We've all been guilty of starting a rumour at some point in our lives. It's a lot of fun. A lot of potentially damaging, life-ruining fun, sure, but a really swell way to tide over your boredom for a little while nonetheless. Then even more fun to completely abandon, leaving it to inflict its wrath on whichever innocent person you started it about.
We wanted to know what lies the people of London had left spread about their peers, so we asked them a question: what’s the worst rumour you’ve started about someone?
Gabby, 22, sales (left) Jo, 22, unemployed (centre) and Johnny, 22, waiter.
Johnny: That I’ve got genital warts.
Gabby: That’s not a rumour, though. I started a rumour about Jo and her boyfriend. First of all, she likes him to pee on her in the shower.
Is that the rumour?
No, that was real. Then I actually extended it with a rumour that she enjoys sitting under glass and watching her boyfriend shit on top of it.
Jo: Yeah, but I quickly set everyone straight and told them it wasn’t a fetish of mine.
Johnny: I’ve pissed in her hundreds of times!
In her? Jesus. Did people believe the rumour?
Gabby: Yeah, because she's into that kind of thing, so it wasn't hard to believe.
Johnny: Gabby’s a very convincing person and people trust her. Oh, I've got a funny rumour – camel toe! [points at Jo]
Jo: Yeah, yeah, yeah – I've got a camel toe and I like shitting on glass doors.
Alright. I'll let you get to it, then.
Daniel, 27, Actor: Oh my god. Urm, my friend fancied a boy at school and I spread a rumour that she sprayed hairspray in his face. She didn’t.
That's fucking mental.
No one sprayed hairspray in anyone’s face, though. It was a completely fabricated lie. I was young and stupid and I thought it was funny. We laughed for years and we’re still laughing now.
Well, it is a very funny rumour. What would someone have to say about you for you to cut them out of your life?
They’d have to make up something really bad, like stealing.
Stealing's not that bad.
Okay, well, murdering someone, then.
Could a rumour make you cry?
No, I’m too thick skinned. I don’t really care that much.
Anon, 21, Music Producer: I made up a rumour that someone was mentally unwell and suicidal.
Wow, that’s pretty deep. Who did you start that about?
It was an ex-girlfriend. It ended really badly. I broke up with her and it got really messy. She gave me too many unwanted visits. She’d be waiting on the steps for me after I finished work.
Didn’t that rumour make her go crazier?
This isn’t going in the magazine is it? It’s anonymous, right?
Okay, yeah, she came back to me and said I was responsible for another guy breaking up with her because he heard the rumour. She deserved it, though.
What if she ended up getting suicidal purely because of the rumour?
It would have taken a turn for the worse, I guess. This was a long time ago, though. I was 17. I wouldn’t do that type of thing now.
That's good to know.
Yvette, 24, unemployed (left) and Stu, student, 21.
Yvette: Some Indian kid said I was a lesbian. For like a whole frickin’ year he told every single person in high school that I was a lesbian.
‘Cause he’s a DICK. It didn't affect me, though, because only the new kids believed him.
Oh, that's fine; no one likes the new kids.
Shireen, 27, Prison guard: That they were gay.
How original. Why?
Because I was mean! And she was prettier than me. She stopped talking to me, but I didn't care. I was a cool kid so I was cool with it.
What’s the worst rumour anyone’s started about you?
That I was born a man.
No! I am 100 percent female, thank you very much.
Hmm, I’m not convinced.
James, 25, Hospitality: That I fucked my mate's mum. He wasn't very happy about it.
I wonder why.
He found it funny eventually. It took a long, long time, though.
Did you secretly want to fuck his mum? Was that why you started it?
No, I'm from Australia and that's just what we do there with mates – we fuck with each other. Although, I suppose I probably would have slept with his mum for real 10 years ago. Now? No way. She'd be old as fuck now.
Previously - Do Dogs and Cats Understand Us?