Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guys and Dolls

An ongoing linguistic dilemma I have is how to generically refer to females of my rough age. "Girl" is inappropriate because they're adults. "Woman" seems overly formal and like they're middle-aged. For men, "guy" works really well, and I'm generally a proponent of converting "guy" into a gender neutral term (e.g., "the guys in my law school class" referring to everyone in the law school class, not just men). But others object to this. "Gal" is the obvious feminine counterpart to "guy", but I can't take "gal" seriously -- I feel like I'm in a Western movie.

So my co-clerk and I decided to go on Thesaurus.com and look for synonyms. Here's what we got for "gal":
babe, bimbo, chick, dame, dish, doll, doxy, female, floozy, gal , girl, honey, lady, lassie, miss, moll, skirt, sweet thing, tootsie.
By contrast, here's "guy":
bird, bloke, boy, brother, bud, buddy, cat, chap, chum, dude, feller, fellow, gentleman, individual, male, person.
So a "guy" is a "person," but a "gal" is a "bimbo." Okay then.

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