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In Search Of The Momfluencer’s Apprentice

Normal Gossip logo with cartoon characters gossiping
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

I’ve followed through with some weird whims in my time. I chose to attend UC Davis over UC Santa Cruz because my dad got a ticket for running a stop sign while we were driving through the Santa Cruz campus (what the actual fuck, young Jae). The summer after my first year in college, I became convinced that I needed a pet hedgehog and that I could give said hedgehog a good life (wrong and wrong). Two weeks ago, I decided an electric fireplace insert with five “adjustable flame colors” would get me to read more, cut down on my desire to watch garbage TV in the evenings, and just generally make me feel smarter (jury’s still out, but no regrets yet). 

So there is a part of me with deep sympathy for our friend-of-a-friend this week, Adele, whose longing to live in Europe has carved out such a deep cavern within her soul that moving to Germany and becoming an au pair feels only right and logical, despite her lack of childcare experience, lukewarm affection for children, and general inability to vet the suitability of potential host families. An auspicious beginning, I’m sure you’ll agree. (Just remember: This is normal gossip, not horror gossip.) 

Our guest this week is Amanda Montell! Amanda Montell is a writer and linguist from Baltimore. She is the author of the acclaimed books Wordslut, Cultish, and the forthcoming The Age of Magical Overthinking. Along with hosting the podcast Sounds Like a Cult, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find her on Instagram at @AmandaMontell.

Amanda told Kelsey about singing an impromptu ditty to Daniel Radcliffe, and about one of the lesser-known dangers of shit-talking: spontaneous trait transference, a phenomenon where insults and negative qualities you apply to others during gossip sessions become associated in your audience’s mind with you. Then Kelsey told Amanda this week’s hot goss: the tale of the au pair and the momfluencer. 

You can subscribe to Normal Gossip on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever else you listen! You can follow Normal Gossip on Instagram here.

(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is normalgossip@defector.com, or phone it in to 26-79-GOSSIP.

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