her death. She died of a stroke.
Jamie Lee Curtis is not a hermaphrodite. She is a lady.
Jennifer Aniston is not pregnant. I repeat. Jennifer Aniston is not pregnant.
Walt Disney has not been cryogenically frozen, waiting to return to life when science catches up. He was cremated.
And despite going to the trainer twice a week, I still cannot run between two lampposts.
Are you partial to a bit of goss? Do you read it?
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*About Mrs Woog: “I can be found in the laundry, folding laundry, sorting laundry and dropping off the dry cleaning. I am mum to two boys, boss of my husband and master of a cat and two guinea pigs. Come nightfall, I watch TV while tweeting which drives Mr Woog insane. I like to read cookbooks and eat out. During my waking hours I ferry kids around in the Mazda while drinking takeaway coffees and listening to talkback. I think about going to the gym every day. I used to work in the publishing industry before I realised it was nothing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld made out like it was. Now I write this blog. And I never get writer’s block. It is a gift I have.” You can follow me on Twitter @Woogsworld.