So far, the fastest pettegolezzo on record was spread in one hour and fourteen minutes on November 8, 2006.
And I proudly participated in the event. Like all “spreading” contests (rumors, gossip, viruses, points, “the Word”, and prostitution), the setting must be perfect. Today’s event was held at the Hair Salon, selected not just for its historic presence in the world of tongue wagging, but for relaxing atmosphere and ginger snaps.
Spreading news and other good stuff requires carefully chosen candidates who have absolutely no idea of the possible side-effects of their innocent prose. Candidates are selected at random, yet must fulfill one of the following qualities:
- innocent chatter-box
- cute chatter-box
- relationship (work or otherwise) to a very close-knit office staff
Moi, happy-go-lucky innocent by-stander
R, happy-go-lucky innocent by-stander whose significant other works in an office
Participants are chatting at the front desk of Hair Salon. Discussion ranges from Election to Coordination to Cute Boys.
R says, “Do you have a boyfriend? If not, there’s this great guy at the ABC, where my significant other works, you should meet him.”
Moi replies, “Okay, as long as his name is not Francois, because my friend’s already been on a date with him. Anyone else is fair game.”
R comments, “Francois? No, don’t know him. The guy I am thinking about is named Bernie. You should meet him, he’s really great.”
Conversation then returns to more important details, "where are you from?", "how long have you lived in Rome?”, “what do you do?”, and in between covers the gamut of art, jeans and motorini. Participants exchange vitals as from the brief discourse sprouted the possible blossom of friendship. Both leave Hair Salon with shiny locks and smiles, en route to lunch appointments.
SMS from Belle to Moi
“Did you happen to mention to someone that I went out with Francois? And if yes….perhaps at the hairdresser’s the other day? Long story but it already got back to the ABC!”
For those who speculate and bet on spreads, you may have noticed the following phrases that could potentially cause you to hedge your bets:
the other day--referring to my prior stint at the hair dresser last Friday
and it already got back--referring to the speed at which the news was spread.
What Belle didn’t realize that word of her lunch date traveled at light speed. The other day was technically “within the last two hours”-- within minutes, R spoke with her significant other who spoke with Francois, and it already got back was more like “Flew faster than a speeding bullet”.
Small world. Roma e' un paese.
In the competitive sport of spreading, a five-day turn-around is amateur. A three-day turn-around is professional amateur and a 12 to 24 hour turn-around is all pro. A seventy-four minute turn-around is down right Olympic Gold, while playing on the Dream Team against the Dream Team.
Yes, the setting was perfect:
Noi (Good hair and gab)
Piazza del Popolo, 3 06 3200 6284