That Girl-Boy Thing


The race is on for every girl to achieve the perfect body, the perfect career the perfect boyfriend and ultimately all being well, a husband and baby. The trouble is, we are all racing against our biological clock. No one wants to hit their 40th Birthday and realise – Whoops! How exactly did that happen?

When wild-child London journalist Anna encounters drop-dead gorgeous Mark in the Tribeca Grill restroom, sparks explode. He thinks he’s found a strong, wild, independent, perfect woman, while Anna thinks she’s found a God Boy/Man. But while Anna’s still wondering whether Mark’s just for fun or for keeps…or whether he’s just too good to be true, she hit’s a pregnancy scare.

Anna is hit with the full force of her overpowering, interfering, eccentric, celebrity-chat-show-host mother (think Joan Rivers meets Ad Fab) obsessed with women achieving it all and a tangle of missteps, misunderstandings, dilemmas and desires. Suddenly Anna finds herself in the centre of a perfect Eggs-on-Ice storm.

How would you live your life if you could stop your biological clock? If you know that at anytime you could turn back time by freezing your eggs. Or can you? Anna takes us on a bumpy, hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always rewarding journey of discovery into what it means to be a twenty-something girl without children in the Big Apple.

One in five American women between the ages of forty and forty-four is childless. With half of those women saying they wish they could have children, Anna offers a message of fertility hope that even twenty-somethings who want to prolong their dating years do not need to fret.

That Girl-Boy Thing is Tyne O’Connell romantic comedy at full throttle – full of humour and emotional honesty, compassion and ultimately redemption.

My Mother tells me that Lingerie is my substitute for dating. I meet a nice pair of knickers on the sale table. I tell myself I’ll die if I don’t make them mine. I even fight another girl for them (well – they’re worth it) besides, they’ll make my Life complete in a way nothing else can. Even if they are a little on the small side. With my self-determined style, I’ll be able to transform them. posing in my knickers in the mirror for the first time, I decide we look great together. In the beginning it is true love – party after party I wash them tenderly by hand. After a while, though, we start staying in, eating popcorn by the television and clipping our nails. Soon I get bored and restless and start loitering with intent around the lingerie stores again. Eventually, despite the fun we’ve had together, I ruthlessly come to the deci1ion that they just don’t fit into my life anymore. They are too demanding.

Extract from the ‘New York Girl’ column of Anna Denier


Restaurant loos are the new cultural hot-spots, the new French cafés, the new chat rooms, the new members’ clubs of our time. Think about it; behind the lipstick and the spritzing, very important matters are discussed in restrooms – lives are changed even!

Decisions on whether to sleep with a guy, flirt with a guy or dump a guy are made. For instance, last night in the loo at the Tribeca Grill, someone asked me a question that really got me thinking about my future. ‘Do you know,’ they inquired, looking at me earnestly like they truly cared, ‘where you’re really going?’

Existential or what?

‘Hey, that’s not the sort of weighty issue you want to dive into when you’re dying for a waz,’ I told him, throwing the full force of my fatal charm at him.

Thing is, I’ve never really planned my future, see. When I was a teenager I couldn’t predict what I’d bedoing that night, let alone the rest of my life. And you know what, I like it that way. Once I know where I’m going it will mean that I’m, well, one of those grown-up people.

Actually, I think the guy was just wondering what a girl was doing in the men’s restroom, but still, it got me thinking. In fact, after a bit of light to medium flirting over by the basins, I dragged him home to help me with my ponderings.

Now, before you get the idea that I’m the sort of girl who hangs out in places like the Tribeca Grill and drags home guys I meet in restrooms all the time, the sort of girl with loads of money and sass, I’m going to have to disabuse you. I’m a weekly columnist, which is so last year I know, but, incredible as it seems, my opinions are highly valued and eagerly sought by millions. Which is kind of sad given that I live and work alone in a one-bedroom apartment on Hudson, wearing a tired old Wonderbra that has long since lost its wonder, an unlit Camel cigarette permanently glued to my lower lip (lighting them causes cancer, see), and a pair of faux fur cat’s ears I like to kid myself make me look cute.

A girl can dream.

These days people tell me I should give up wearing cigarettes, but I’m only twenty years old for heaven’s sake. okay, so twenty-something if we are going to split the atom. But still, that’s way too immature to start giving things up, especially if I’m going to live to be one hundred and thirty.

Sometimes I feel like an adolescent trapped in a body ageing without my consent – it’s as if life is passing me by and giving me the finger. Bald creepy men no longer forgive me quite so quickly when I accidentally spill my drink on them. Taxi drivers don’t ignore other people hailing them in order to stop for me. Barmen certainly don’t give me free drinks any more, and I’ve read the books and been to the chat rooms and it’s only going to get worse.

Other people notice the changes before you, apparently. You just start analysing stuff you once simply took for granted. Noticing things that you never noticed before, i.e. the self-help shelves at Borders. I never knew that you could Tap Into The Real You. I’m still not certain that there is a real me, and even if there is, I’m not sure we’d get on.

Suddenly, though, these self-help titles seem to be speaking directly to me, which is scary because you only have to look at the ends of my overly coloured hair to see that I am the last person who should be allowed to self-help. They should post staff at the self-help section to steer girls like me away. ‘Move along there, luv,’ the security guys should say. ‘Why don’t you go take a browse round the children’s books where you can’t hurt yourself?’

Since the guy last night in the toilet got me thinking, I’ve been trying to conjure up a long-term plan for my future; you know, something beyond waiting for a new ice-cream flavour to be invented or a hair bleach that doesn’t sting. I really should be channelling more enthusiasm into my career, I suppose. Get a plan. Get one of those life thingamees like that junkie in Trainspotting did. It’s just that I’m really busy and I don’t know where I’d fit a life into my schedule, along with all the other stuff like cocktails, shopping, openings and wishful thinking.

And anyway, my interest usually flags before I’ve finished my morning quad-shot latte. I just can’t see the point. Striving really takes it out of me, and do I even want a place in the East Hamptons overlooking Calvin Klein’s? I’ve got the underwear, isn’t that enough?

I’m so over upward mobility. I mean, what’s so great about being mobile? I really like staying still; wasting time lying in bed watching I Love Lucy for a day is my idea of heaven. And anyway, the traffic on the way to the E. Hamptons is merde.

Sienna, the girl who lives downstairs (real blonde, real breasts and v. pos. attitude), is on a quest for answers and fulfilment. That’s how she staves off disillusionment, she tells me.

But I’m not looking for a guru. I’m mainlining disillusionment quite happily. It’s one of the last vices still legal out there. And as for answers, I’m still struggling to find a decent question. Answers, along with cellulite, the United Nations and ‘isms’ generally, are v. last millennium, I tell Sienna. I also make a mental note to point this out to my readers in my next column. Questions are the new hope, I’ll tell them. Coming up with new questions, like why is it easier to get a gun than a Valium in this town? People need calming down more than they need a license to kill, surely?

Somedays, as I reposition a loose pad in my Wonderbra and munch into a bowl of Captain Crunch, I almost feel unworthy of the title Twenty-Something, conjuring as it does images of girls in charge of their destinies, girls who can talk their careers up at dinner parties, girls with throaty laughs, real-cleavage and functional relationships. Girls who eat salad – and mean it. Girls who would be able to answer the question ‘Where are you going?’ without pausing for breath.

Sienna and I talk about this stuff quite a bit because, despite our differences, we’re good for one another. For starters, no one else could tell me that I’m afraid of growing up and not get squirted with my Astro Girl water pistol.

I think she’s judging me by my apartment. A childsized one-bedroom on Hudson with Sesame Street foam flooring in the bathroom, floor-to-ceiling shoes in the bedroom, and loads of hip eighties designer ashtrays (and you thought there weren’t any). There are various accessories giving testimony to my madly delusional nature: a pair of black-feather angel’s wings here, an eight-inch-high pair of joggers there, and a box of Lego in a corner. Framed pictures of Ernie, Miss Piggy and Alice in Wonderland represent my mentors. It’s not that I loved my childhood so much that I didn’t want to let it go. Quite the opposite really, it’s my childhood that dug its claws into me!

Another thing that my life is littered with is exes. Ex-bosses, ex-parents, ex-agents, ex-boyfriends, exfads. I’m always escaping from the grasp of love, jobs, bills and savings plans. I sense an adult aspiration coming on and I move town – well, that’s my mother’s story. Sienna shakes her head at this. She wants kids, commitment and immortality (in that order). There is so much we don’t share.

Apart from the fear that my Madeleine doll might abandon me for my own offspring, I don’t actually think kids these days are looking for a girl like me to nurture them through their formative years. I’m way too immature for motherhood.

I still sniff those perfume peel-backs in magazines. I still read Vogue while sitting on the toilet.

I still dream of driving down Fifth Avenue in the Pope-mobile. (It just looks so cool and safe.)

I still believe that a new bra really could change my life.

I still have casual sex. (Last night, for instance.)

I still haven’t arrived at the January sales on time yet. And what kid wants to depend on a girl like me on parent and teacher nights?

My friends back in London on the other hand have started grabbing unsuitable partners and charging down the aisle like lemmings. Some of them are already pregnant which is depressing.

It was this increasing ratio of married-with-hope-of-kids-in-the-future friendships that provoked my move away from London, where I’d been living since I was sixteen. If the girls that made Notting Hill all it was were giving up casual sex and martinis, I was out of there. New city, new job, new apartment, new friends, new bills, new lovers. I’m a bit like one of those guys who sell their car because the ashtray’s full.

But enough of me. Fact is, I’ve scored. Yeah, me, the original short-straw-puller in romance, dragged home the sort of guy every girl alive fantasises about. Seriously, if he was ever strapped for cash – which he isn’t by the way – he could score a part on All My Children. Don’t laugh, it’s true. I am looking at the proof right now – an indent beside me on the bed. I can hear the shower going so he’s still here, in my Girl Zone. I reach out and put my hand on the sheet to absorb the molecules of his presence. Comforted, I fall back into a deep sleep.

‘Just when you thought you had seen it all on Sex In The City, Tyne O’Connell wades in with this tale of wild child English columnist on the loose in New York who hitches up with a cautious American lawyer. Mark has thus far managed to resist the siren call of love, but Anna, with her spray on dress and a shoe-box Everest in the bedroom, has got him completely hooked. And then there is a pregnancy scare. Who is going to run first – Mark or Anna?’ – Marie Claire

‘Wickedly Funny’ – Publishing News

That Girl-Boy Thing

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