For Caitlin Moran it was Something About Mary which pushed her from successful music journalist, TV reviewer and columnist to being an ardent feminist rallying other people (men and women) to do something in the name of equality. In the movie the joke is on Cameron Diaz who is such a stupid little woman that she doesn’t know what semen looks like and uses it as hair gel. Moran couldn’t believe this (and neither can I – I’ve never seen the movie, the whole hoo-haa about this movie completely passed me by so the whole semen hair gel thing was news to me) and argues that if they were going to go for honesty then she would have accidently run her hair with menstrual blood. But this would never happen in a movie because it’s a movie and in movies women don’t bleed once a month (they also don’t in Twilight but that’s a whole other can of worms).
Thus begins Moran’s part stand-up, part reading, part musing and part inspirational show How To Build A Girl which coincides with the release of her first novel of the same name. It was probably the funniest few hours of my life. Moran is funny, achingly honest, funny, intelligent, and very, very funny. There was one story about moon cups and sometimes how unsuitable they are at doing their job (in Richard Cutis’ guesthouse no less) – there was blood everywhere. She almost broke into Kate Mosse’s house while trying to find Benedict Cumberbatch (also period mishap in his house – twice) and chain smoked the night away with Courtney Love, the woman Moran said helped her when she was a child. It was Courtney Love’s voice which got her through her first meeting as a 13 year old. Now she has Lorraine Kelly in her head, a woman who really appreciates a good cup of tea.
She read from both How To Be A Woman and How To Build A Girl and the latter was a short passage about Al a very well-endowed gentleman (‘I felt like a snake wrangler on Blue Peter’ says the main character) and how to make sex with a man like that a lot easier on the body. It was at this point that everyone, Moran included, was in stitches. Especially when she started demonstrating what she was reading.
What she said about the Welfare State and the benefits her family received when she was younger was really poignant. Her parents had 8 children when they couldn’t afford it. She doesn’t know why but the State made sure that their mistakes weren’t passed down to her or her siblings. The slate was made clean for them, all because of the money the State gave. She and all her siblings pay tax and have paid the state back, multiple fold. This led to a very interesting debate on the working class and what actually makes someone working class. There wasn’t a resolution to this but it’s something interesting to think about. I consider myself working class because I have been working since I was of legal age. But am I actually middle class because I have an education? Is having an education something only reserved for the middle classes? I don’t think so.
The show ends with my favourite bit – a woman so comfortable with her body and skin and tummy fat that she makes us all love ourselves (and her) a little more. Once it was over we all had the chance to get our books signed. And this is when you realise just how generous Moran is. I have been to a fair few book signings and never before has anyone hugged and kissed me when it was my turn to get How To Build A Girl signed. And this wasn’t one of those ridiculous limp-handshake sort of hugs, but a proper bear hug. And it was so appreciated.
This show, this whole evening was all kinds of brilliant. Even more than before I can’t wait to read the book.