"There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society -- outside of a kennel." -– The Women (1939)
The three kinds of people I dislike most are Gossips, Liars, and Hypocrites. Hmm. This episode doesn't bode well for some.
Sonja is a Ding Bat
The Women is one of my all-time favorite movies, you really should watch. It's based on a play by Clare Booth Luce about a group of high society women (one is a Countess!) in 1939 New York. They're all socially friendly. They lunch and shop and get facials, and seem content in their champagne bubble until a manicurist at a salon starts a rumor about one of them. It leads to the divorce (and downfall) of nearly all of them. There follows cattiness and martinis. You get the idea.
Gossip should come with a Surgeon General's Warning: "Caution: Gossip can be hazardous to your health. It can ruin careers, and break marriages. It's known to complicate a friendship. It really pisses people off." This episode is all about gossip. I find it nearly impossible to watch. I spent a large part of my adult life in and around one of the most gossiped about families on the planet and saw first-hand how it can destroy reputations, wound friendships, and hurt families. My threshold for mean gossip is nearly intolerable.
The thing about rumors is that everyone believes something about them, even if they are completely unfounded. There have been studies about this. As a rumor travels, it grows shorter and more concise and then it is much more easily told. After five or six retellings, regardless of how untruthful it might be, a rumor sounds completely plausible. (Remember the childhood game Telephone?)
So. Did I believe Sonja was drunk in a bar one night in Los Angeles? Absolutely. Did I believe she and Russ, my ex-boyfriend, hooked up? Either while we were together or after? Nope. But Sonja sat in her hangover robe on that rooftop with her trademark "dingbat" look and proclaimed that Russ did "flirt with her" in St. Barth's.
And that's all it takes to fuel a rumor. (It's hard to imagine she even remembers St. Barth's. She was drunk most of the time. In fact, just after meeting Russ, she did a striptease with a floor lamp, who was probably flirting with her, too. LOL.)
I'm not the kind of girl who fights over a man, especially an ex, but I am a girl. So even though Russ and I had broken up nearly a year earlier, when I hear this rumor it's still. . .peculiar. So I did what any normal girl would do, with Kristen's mouth still agape, I called Sonja.
I asked her what any normal girl would ask, what the f---? Because where I'm from, women have each other's backs. They don't perpetuate gossip about their friends. Sonja denied that it happened but didn't apologize for letting Satako repeat it while she giggled.