How “Oh Well, Girl” Became A Life Mantra

Like so many of my favorite moments, it began in a car filled with rugby women.

I wasn’t even there, and yet that road trip resulted in what is undoubtedly the single most perspective-granting, oft-repeated phrase of my life.

“Oh Well, Girl”: The Backstory

En route to a match, a stranger in another car suddenly sliced across several lanes of traffic on the freeway, cutting off a carload of my teammates.

Everyone knows there’s only one thing to do in that situation: You mean-mug the hell out of the infringer. You glare your fool face off, maybe even shake a fist to convey your dismay.

So that’s what they did…to zero effect.

“She kind of ‘bopped’ her shoulders at us like ‘Oh well, girl’ and drove off. All we could do was crack up for hours afterward,” said Ashley Nesby.

Life’s too short. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Oh well, girl.

The sentiment was coined in that moment by Maya Camille Winters, one of my best friends and longtime training partners. The former national strongman champ has a knack for saying insightful, incisive, hilarious things at exactly the right moment. (“Can I get an, ‘Oh well, girl’?” she rallied from atop a dining room chair in my house later the same night. “OH WELL, GIRL!” chorused the team in response.)

[That’s Maya on the left, just after crushing a strongman event at Emily Socolinsky’s gym, FiveX3, in Baltimore.]

It became a team mantra and in-joke that’s lasted 8 years and counting.

The phrase is appropriate anytime a situation called for a little perspective, grace, and humor.

In a world filled with actual problems, such as rampant sexism, racism, homophobia, and economic disparity, it acknowledges with grace and humor how big of a deal most things aren’t.

In written form, “Oh well, girl” has since been shortened to OWG (or OWB, depending on the gender of the subject), and evolved into something of a game, with the last letter rotating to suit whatever situation is at hand.

Can’t get tickets to an event? OWT.

Miss a workout? OWW.

Burn dinner? OWD.

This turn of phrase has since spread like wildfire through nearly every friend group I’m a part of. We say it at work, we say it at home, we say it to people who aren’t even in on the joke (yet).

And so, mid-text-conversation with Neghar Fonooni the other night, when she said, “Let’s take a break to admire this incredibly flattering screenshot of my backside,” we laughed and said OWG.

“I have booty rolls,” she wrote to me. “So what? I can look at this picture objectively and think, ‘I don’t actually LOVE what I see, but I don’t hate it either.’ Because let’s be honest — what’s the alternative?”

What I like about Neghar is that, even when things aren’t “perfect” — and often times, even when they’re downright hard she chooses to laugh.

OWG indeed.

None of us are perfect. Nothing is perfect.

That’s life.

And oh well, girl, it’s perfect.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you where the screenshot Neg’s text was taken from. It’s from her 21-day yoga program called Wildfire  21 days of 5- to 8-minute mini-flows (the videos are yours to keep forever, to be clear).

The flows are excellent, and just the right fit for people who want to do yoga but don’t want to carve out tons of time for it (ahem, for people like me…and you?). The thematic flows in Wildfire, (such as “Courage,” “Freedom,” and “Grace”) are a great place to start and finish, and they’re designed to complement any lifting program.


Author:Jen Sinkler

Fitness writer and editor, workout connoisseur, meditator, proponent of spandex, former rugby player; never, ever without lip gloss.
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