Is It Abnormal Not To Kvetch?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 22 2009 1:36 PM

Is It Abnormal Not To Kvetch?

Nadja Spiegelman at the Forward women’s page says that this non-complaining project Jessica and I have launched this week is not really normal, or healthy. She knows because she tried it herself. Spiegelman got herself a job at a camp for disabled kids, where infrequent smoke breaks involved gossiping and bitching about fellow counselors and campers. Only she didn’t participate. She just smoked silently. Consequently, everyone thought she was totally weird and unfriendly. I would say the problem there is obvious: Jews are not supposed to camp. Cold nights and plastic mattresses are a recipe for semitic disaster.

Otherwise, I know what she means. Just after we got married, my husband’s family set up a hiking and walking trip. I got through it-I would say I even loved it-but only because I complained endlessly, rudely. During this month of non-complaining, my hardest moments so far have been when friends come over, especially friends I haven’t seen in a while. Normally, I would reconnect by doing a kind of complaint performance, where I annotate the updates with sardonic asides. Without it, I’m kind of stuck. What are we supposed to talk about? The unseasonably warm weather?


That said, I know this is a problem Jews are supposed to solve, only because I have sat through many a Yom Kippur service and said the "Ashamnu" prayer many times. If you’ll notice, half of the sins we confess to are synonyms for gossip.

We have become guilty, we have betrayed, we have robbed, we have spoken slander.

We have caused perversion, we have caused wickedness, we have sinned willfully, we have extorted, we have accused falsely.

We have given evil counsel, we have been deceitful, we have scorned, we have rebelled, we have provoked, we have turned away, we have been perverse, we have acted wantonly, we have persecuted, we have been obstinate.

We have been wicked, we have corrupted, we have been abominable, you have let us go astray.

Hanna Rosin is the founder of DoubleX and a writer for the Atlantic. She is also the author of The End of Men. Follow her on Twitter.


The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.