Have a nice weekend I think you’re interesting, Lucy Holt
Smith/Doorstop, 2021 £5.00
What does it mean to be a woman today reading the slogan...
A consistently witty, defiant, uncertain/certain young woman’s voice makes assertions throughout this pamphlet, and a lot of what it says is describing the speaker in terms of her experiences. It’s as if she’s stacking up a CV of everyday life ‘to have a consistent sense of self’ (‘Women I know but in real life’):
I’m doing my joke
about how I only date the sons of mothers
who have appeared on Woman’s Hour
I’m just anecdotes
and all the flats I’ve ever lived in
[‘My entire life’]
These are contrasted with various enjoyably surreal types of woman presumably being presented to this speaker as ways to be: ‘a woman made of gorse’ (from ‘What good is a muesli woman’), ‘COS woman’ (from the poem of the same name), ‘What does it mean to be a woman today / reading the slogan lingerie for women who don’t do lingerie’ (‘Lessons in gifting’). She resists these with delightful (temporary) certainties: ‘there is no such thing as girlfriend material / I only made you up’ (‘What good is a muesli woman’).
I enjoyed the delicious female details nodded to in passing: ‘the backlit mirror’, ‘eyelash curlers / [that] are terrifying to men’, ‘my short torso / my indelicate waist’, ‘cheek textures’, and had fun wondering whether some of these things are increasingly things men notice/do too: ‘picking lint from jumpers’ — maybe; ‘mothers-in-law’ — definitely.
Overall, this pamphlet gives a brilliantly exact sense of young womanhood right now, wittily weaving in contemporary and everlasting details. I’ll end with three of them:
I am gently furious there is so much to learn
[‘Lessons in gifting’]
the email thread isn’t a real thing
dining al desko isn’t a real thing
In the third decade of the twenty-first century
you have stopped shopping for clothes
there is a group chat for all mankind you are admin
[‘There is no word for this in German’]