Love, Humor

Here’s what they REALLY mean when they’re gossiping about you

Maybe what they were just giving me some love, but got so overwhelmed with emotion, they just couldn’t speak anymore. I understand. I am pretty great.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As an Indian Muslim American, I have had the luxury of being subjected to three lovely cultural systems of he said/she said. As a woman, I’ve learned most gossip targets us: what we wear, how we behave, who we are behaving with. It is often used to make us feel bad about ourselves in hopes that we may change our socially threatening behavior.

Gossip is often used to make women feel bad about their non-normative behavior. Click To Tweet

But here’s the thing—when I hear someone was “saying something” about me, I always like to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they just didn’t have time to finish their sentence. Maybe what they were really trying to do was just give me some love, but they got so overwhelmed with emotion, they just couldn’t speak anymore. I understand. I am pretty great. Maybe all gossip is is just a bunch of unfinished compliments, the speaker choking on admiration for the person they are talking about.

Gossip is just a bunch of unfinished compliments. Click To Tweet

Here is my tribute to actual things people have said about me over the years coupled with what I’m sure they would have liked to say had they had time enough to finish their thought aloud. (And please don’t miss the remarkable Shakesperean irony some of the speakers have unwittingly mastered.)

1. “How did you end up dating her? You know, she has a history. ..

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…of being a badass.”

2. “Don’t talk to her. She’s too stuck up…

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…on trying to encourage compassion and understanding between diverse cultural groups so that we can all have a more harmonious world. You’d only be interrupting her amazing vision!”

3. “She has no boundaries. . .

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…with her courage. She’s like a freaking superhuman power machine of bravery.”

4. “Be careful of her…

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…because her uplifting spirit is like a contagious sparkling rainbow of happiness.”

5. “She’s too smart for her own good…

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…she needs to share her intelligence! It should be applied to help the good of all!”

6. “Ohmygod, she keeps talking to him. She doesn’t know when to stop…

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…encouraging healthy discussions about oppressive race and class systems. What a hero.”

7. “She didn’t even say ‘Hi.’ She thinks so highly of herself…

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…but who wouldn’t? I don’t blame her. She’s worked so hard on achieving what she has and has struggled for what she believes in. A “Hi’ is too mundane for the likes of her. I wish I could be more like her.”

8. “Why isn’t she getting married? I mean, I think she should be married by now…

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…because she really needs to have a million babies so that the world can have a million more versions of her. I’M SO SAD THERE’S JUST ONE OF HER.”

9. “She smiles too much when she talks…

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…but it’s probably because she has such beautiful white teeth. I wonder if her secret is TridentWhite?”

10. “She’s that kind of girl…

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…you know, the kind who writes really amazing lists on the internet that I just can’t stop reading. I wish she would write hundreds and hundreds of them.”

(Okay this one may not have happened…yet.)

Tasneem Mandviwala

Tasneem Mandviwala

Tasneem Mandviwala is an Editorial Fellow for The Tempest. She is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago studying the identity trajectories of Muslim American girls and women, has a background in psychology, English literature, and art history. She uses these fields to enhance not only her research but also her visual art, the latter which she pursues simultaneously on the side as inspiration allows.

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