I do not often think about gossip as a scare tactic. Sure, I think about it as fun, and funny, and useful for disrupting heavily engrained power dynamics. But there's an aspect of gossip that I overlooked during the first season of this podcast. Gossip can also put the fear of God in you. It can present you with a circumstance that happened to a friend of a friend, told through a story that hits all the notes of an urban legend, that radically destroys your ability to think about the world any other way.
This week, Normal Gossip returns with an episode full of listener gossip. I have thought about the final story in the bunch (about a girl who goes on a date and ends up in a terrible situation where she must put her own poop in a ziploc bag) every single day since we recorded this episode weeks ago. It has haunted me. I have had nightmares about it. Every day, I think about this poor girl our friend of a friend told us about. Now, you must too.
This episode is made up only of listener calls. At the end of Season 2, we asked our listeners to call in any gossip they had about "niche communities." There were dozens of excellent submissions, and our team loved reading them all. We were very brave and managed to narrow it down to the five best.
In today's episode you'll find a stories about a gay men's choir, a neighborhood book club, a pole dancing studio, a bunch of bugs, and the aforementioned terrible poop tale. Joining me for this week’s episode is producer Alex Sujong Laughlin who guided me through each of these stories. I do want to warn you, though. Two of the stories do have animals that die in them. Alex sends her apologies, but the stories were too good.
Plus, at the very end of the episode, we announce the start date for Season 3. So make sure to stick around for that.