Musings + Essays

What’s Something You Could Never Get Tired of Talking About?

By: Jen Shoop

Recently, I was talking my girlfriend’s ear off about romance novels as a genre, and I interrupted myself with: “Ugh, I’m sorry. I could talk forever about this.” Her response: “No, I love it. Let me pull up a chair.” She was, I’m sure, being her usual gracious self as a listener, but it made me think: what are the things you could never get tired of talking about? This has to be a fool-proof litmus for identifying inner passions.

It’s funny to write about this because a few days later, on our way into our weekend in Charlottesville and before the full party had arrived, another friend brought up the recent Justin Timberlake press and then interrupted himself with: “No. That’s our dinner conversation. We’ll wait for the group.” At the dinner table, he pretended to crack his knuckles: “OK, now for Justin Timberlake.” And the entire table dove in for a protracted analysis. There is something about celebrity tea and our prismatic, glancing observations of the famous that can sustain a long conversation among 40 year olds…

A few things I could never get tired of talking about:

The craft of writing / how to get started with writing


Books — especially the appeal, tropes, and constructs of underrated genres like the modern thriller and romance

Music videos — one of my favorite secret pastimes is watching the top pop music videos and analyzing them / explaining how and why they diverged from my understanding of the song and what they are showcasing about the performer; they are such rich “texts”

Family dynamics — this always fascinates me and I have all kinds of crackpot theories; I love learning about the birth order, age gaps, personalities, etc of siblings

Restaurant experiences — not just the food: the ambiance, the staff, the menu design, the dishes and cutlery and stemware

Cryptic messages — I love to unpack a weird email, text, DM a friend has received

What about you?


+What song do you secretly love?

+If you could go back to school tomorrow, what would you study?

+More icebreakers.

Shopping Break.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links below, I may receive compensation.

+Has anyone tried the tees from perfectwhitetee? This classic style is on its way to me — I think it’s their most popular version. As you know, I’m a huge fan of SoldOut’s Iconically Soft tee (if these are clean, I will wear them first in my drawer — 15% off with code JEN15) and Uniqlo’s $15 U-Neck, but I’m always open to test!

+These $30 shorts are marketed as pajamas but I’d test for everyday — or at least pool! Love. Very Doen-esque. (Or, get Doen’s here!)

+Speaking of black eyelet: Madewell, this is perfect.

+Toteme raffia slides at a great price point.

+Madewell’s new darted barrel jeans remind me of Nili Lotan or Citizens — but a tad more wearable.

+An absolutely perfect summer wedding guest dress.

+The secret to taking a hands-free selfie.

+Seriously chic splurge bag for summer.

+This Monrow dress is on its way to me.

+I have one of these in my cart — would be great for outdoor sports events, concerts, etc.

+This dress looks both punchy/fun and ultra-comfortable. Love the loose, body-skimming fit for the hottest days of summer.

+I think I need these white gauze shorts.

+This cute knit woven jacket is on super sale.

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29 thoughts on “What’s Something You Could Never Get Tired of Talking About?

  1. Bravo, tennis, and the college admissions process. Read/listen a lot about, but don’t discuss, politics, self-help/health and true crime.

  2. What a fun question! My subjects: fashion and recent seasonal trends (even if I don’t personally love them), any/all books esp. literary fiction from the past 10 years, any armchair expert podcast ep, any/all topics from the week’s WSJ weekend edition, best playlists to listen to while running, formula one, and historic home renovations.

  3. This is as much fun as reading the icebreakers! I like to talk about writing: (process, projects, writing group), art (local, national, friends’ work, my work (just had a local hotel buy 2 of my pieces–YAY!), music (mainly listen to jazz, lo-fi, ambient, electronica but love recs and conversation), perfume (fraganista forever!), health (it’s my job! the amount of misinformation is concerning as is the lack of interest of many people), podcasts (especially interested in health, current events, music), UNC basketball, and professional cycling–Le Tour de France has been running for nearly a week and I am fixed to the TV! The program’s production and the sites you see along the way are worth it even for non-fans.

    1. Are you following anyone particular on the Tour, Sara?? Such an exciting last few days with Biniam Girmay and Mark Cavendish making some history. This is our first year following as fans, my son’s best friend’s dad is in it. We also watched the Criterium du Dauphiné!

      1. Hi Kelly! So glad you are watching/enjoying TdF
        . The last few races have been really exciting and historic. Dauphine is a fun race; I’m looking forward to watching Vuelta Espana next. Been a big Cav fan for years, so yesterday was a thrill. Hoping Girmay keeps the green jersey and Pogacar hangs on to the maillot jaune. That is very cool you know a rider! We have a friend who coaches on EF.

        What are your summer scents?

        1. Hi Sara! Hermes: Un Jardin sur la Lagune, Jacadi Bébé, layering Chloé with Replica Maison Margiela At the Barber’s for a masc-femme combo that feels like making out with someone behind the bleachers, and good old orange flower water. How about you?

          1. It’s a myth that DC is built on a swamp; it does feel like one lately. Scent choices have skewed aromatic and light. Hermes Eau Des Merveilles, Acqua di Parma Colonia, Chanel Edimbourg. So happy Girmay won a second stage!

          2. “That feels like making out with someone behind the bleachers” — wow!!! Evocative! xx

  4. You surprised me with the music videos! For me — writing of all kinds, early childhood literacy and learning, artistic processes for artists of all kinds, anything Italy (culture, food, art and architecture — I’d love to spend a few months there someday), home renovations. Thanks for throwing that out there — Happy Fourth to you and yours! xo H

    1. Love these – especially home renovations, a subject about which I know nothing but do enjoy watching/learning about/seeing before and afters/etc. Takes such vision!


  5. Love this post! My family has a saying “… save it for the table!!” If someone starts to tell a good story or introduce a riveting topic of discussion, but a) not everyone is present or b) there’s a lot of background noise, someone usually yelps “save it for the table!” and we dive in at dinner time!

  6. Books, for sure! And (apologies to everyone besides my husband) my children. Baked goods, all varieties – where to buy them, recipes, the perils of including said children in the baking process, etc. I’m always happy to discuss workout regimes, and any 5ks you’ve signed up for or run so that I can live vicariously through you!

  7. Here are a few of mine:

    Fashion ( everything about it, trends, fashion week etc)

    Books ( love reading – all genres – when I find a good read I want to share it. My best girlfriend from Alabama is like what are you reading because I know it will be good) – book signings or talks

    Podcasts ( lately it’s what I’ve been obsessed with because I have something to listen to while doing mundane chores or yard work- all genres podcasts about celebrities, food, books) I’m finding I’m learning a lot and sharing with friends and family good episodes

    Cultural events – ie art exhibits around the country and in my back yard too

    New restaurants and cookbooks love cooking and I’m always sharing recipes

    Quotes love sharing and pinning a good quote. I save these up for snail mail moments in cards and letters to loved and cherished ones

  8. I’ve heard someone ask the question “What subject could you give a TED talk on right now without any preparation?” which I feel like is a good sister to your question in this post! Very fun to think about.

    Here’s a few of my answers, in no particular order: Taylor Swift, Catholicism, books & reading (including how to start a good book club), travel & packing tips, nonprofit fundraising, baking, personal finance, a lot of different historical events and time periods (Tutor England, the Titanic, the Oregon Trail, common misconceptions about medieval Europe, etc!)

    1. What aspects of Catholicism, Megan? Is there a history overlap for you? I went to a Marianist university and I loved their framing of the faith and obligations of the faithful. I was definitely the little kid at CCD veering off book into church history

  9. Ditto on books & fashion- but also, the Royal family! Love the sold out NYC t-shirt so much- thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Fun topic, I’m looking forward to reading the comments. For me it’s personal finance, climate change, music (I love learning what someone’s all time favorite song is and why!) and fashion (especially personal style and why people dress the way the do)

  11. Jen, you might like this book!

    I too could talk forever about romance novels, especially indies. Parenting, especially as an expat and French/American/British differences. Nitty gritty of companies, especially fulfillment/supply chain/product mix/tech stack. Catholicism, especially the first thousand years of the church. Gluten free baking. Barbecue. Hobbyist craft projects. City design and public services. Pregnancy, birth and postpartum rehab. The joys and fears of having aging parents. Comic strips. Perfume (hello scent enclave!). Regional food. Spanish poetry. Fairy tales and their analysis and etymology. I am made up of a rotating cluster of special interests, and have been since childhood!

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