Dear Dan,

I love to hear a piece of juicy gossip as much as the next girl. However, also like the next girl, I hate when gossip is being spread about me!

I have a family member with whom I feel thinks everything is just news to be passed along to other relatives and friends. I really don’t appreciate the details of my life, whether sordid or boring, being published abroad without my approval.

On the other hand, when this relative has gossip about others I’m all ears.

Yes, Dan of the Day, I’m aware that I am being hypocritical in this matter. I want to hear the latest gossip from this relative without her turning around and gossiping about me. If I say something to her about her gossiping ways she may stop filling me in on the details from the lives of others! So my question for you is: How can I have my cake and eat it too?

Mrs. Somebody
The Den

Dear Mrs. Somebody,

Thanks for the novel. I would submit it to a publicist, but it’s missing a few elements of plot that are typically necessary to keep people from getting so bored they light the book on fire. Also, your character development is somewhat lacking.

Okay, so it’s not very nice of me to make fun of your question, but if I didn’t say mean things I wouldn’t have much to write. And I think we can all agree that the length of my advice articles is infinitely more important than something as insignificant as your self esteem.

So you want to have your cake and eat it too? All the methods I’m aware of involve regurgitation, invasive surgery, or complex quantum physics. The first two are not the most pleasant experiences. And with the quantum physics approach, you can both have your cake and eat it, but it can never be in both places at the same time, and you can never be sure where exactly it is at any given time. Usually you’re too confused to enjoy the end result.

On to gossip, then. The word “gossip” originally referred to the women, including the midwife, family members and neighbors, who would gather in a home to assist a woman in childbirth. These gatherings were so chatty that the word eventually came to have its present meaning. Apparently the mortal danger and extreme pain of birthing were much less interesting than Farmer John’s wandering eye. No wonder the infant mortality rate used to be so high. Moral of the story: When you gossip, you’re neglecting babies.

So how can you stop gossiping? After conducting extensive research on the subject (i.e. skimming over a Wikipedia article), I found this Soviet propaganda poster which nicely sums up everything you need to know about gossip:

Soviet poster of a stern woman wearing a red bandanna and holding her finger to her lips.

I think the poster speaks for itself.

In Russian.

Okay, I’ll sum up the key takeaways:

  1. Wear a red scarf on your head.
  2. Look really stern
  3. Press your finger to your lips
  4. Speak Russian and say things like, “He boatan!” but keep your finger on your lips and your mouth closed while doing this.

If the Soviets were right (and I think history clearly shows that the Soviets were always right), then following these simple steps should solve your gossip problem.

Bonus alternate solution: Get your gossip from somewhere else.

If you can’t talk with your Aunt Gertrude without giving her juicy tidbits about yourself, just don’t talk to her. Aunt Gerty can’t be trusted. (Which, coincidentally, would be a great name for a punk rock album.)

What you need are tabloids. These guys take lots of pictures, use lots of exclamation points in their writing! and don’t care one bit about you or your life. In other words, they’re pre-teen girls. And you don’t have to feel guilty, because the only people victimized by the industry are fabulously rich emotional wrecks – even the Soviets would approve of abusing them! So you can have your cake and eat it too, and you don’t even have to understand quantum physics.

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  • Yarnspinner

    So, when can we expect to see red anti-gossip head scarves available to purchase on the DotD market page? (It would go great with my DotD Revolution T-shirt.)

    • Dan of the Day

      It’s in development. *cough*cough* Really. *cough*