Friday, June 26, 2020

The Girl In The Blog

A few years ago I was listening to somebody talking at Bouchercon who said that while at  her work she had answered the phone and the man on the other end said ‘Can I speak to one of the girls in the office’ and the author said ‘We follow child labour laws here, we don’t have any "girls in the office"’. 
There was of course resounding applause at the feminist comeback.

Was that a issue of language, rather than gender politics? Surely  language can be very distinct to both time and place. 

At work many patients refer to my Russian colleague as the "Russian boy", and it’s a sign of respect with a little bit of friendship thrown in. My dad would talk about "the boys in the office", my mum talks about "the girls in the knitting bee". Those girls are all over 85. 

More interesting to me and the subject of a few blogs recently has been the use of the word girl in book titles. Just having a 5 minute flick through, I came up with 42.


And I am also guilty,  I put my hand up that I did write a book called The Tambourine Girl, but it was due to be published the same month as a book called The Tangerine Boy, so it was quickly retitled.

So for a bit of lockdown nonsense we could perhaps thinks of some snazzy titles for sequels of what 
the girl did next.

So with a nod to the great Ronnie Barker and his joke What Katy did. What Katy did next and the sequel  Son Of Katy....

Did the Girl on the Train become The Girl in the Window who then became The Girl on the Tracks.

Did the Lost Girls become The Found Girls and then maybe were Gone Girls again

Did the Girl Next Door get friendly with The Girls Upstairs who became The Wild Girls, The Wicked Girls  and the became The Girl Interup…..

Did the Welsh Girl go on holiday with The Swedish Girl and maybe met A Third Girl who was the Girl with Curious Hair and they became The Slaves Girls from Beyond Infinity.

Did the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo become the Girl with rampant Septicaemia. Did The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest  end up with a similar fate, as indeed could The Girl who Played with Fire.
(I’m getting the drift that it's dangerous to be a heroine in a Swedish crime book.)

The Girl with the Glass Feet, the Little Match Girl and the Ballerina Girl probably all needed a good chiropodist.

The Marine girl, the Girl in Hyacinth Blue and the Strawberry Girl should get together and form a rainbow.

And I’d really like to meet The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Did The Girl who loved Tom Gordon  become the Girl who Divorced Tom Gordon.

Did the Pretty Girl of Slender means remain A Boring Girl until she was given the Pearl Earing?

What kind of noise did The Little Drummer Girl make, quite a different noise to the Girl from  Ipanema.

I do have some concern for  The Girl who Fell from the Sky.  I wonder if she knew The 100 year old Man who Climbed out the Window.

And what about The Morality for Beautiful Girls, is that different to The Morality for Girls with Interesting Facial Features.

If some of these have been made into films I have no idea what the book’s about but I would like to appear in the film based on the book the Girl named Disaster.

Why is it though that substituting woman changes the  feeling of the book completely. Does the word girl imply youth and vulnerability? Or a bigger question... why do publishers  like it so much?



  1. I do think we are making a bit too much of a stir over words these days. . .at 66 I find myself surrounded by girlfriends and very glad of it. A woman friend sounds stilted formal and downright and harsh but a girlfriend is o wonderful mix of shoulders to cry on and giggles to share and best of all: girl talk!

  2. Well, of course, 42. 42 is, after all, the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, girl.

  3. My head is spinning over all these girls. Is that inappropriate to say? If so I apologize. There is a cultural matter at play with the use of the word "girl" in Greece. And
    "boy." I've found that many refer to an unmarried woman of any age as a "girl," and to an unmarried man as a "boy." Boy oh boy, I hope that doesn't get me into hot water, kiddo.