Are you often confused by things you hear women saying in the nail salon? The gym? Browsing Ann Taylor and The Gap? Have no fear, Anna Lefler to the rescue with Chicktionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, The words every woman should know.
While browsing twitter profiles one day (don’t ask, I find amusement in interesting places), I noticed this in Anna’s profile:
Obviously, I was totally intrigued, being a chick, a logophile as well as a sesquipedalian*. As well, I mean, her picture! It has a MOUSTACHE on it. Who wouldn’t want to read a book written by someone whose Twitter profile has a MOUSTACHE on it?
So I tweeted Anna and asked her if she would be interested in sending me her book to review. Which she was happy to do, being a friendly AAA member (what is that? The American Association of Apple-eaters?)
- Chicktionary by Anna Lefler
And I laughed. While reading a dictionary. Go figure, right? Anna brings a lightness and hilarity to what could be an annoying and trite attempt at being original. Chicktionary is a perfect little book to give as a birthday or shower gift, or to leave in the bathroom for gents to peruse and learn while they’re ‘relaxing’.
Some tidbits from the title:
This term describes a skirt, dress, or similar garment whose silhouette flares out from the waist, becoming wider toward the hem and creating a shape that resembled both the letter ‘A’ and a teepee…More importantly, however, the A-line will not divulge your figure flaws no matter how much it is water boarded, unlike other garments that will happily sell your secrets all over town (see also: pencil skirt)
A sassy little gesture that involves making the outline of a big letter ‘Z’ in front of you while snapping your fingers…Its worth noting that this particular gesture also goes down well with a nice ‘oh, no, you di’in’t’!
Some other favourite definitions contained in this valuable tome:
- butt bow
- butt bra
- brazilian wax (including regional and style differences like the landing strip, the Hollywood, the Sphinx, and the full Monty)
- jawline seam
- camel toe
- old lady butt
- nip slip
I asked Anna some questions about the authoring Chicktionary. This is what she had to say.
Tell me about the book. What was the inspiration behind it? Was there one defining moment of puzzled man-face?
I wish I could claim ownership over this concept, but the idea came from a bookseller, who then shared it with a publisher (Adams Media), who then decided that they wanted to create that book for the marketplace. The publisher found me through various humorous essays that I’ve published around the Web, which led them to my humor blog, Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder
. I loved the idea and they felt my comic voice and somewhat twisted take on things were a good match for the project, so we went for it!
(editor’s note: Anna’s livin’ the dream)
How did you decide on the words & phrases to be included? Did you do focus groups? Or use words on random men to see of they understood them?
The thing I was most concerned about was making sure to include terms used by women in all age groups, from the twenties up; I didn’t want to leave out any age ranges. So I spoke with as many women I could find who seemed to be “plugged in” to the popular culture in their own age group. Beyond that, there’s a mix of sources: some of the terms are my own creation (fauxga, panticlimber, denim rage), some are very common terms but with a humorous spin (uterus, New Year’s Eve) and some were gleaned by keeping my ear out on the Internet and in social situations (flexting, flirtationship, wonderlust).
(editor’s note: it sounds like Anna is also a logophile, having made up some of her own words. I make up my own words too, such as shidazzle, momzheimers, and momprastinator)
When you are writing how often do you laugh out loud at yourself? Oh, that’s the best feeling, when you crack yourself up and you’re not faking it. I found that the times when that happened in writing this book were the times I found myself shaking my head and thinking, “Well, that’s never going to make it past the editors.” But it always did.
(editor’s note: I laugh at myself all the time. Now I feel better, since a professional funny maker laughs at herself)
Which is your favorite definition in the book?
I have several favorites, but the one that comes to mind right now – because it truly cracked me up when I was writing it (see question #3) – was the definition of Face Shapes, particularly the part that explains how to identify the shape of your own face. I love having a pseudo-serious Spongebob Squarepants reference in the book.
(editor’s note: I totally laughed my squarepants off at that one)
Which area of female lingo is most puzzling to men do you think? Are there regional differences?
There are definitely some regional differences when you try to categorize pubic topiary. (Yes, that’s a real phrase.) Requesting a Brazilian in New York can yield something different than a Brazilian in Los Angeles, so when discussing your “style” with your esthetician, I would suggest the liberal use of hand gestures and, if necessary, draw a sketch!As for men, I think most of the lingo is pretty puzzling, partly because, from a man’s perspective, so much of it falls into the category of “TMI.” Then there’s the amount of it. That was one of the things that struck me when writing The CHICKtionary – the sheer volume of information that a woman must have a handle on simply to, well, be a woman. When I sat down to catalog it, I was amazed at the entire categories of terms that kept bubbling up. Even though the primary goal of the book is humor, it’s still quite impressive to me that we naturally acquire this rich lexicon of terms as we experience different aspects of womanhood.
(editor’s note: what I really liked about the book was the TMI. I am a big proponent – or is it offender- of the TMI)
What’s next? Are you planning a Dude-tionary?
This book was so fun to write – and working with Adams Media is lovely – so another “-tionary” would be a blast. This is my first nonfiction book; I began writing fiction and I’m now gearing up to get my comic novel out into the marketplace. In the meantime, I’ll be out on an author tour in November and December for The CHICKtionary, and I’m looking forward to meeting lots of readers along the way! Details of the tour can be found atwww.annalefler.com
(editor’s note: I hope she comes to Toronto, or at the very least, flies me to meet her somewhere so we can go do nails and see a chick flick)
Recommend Factor: 10/10 (this Chicktionary is a necessity in the modern world for effective communication)
Unputdownable Factor: n/a (reading it all at once would dilute the fun factor)