Friday, January 19, 2007


Yesterday my advanced class had a discussion about workplace conversations. Several students expressed their frustration that the most important socialising between colleagues seems to happen on cigarette breaks or post-work trips to the pub.

I asked the class about the most common topics of conversation at their workplaces. 'English people talk about the weather a lot' said one student, 'but at my job they talk about their diets even more. Everybody seems to be on a diet all the time'.

Several others agreed, including me. Since Christmas, my colleagues' lunches in the staffroom at school have become even scantier. I used to sight the occasional diet muesli bar but now everyone seems to be restricted to salads consisting mostly of cabbage.

And the diet talk is never ending. The ridiculous thing is that few of my colleagues could be described as slim. If they were eating at home as they do at school they would be wasting away. So why the continual pretense of extreme dieting?

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