(Conversation between Valentino, Kris, and Kim was all about Pilates. Valentino shared he does it every day with trainers in New York, London, and Paris, while Kris was questioning and seeking advice on where to put her new Pilates equipment at home. Kim discovered Pilates during her pregnancy with daughter North.)
The joke is on me for experiencing a wave of disappointment that Kim Kardashian was discussing athletic stretching routines on the eve of a monumental commitment. It was not the instance of small talk that rankled me, but rather the type: Why is it always fitness classes now?
There’s a scene in When Harry Met Sally where Harry’s friend proudly posits that their generation talks about restaurants the same way a previous generation felt about theater. It seems that our own generation might be speaking about gym stuff in the same manner. From art to food to regulated bodily maintenance. Between the two metabolic functions, at least food is filled with sensory delights. But barre classes?
So why is chatting about boot camp for fancy people more boring than say, chatting about train delays?
At best it seems to invite competitive comparison, at worst it begs for a gold star. (The trendiness of certain fitness classes only adds a bougie factor.) Exercise is self-care. It has inherent rewards by virtue of its completion. It's something for your health that you should be doing regularly. It's like mentioning flossing as a suitable conversation starter.
And small talk can be so fun and diverting! There are many good options aside from spin class. For example:
Climate is the supreme small-talk subject for our weather-anxious age. Each weather event carries inherent drama in a time of climate change. What's more, small talk primarily occurs in person, so the thing you have the most in common is your location and the weather in it. The Weather Channel has provided us with dramatic vocabulary, like "polar vortex." What a thing to have lived through together! Let's discuss.
A weather subtopic, humidity is perhaps the thing hated by the most people. Discovering shared hatred is a bonding experience.
3. Can you believe it's already/only ____ (current day of the week)
There is something so tautologically hilarious about this thing we say to each other. It's also unlikely that anyone will disagree with you if you say this, even though it should be more likely than not that a Tuesday feels like a Tuesday.
It's your daily odyssey.
5. Commentary on the appearance of your small-talk partner
Compliments are nice to give, nice to receive. Extra credit for discussion of new additions to someone's physical appearance, like a tattoo, a haircut, or glasses.
6. Price of things!
Stuff is expensive. It keeps getting more expensive. Rent! Almonds! It's consumption in America and we will never get used to it.
7. The price of gas specifically
This is a tricky exception. People reveal political proclivities on this issue, so it could unintentionally land you in debate with strangers. A suggestion: Steer the discussion into a conversation about superior gas stations. Have you ever been to a Sheetz? Oh, they're great, aren't they?
8. Celebrity gossip
Unlike regular gossip (which is not small talk, just shit talk), the lives of celebrities exist in this commedia dell'arte terrarium ripe for unwarranted and insightful opinions.
9. Whatever holiday is closest
Nearly everyone uses a calendar.
Just as similarly as everyone experiences the passing of days, so we experience the passing of hours, which are most commonly punctuated by meals.
11. Air-conditioning at your office
It's too cold.
12. The intersection of parents and technology
This is a topic about which nearly everyone has an adorable anecdote.
13. Awards show (particularly the Oscars)
Like lists, awards shows reduce complex subjects into an easily debatable rubric.
14. Your immediate need for coffee
This lets you communicate that you aren't much in the mood for small talk, while still filling the air with comfortable chatter.
15. iPhone games
Your addiction to Words With Friends is such an acceptable human flaw.
16. Landlords or roommates
It's an avenue for light and often humorous complaining.
17. The upcoming weekend
Here's the thing: Plans for future weekends are usually dull in a sunny, vague way. And if the activities of a past weekend were actually interesting, they would have to be truncated for small-talk purposes.
Similar to humidity, this is something that no one likes at all, although sometimes it wasn't so bad.
Share your tips for removing BIBO.
Tread lightly and avoid crowing, you tanned and seasoned adventurer.
21. Minor ailments
Allergies, winter colds, etc. Everyone has them, so it's easy to reach common ground, but also obnoxious to hijack small talk for easy sympathy.
22. Exercise classes
This is the worst one.
Most Viewed Stories
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?
From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
The World’s Easiest Way to Highlight Your Face
A Pregnant Supermodel Explains What She Eats
Meet the Prom Queen of Instagram
Sleater-Kinney on Riot Grrl, Reuniting, and Portlandia
Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
Céline’s Woman-Friendly Triumph
Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
From Our Partners
Who What Wear
The Zara Outfit Every Girl In New York City Is Wearing
The Day I Told The Ugly Truth About My Marriage
How This Woman Lost 30 Pounds After Years of Ignoring Her Weight Gain
How To Wear Marsala, Pantone's 2015 Colour of the Year
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Love and War FeaturesSigourney Weaver on Talking to Ronald Reagan About Abortion Rights
He didn’t want to chat.8 Actually Good Things That Happened This Week
Baby sea turtles wearing bathing suits and a necklace for your pizza.Selfie Sorority Uses Media Frenzy for Good Cause
Take that, sportscasters.A Comprehensive Taxonomy of Men With Long Hair
And why we like them anyway.Teens Are Dying From Train-Track Photo Shoots
The popular photo destination is actually super-dangerous.‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
Ed Houben has fathered 106 children — that he knows of.The Internet of Parents Is Miserable and I Love It
Why it's so hard to look away.Did the ‘Maxipad Bandit’ Really Think He’d Escape?
Not so fast, mister.Woman Driven From Her Home by Death Threats After Starting Pro-Choice Hashtag
The hashtag drew intense scorn from anti-abortion activists.Ice-Cold Teens Don’t Hesitate to Block Their Exes
"I’m just like this is irrelevant now.”
Come on, man.Are Newsletters the Internet’s New Safe Space for Women?
Whether you're Lena Dunham or an emerging writer, the format has an appealing intimacy.The Bennifer Years Affected Matt Damon More Than Anyone Else
It's just really hard when your buddy breaks up with J.Lo, you know?Someone Used Gasoline to Set a Los Angeles–Area Planned Parenthood on Fire
Police believe gasoline was used as an accelerant to burn down the Thousand Oaks facility.Michelle Obama: No Boy Is Cute Enough to Keep You From Getting an Education
"Compete with the boys. Beat the boys."Stop Time-Traveling to Such Lame Eras, Losers
You have a choice, people.New ‘Yelp for People’ Will Let You Rate Everyone You Know
Kind of like Lulu, or Hot or Not, or ...Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Glad She Was Trained in the ’60s
She's glad she was trained in the Mad Men era.Lena Dunham Apologizes for Joking About Abuse
"When I heard my own quote I was like, 'Jesus, Lena, no.'"Desperate Republicans Attack Planned Parenthood Chief’s Salary
"The disrespect, the misogyny rampant here today tells us what is really going on."