Words: skank, n.

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The Independent Online
NEW YORK singles bars are not always as blistering as in Judith Rossner's excellent novel Looking For Mr Goodbar. In the New York Free Press Amy Sohn gives a brilliantly romantic account of events going right ("his biceps gleamed in the moonlight") - that is, after putting the guy down, "no skank appeared".

Ms Sohn admits having coined words in her time. This one exists, sometimes as skanky: the etymology is diverse, from cheap Twenties heroin to the gyrating Sixties music ska. It is distinct from skunk, and suggests a reluctant insult.

A first novel by Ms Sohn - Run Catch Kiss - is out in America next summer, the heroine a sex columnist who cannot get a date as men fear becoming copy. She is set fair to be the thinking person's Bridget Jones.

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