Dorothy Parker

Most people don’t identify Dorothy Parker as a gay icon, but I think she should be.  Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American writer and poet, best known for her caustic wit, wisecracks, and sharp eye for 20th century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary output in such venues as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Her letters, short stories, and articles are all brilliantly witty and I strongly recommend her work!  She is probably best known for her witty remarks, which are some of my favorites.  She was the ultimate smartass, with a quick wit, and I only wish I was as great a wordsmith as she was.  Here are her top twenty quotes from Listverse, though I have revised it by substituting a few with my favorites that they did not mention (including the first):

  1. Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.
  2. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words.
  3. You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks.
  4. I’m never going to accomplish anything; that’s perfectly clear to me. I’m never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don’t do anything. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don’t even do that any more.
  5. I might repeat to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound — if I can remember any of the damn things.
  6. That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.
  7. I require only three things of a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.
  8. Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
  9. Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.
  10. The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed.’
  11. The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
  12. I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.
  13. All I need is room enough to lay a hat and a few friends.
  14. I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.
  15. Ducking for apples — change one letter and it’s the story of my life.
  16. I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.
  17. If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
  18. When asked to use the word horticulture during a game of Can-You-Give-Me-A-Sentence, Parker replied: You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.
  19. Of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, Parker said: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
  20. I’ve been too fucking busy – or vice versa. (in response to a letter from her editor asking for more stories during her honeymoon)

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

5 responses to “Dorothy Parker

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