Sloane Crosley: 'I might say I had a girl crush on Tina Fey, but not on AS Byatt'

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Unless we're talking about old-school, witchcraft-trial violence, can we please phase out the phrase "girl crush"? While we're at it, if we can axe "like, total girl crush" unless Total Girl Crush is the name of a fizzy soft drink, in which case I'll take two, thank you. A Twitter and Facebook favourite, "girl crush" has been the primary means of lady-on-lady compliment over the past few years. Now that 2011 has begun, I say this is the year women take a non-heeled stand against this oddly undercutting and twee acclamation.

Admittedly, it comes from a good place. When a woman wants to compliment someone she admires in a concise manner, using these two simple words will do the trick. Unfortunately, it's used so much that it either looses its meaning or becomes demeaning. There's something weak and self-hobbling about our inability to just say we respect, admire or even love the work of a public figure. Do we have to turn into giddy, pig-tailed does in order to express excitement?

If "crush" is too fun to let go of, let's just lose the gender, then. It's oddly lazy and caging to the recipient. I might say I had a girl crush on Natalie Portman or Tina Fey, but probably not on Meryl Streep or AS Byatt. At what age and level of success do our celebrities graduate in our minds? Can women accept women as talented if their work is meaningful but not personal? It seems to me that "girl crushes" are only to be applied to those with whom I think I'd be friends, but the phrase is abused when it encompasses anyone with talent and breasts.

Of course, the often-homophobic, English-speaking world avoids men having "guy crushes". But at least one good thing has come of it: when men want to compliment other men, they are forced to do so in a slightly less clichéd manner. If the band was good, they have to tell you why. If their favourite team has a new player that sets their dude hearts a-flutter, they must describe his skills. Granted, these compliments often take the form of half-grunts on a bar stool... but at least you get the sense they're earnt.

Sloane Crosley is the author of 'How Did You Get This Number' (Portobello Books)

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