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Guys and Girls

A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.

Coco Chanel

Ring from Mum, bracelet and earring from The Girls

Ring from Mum, bracelet and earrings from The Girls

My four sisters, my brother and I were all born over a period of eight and a half years in the sixties and early seventies. I won’t piss off my beloved siblings by detailing our ages here but you can do the maths on how old that makes us all now.

The six of us talk to and about each other often. (We’re scattered around the globe but they are still – and I expect will always be – my touchstones, my base, my home.) When the rest of us are talking about our beautiful brother we refer to him by name. (His name, incidentally, starts with G, so a big up to my brother in this 26-day Vagina Monologues blog-fest which by definition rather excludes him.) But when the sisters refer to each other en masse we need a collective noun. And the noun that’s come into most common usage is girls. “Did you hear from the girls for your birthday?” “I’m wearing all my favourite jewellery from the girls.” “I’m going to see the girls when I get back to Australia!”

Girls. Hm. My BFF’s three beautiful daughters are not yet ten but we refer to them as the girls. My book club and Vagina Warrior friends are in their twenties and thirties and they’re the girls. My photography club friends are in their forties and fifties and guess how I think of them? Yep, you got it. The girls. Is this weird? Do we need different collective nouns to reflect our ages?

It’s been a number of years since the word guys also snuck into my vernacular to call the attention of a group of people. “Come on, guys! Let’s get going!” This, I’ve noticed, is increasingly used, by me and others, when the group of people is all women, and I’m quite comfortable with that – guys is so much cooler a word than anything we women have to refer to ourselves and each other. “Come on, women!” Sounds weird. “Come on, ladies!” Acceptable but a whole different set of implications.

I’ve just looked up guy on urbandictionary.com. (Why do I do this to myself?):

1: one who has a sexual thought every ten seconds
2: used for a normal/bloke-ish kind of boy
3: one who says that he will call you and then never does, but makes up an excuse for why he didn’t
4: Rulers of the world. The male population. The bosses of society. *

(OK, I’m now applying a blanket ban on the use of urbandictionary.com for this blog.)

What about the Oxford Dictionary? Ah, much more inclusive. It defines guys as “people of either sex”, as in, “You guys want some coffee?”

I really have no conclusion for this post but I am curious about what other people think…

So ladies and gentlemen, guys and girls, lads and ladettes, men and women, what should it be? Are we all happy for women to be referred to as girls from cradle to grave or does it rankle with you? All alternatives welcome!

* Bless them. They clearly don’t believe this for a second.

11 thoughts on “Guys and Girls

  1. Hi Mish. Happy to be called one of the girls, used in the various contexts. Sometimes use ‘gals’ to my pals, ‘ladies’ (accompanied by a grin, though can’t explain why,) and recently used ‘the sisterhood’ when talking to a friend about her being well looked after when she had trouble with her ex man. I guess using the c word would be socially unacceptable. Think ‘girls’ suits pretty well most occasions.

  2. Thanks, Mon – yes, all good words! I have a bit of a problem with “the sisterhood” when it’s supposed to mean all women – I’m not sure there is any such thing, and neither should there necessarily be! – but it’s lovely for a group of close friends. Yes, the C word might raise eyebrows, though in TVM we regularly referred to each other as “the vaginas”! That could work!

  3. Mostly I’m happy to be called a ‘girl’ or ‘one of the girls’. Of course any word can be used disparagingly, and girls is certainly no exception, but in that case my offense would come from the intent, not the word choice.

    …but I’m okay with being referred to as ‘guys’ if I’m in a group, and also ‘one of the guys’ which is also often accurate LOL So… maybe that’s not super helpful 😉

    • Ah, that’s interesting, Rhonda – I hadn’t thought of “one of the guys”… The implications of that are slightly different again and I’m always happy to be one of those too! Thanks for reading… You’re now officially one of the girls!

  4. My brother – who is the baby of our family and the only boy – always referred to my sister and me as “the girls.” I liked it then, and I like it now. I like when my mom emails the two of us and says, “Hi girls,” and I like how it sounds when I refer to my friends as Girls and also to my 7-year-old daughter and her friends as Girls. It connotes fun and eternally young and carefree for me…

  5. Nice post! I am happy to be a “girl” …I just realized that’s the word I used to describe myself on my blog, so I guess that’s how I think of myself! Nothing wrong with being a “girl” at any age 🙂

  6. Pingback: Jubilation | WA woman to world

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