Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Dying art of toilet gossiping

I am queuing for the toilet in Shepherd’s Bush Empire with someone who could be a good friend. In the past year we have met twice, both times because a mutual northern friend has arranged nights out months in advance and demanded we make space in our work-clogged diaries. The queue is long. She is telling me some great gossip and asking for advice.

She is a scientist – working for the World Health Organisation and looking for a cure for polio in her spare time. Despite her intimidating amounts of brains and beauty, I enjoy nights out with her. Spending time with scientists makes a refreshing change from the majority of people I come into contact with – grey-faced media types who have fading vision and relationships, coffee breath and are constantly having to extend their overdrafts.

While they are hammering keyboards and looking for dirt, the science people I know are testing pigeon chunks for radiation, are trying to grow mice in hen eggs or are running tests on 40-year-old men whose heads are bigger than their bodies. Part of me wishes I was a scientist, swishing around in a long lab coat and turning on a Bunsen burner each day instead of a PC. If only I had stopped listening to Green Day tapes in the back of chemistry class with the boy from the canoe club and taken more notes.

So I might not be a scientist, but at least I get to hang out with them now and again. And I am sure I could meet them more and know them better if I did as I was told and joined Facebook.

So far I have avoided it, despite people telling me how great it is see photos of school bullies who have since turned fat and had ugly babies. But I have managed to resist the urge. To give in now would be like starting to smoke at 80.

But I do appreciate it is a good way to stay in touch with either very old, very distant or very new friends – the ones you can’t just send a text or email to or turn up on their doorstep randomly.

But, I figure, if I was signed up I would not be hearing this toilet gossip for the first time. And gossiping through cubicles and by sinks is what makes us women.

Plus I do not think I can risk spending any more time staring at a screen – no matter how ugly the babies staring back at me are.


  1. Oh, you should sign up. It's inevitable. Plus, then more people will find out about your funny blog. The girls who used to shove me into lockers are now my "friends"...never to be feared again. I wonder, do they really know who I am?

  2. I'm a scientist. That's only half a lie. I was going to be a scientist, did lots of sciencey things and then slipped and ended up managing lots of scientists instead of getting to play with drugs and stuff. It's like herding cats! In act when asked what I do I quite like to say I'm a sheep dog but with less job satisfaction! This is also half a lie, I like my job but I have a view of the bins and sheep dogs get great hill views in Scotland.