Tallulah Pomeroy is an English writer, illustrator, and artist whose work has been published by Ugly Duckling Presse. Now she lives in a van in Bristol, UK, making bowls and drawings. She is the in-house illustrator at Catapult magazine.
Don't miss news & events from Soft Skull. Subscribe to the newsletter today.
"A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene is everything I never knew I wanted: a disgusting, hilarious, and honest book that pays tribute to the female body and all of its habits and suppurations. It is delightfully and uncomfortably relatable and I love it with my whole self—heart, sweat, bowels, and all."—Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
We sniff our knickers; we bite our own toenails; we laboriously dig out ingrown hairs: Women aren't as ladylike as people would like to imagine. Using anecdotes collected from hundreds of anonymous sources, this gleefully disgusting illustrated book rewrites our definition of femininity.
One day, the artist Tallulah Pomeroy overhead a conversation between two girls about another friend of theirs they knew in college. Apparently, when this friend had been on tour with the rugby team, she'd drunkenly 'done a shit in the sink.' 'She's not a girl if she did that,' said one to the other. 'She may have a vagina, but she's not a girl.'
This exchange made Tallulah laugh, but it also made her think. How many things had her friends done that meant they 'weren't girls?' She made a Facebook group and asked people to submit stories about their 'unladylike' behaviors. The page was soon flooded with more stories than she could have ever imagined: about ear wax and trapped wind, gray pubes and bloody pajamas. It became a community of honest, funny, and supportive women, who, by admitting to things they'd thought were shameful, no longer had to feel ashamed.
For A Girl's Guide to Personal Hygiene, Tallulah made original illustrations to accompany a selection of those Facebook posts—plus dozens more from an expanded call for submissions—to create an exuberant and galvanizing handbook for all the nasty women of the world.