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Friday, November 02, 2007

Life's a...

This Life column from Day and Night in today's Irish Independent

Have you caught a glimpse of the new show Gossip Girl on the interwebby thing? It's from the same guy who brought us The OC, and just like that show, it propagates an insanely aspirational lifestyle, is populated by gorgeous 30-year-olds playing teenagers in a glamorous setting (New York in this case), and it's an unashamedly addictive time thief (it even dared interrupt the writing of this very column at various points).

Yes, I have a feeling in my waters that Gossip Girl is going to be huge when it hits the increasingly irrelevant television box, mainly because it positively glorifies and revels in mankind's number one pastime: bitching.

And I mean 'mankind' literally, because all you ladies out there might not be aware that men are the biggest bitches of all. And despite what movies and TV shows would try have us believe, being a catty sniper is not just the sole reserve of gay men.

Oh yes ladies, your rugged and burly boyfriend that thinks nothing of knocking the shins off some lad in a soccer match in a mucky field on a cold Sunday morning before downing pints of Harp in the local while watching Setanta Sports likes nothing more than joining his pals to skewer everything and, more importantly, everyone around them (poor Stan is the current fave). I've been party to such bitchfests with men of every background, orientation and belief. If I told you everything, you gals would all be reaching for the smelling salts.

Have you ever stopped for a second to consider how much of your social interaction involves bitching about people, even friends of yours? We all do it, and I defy anyone who says they don't to look me in the eye and hold visual contact while they deny it (then I'll bitch about them for being such good liars).

There are occasions when my friends and I go out, huddle in a corner of a pub and just let rip on whoever we have a beef with at that particular moment in time – man, woman, child, Britney. On such occasions I like to christen our bitching corner 'Withering Heights', and woe betide anyone that crosses our paths whilst we reside there. Our regular haunt has a direct route from the front door to the backbar, and making that trek is like an obstacle course replete with eye-throws, whispers and hand-over-mouth twittering.

But can bitching be all that bad when it's often so healthy and cathartic? If you were to just bottle up all the things that annoy you about your friends, your job and so many other categories, your head would end up exploding like something from David Cronenberg's movie Scanners.

Which is all very well as long as you remember that there's a time and a place. For mortifying example, I have learned from painful experience that you should never, ever start flapping your lip whileon any kind of public transport. I was caught rotten one day on a buswhile in college many moons ago, where I animatedly held forth to a friend for several minutes on everything that was wrong with a tutor I had for English. Of course, he was right behind me.

Needless to saythat was an uncomfortable semester for all concerned, but ever since, I look over my shoulder every time before I even open my mouth to say anything, anywhere about anything or anyone.

Alas, this all ultimately means you're going to be the bitchee from time to time. But there's no need to become a total paranoid android because the laws of this universe dictate you won't be the bitchee for long. That's life baby, and we all know what life is, don't we?

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