Half the world cannot
understand the pleasures of the other.
- Jane Austen, "Emma"
"We certainly do not
forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than
our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined,
and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always
a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back
into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken
- Anne, on whether a woman's love outlasts a man's, in Jane Austen's "Persuasion"
"Women are of two sorts:
some of them are wiser, better learned, discreeter, and more constant than
a number of men ; but another and worse sort of them are fond, foolish,
wanton, flibbergibs, tattlers, triflers, wavering, witless, without council,
feeble, careless, rash, proud, dainty, tale-bearers, eavesdroppers, rumour-raisers,
evil-tongued, worse-minded, and in everyway doltified with the dregs of
the devil's dunghill."
- John Alymer, Bishop of London (1577), sermon before Queen Elizabeth I
"Nobody will ever win
the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy."
- Henry Kissinger
Almost as complicated
as a woman. Except it's on time.
- Advertisement for IWC watches in "The Spectator"
"There is no female
Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper."
- Camille Paglia
"Well behaved women
rarely make history."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
There are a number
of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women.
Chief among them is the Mercedes-Benz 380SL convertible.
- PJ O'Rourke.
I had this Geography
teacher, Miss Foster. She took us on a school summer camp trip to the Ganwee.
I had the tent next to hers, right. And in the middle of the night I was
woken up by this really weird noise. She didn't think men were better than
- Lister, "Red Dwarf"
"I'd like sex to become
an Olympic sport, just so we could see what the East Germans would come
- Robin Williams (paraphrased)
"Selling is legal.
Sex is legal. How can selling sex be illegal?"
- George Carlin
"I don't pay prostitutes
for sex. I pay them to go away afterwards."
- Charlie Sheen
"You get slapped a
lot but you get f****d a lot too."
- Warren Beatty, on his 'upfront' seduction technique
That gentlemen prefer
blondes is due to the fact that, apparently, pale hair, delicate skin and
an infantile expression represent the very apex of frailty which every
man longs to violate.
- Alexander King
I could point out that,
to judge from the covers of countless women's magazines, the two topics
most interesting to women are (1) Why men are all disgusting pigs, and
(2) How to attract men.
- Dave Barry
If a woman has to choose
between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose
to save the infant's life without even considering if there are men on
- Dave Barry
"Boys enjoy shooting
things in the same way girls like pink."
- James Holland, author of the "Sergeant Jack Tanner" series
"Do you throw like
"No, I wouldn’t go that far. Not like a girl. Maybe like a lesbian."
- Chris Rock, in an interview with "Newsweek"
"We got a talk about
it at school. There's lots of stuff most girls can't do, but you've got
to pretend they can, so that more of them will."
- Sexism explained in Terry Pratchett's "Only You Can Save Mankind"
"How do you write women
"I think of men, and I take away reason and accountability."
- Fan & Melvin, "As Good As It Gets"
It is a known fact
that men are practical, hardheaded realists, in contrast to women, who
are romantic dreamers and actually believe that estrogenic skin cream must
do something or they couldn't charge sixteen dollars for that little tiny
- Jane Goodsell
All women should know
how to take care of children. Most of them will have a husband some day.
- Franklin P. Jones
Watching men beat themselves
up about being men was one of the more entertaining sideshows of the early
1990s. Sometimes I get all wistful for those days that are gone by. Not
that I actually liked or trusted many New Man. I entertained a niggling
suspicion that the New Man's public proclamation of his intrinsic unworthiness
would inevitably turn out brilliantly to his advantage in the end.
- Lynne Truss, "A Fanfare to the New Man", "Perfect Pitch"
The trouble with being
a young female is that you have to sound like Hermione Grainger in the
classroom and look like Beyonce on a night out. This standard of perfection
is so excessive that it's taking a terrible toll.
- Medb Ruane, "The Irish Independent"
Once upon a time, little
boys wanted to be engine drivers and little girls wanted to be nurses.
Now they can be both. They can join a Big Five accountancy firm and run
trains and hospitals at the same time.
- Simon Jenkins, "The London Times"
If a woman can win
a war, what can she not do?
- Charles Moore, on Margaret Thatcher's victory in the Falklands War, "The Spectator"
An unemployed boyfriend
is like a free PA.
- Ariel Leve
A bachelor is a selfish, undeserving guy who has cheated some woman out of a divorce.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's character in "Zelda"
No man should marry until he had studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.
Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.
- Katharine Hepburn
Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats.
- Richard Gordon
A man who has no office to go to - I don't care who he is - is a trial of which you can have no conception.
A team at Duke University,
in the USA, used game show "The Weakest Link" to look for evidence of discrimination
against women and blacks. The game involves contestants making judgments
about each other. In fact, they found no evidence of the forms of prejudice
they were looking for, but they did find some pretty virulent discrimination
by women against men.
- Bryan Appleyard, "The Times"
Listen, I understand,
women have been discriminated against and have had an uphill climb towards
equality. But is the only way to level the playing field to have every
guy on TV be a fat idiot barely capable of getting food into his mouth
without being the brunt of a joke at his level of intelligence? I mean,
there's a lot of idiots out there, but guys did make a few contributions
to the world (like the polio vaccine and Doritos). Next time you watch
the Simpsons, take a good hard look at Homer and then at your own father
or husband (or self). I'm sure you'll see some differences! (And if you
don't, please rush that person to the hospital immediately. They probably
have some sort of liver disorder that's turning them yellow).
- Jay Black on the fat guy\hot wife syndrome on American TV, "TV Squad"
Snoring matters. There
is a mass of evidence that heavy snoring is a common cause of marital discord,
divorce or the end of otherwise happy partnerships. In some types of snoring,
those coupled with sleep apnoea, both partners are not at their best next
day, their tempers are short and their work suffers. The most serious consequence
of regularly disturbed nights is that there is a proven increase in road
accidents during the day following a disturbed night. Five years ago a
review of marital sleeping arrangements showed that neither sharing a bed,
nor even a room necessarily contributed to making a happy marriage. If
either one of the partners was a heavy snorer the marriage was happier
when they slept apart.
- Dr Thomas Stuttaford's medical advice column in "The Times"
Within their own sex,
men bond more easily than women, but women bond more effectively. At a
gathering, men will invite a stranger they've just met to play football
with them, but women won't ask an acquaintance to shop with them. Those
men will, at most, remain football buddies. But women will always have
someone to go to the bathroom with.
- David Fuhrmann-Lim, What Men Learn From The Women They Love, Her World, Dec 97
"He’s the only politician
who, when I stand next to him, gives me body envy."
- Tony Blair, about Arnold Schwarzenegger
My tastes must be behind
the times. When I see women in "before" and "after" advertisements, I often
think they looked better before.
- Thomas Sowell
The key to seeing that
women only care about what other women think can be found in the clothes
that they wear and no man finds sexy. Women dress for other women. This
means that they are just as much slaves to fashion but are no longer seen
as 'sex objects'.
- John Masterson, "The Irish Independent"
Celebrities love getting
their mugs and jugs on our front pages. To do so, they must fulfil a combination
of the following criteria: they must be stunning; about to break up; anorexic;
have hideous dress sense; be on drugs; having an affair or getting married.
And when it comes to the red carpet, they must wear something a bit risque,
or risk being forgotten. Last Monday at the premiere of Pirates of the
Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest , Keira Knightley wowed the crowd in her slinky
Gucci number revealing her skeletal frame... Ask any guy which he prefers,
and you'll doubt your curves no more. Lads' magazines are full of fit young
girls with big boobs, curvy hips and bums. Women's magazines are filled
with no-boobed skeletons. What's that all about?
- Emman Nolan, "The Irish Independent"
"I'm a woman, I have
curves. I'm not a supermodel. I'm 5'4 and I like my dinner."
- Grainne Seoige, TV Newsreader, interviewed in "The Irish Independent"
"What women are striving
for is to look better than the next person; we are all in competition with
each other — far more so than with Nicole Kidman. The majority of us realise
that we'll never look as good as the celebrities, so we choose to outshine
our nearest rivals."
- Dr Kerri McPherson, interviewed in "The Observer"
Most adult women are
on some kind of unnecessary permanent diet, while their young daughters
are falling prey to anorexia and bulimia... If fashion isn’t to blame,
who is? Well, we are. The fashion industry hasn’t changed; we have. It
is a fact of life that models have always been a) thin and b) young. The
difference is that, until recently, people understood that models were
working women doing a job, that they made sacrifices, most obviously when
it came to not eating very much, and were richly rewarded for it. Nobody
in their right mind wanted to be these women: they admired them in the
pages of a glossy magazine and admired the clothes they wore, and then
forgot about them and got on with their lives. Models occupied the same
rarefied stratosphere as movie stars. Women used to be able to separate
real life from airbrushed fantasy. We can’t any more. The problem is getting
worse because the demarcations between ordinary life and the lives of a
handful of celebrities have become completely eroded.
- India Knight, "The Times"
The thing about being
single is that it is incredibly hard work. I was reminded of this the other
night when a girlfriend was moaning that endless Christmas parties had
taken their toll and she just wished she could have one night at home with
a mug of tea, a takeaway and something mindless on the telly. Easily arranged,
I said, just don’t go out. I do it all the time. But apparently not. "I
have to put myself out there," she said, miserably, "otherwise who knows
what — or who — I may be missing out on." This struck me as a) true and
b) an absolutely exhausting way of living your life. It’s so demanding
at every level: you have to look fabulous and your conversation has to
be sparkling all day, every day. The alternative — opting out of your own
shop window — means, as another girlfriend once explained, that you can
go from Friday night to Monday morning without addressing another human
- India Knight, "The Times"
That . . . man . . . says women can't have as much rights as men, `cause Christ wasn't a woman. . . where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him."
"You usually suck at
being a girl..."
- Tim to Brennan, "Bones"
"There are quite a
number of ways that men judge their relative maleness with respect to other
men... Muscles, income, cars, attractive mates, tolerance to alchohol,
hair loss, and of course the size of sexual organs."
- Sully to Brennan, "Bones"
"If I don't do something
about that website, I'm going to have to move to Pennsylvania and chase
- Charlie, finding out about CharlieHarperSucks.com, "Two and a Half Men"
"She'd have to be really
pretty, like a ten, and really young, like a twenty."
- Alan, accepting Charlie's offer to be fixed-up to impress his ex, "Two and a Half Men"
"That'd be like taking
advantage of a mentally disadvantaged person."
"Come on Alan, that boat has already sailed... You may aswell hop on board for a farewell cruise..."
- Alan, to Charlie, the devil on his shoulder, "Two and a Half Men"
"I understand completely."
"Nah, I'm just trying to be supportive."
- Charlie and Mia, "Two and a Half Men"
"I'm working for Caligula."
- Berta, cleaning up after Charlie's party, "Two and a Half Men"
"When a woman behaves
like a man, why doesn't she behave like a nice man?"
- Edith Evans
"Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else -- and it hasn't -- it's that girls should stick to girls' sports, such as hot-oil wrestling, foxy boxing, and such-and-such."
- Patrick Raggett, recalling his progression through puberty, "Perfect Pitch"
A young man may prefer
to let his fancy lightly turn to thoughts of love from afar rather than
risk the savage humiliation of rebuff through his own unattractiveness.
- Richard Gordon, "The Alarming History of Sex"
For Princes Wills and
Harry, life is mapped out and the years before the 28th birthday are given
over to the energetic and relentless flinging about of royal seed, preferably
on the stoniest of ground.
- Rod Liddle, "The Spectator"
If a man is standing in the middle of a forest, and he says something, and there's no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?
- Rodney Dangerfield
A man is in general better pleased when he has a good dinner upon his table, than when his wife talks Greek.
Whether speaking in
French or English, French women and their dreamy accents just turn my legs
to jelly. Freud would probably blame it all on my hearing Vanessa Paradis
singing "Joe le Taxi" in 1987.
- Darragh McManus, "The Evening Herald"
"Never marry a woman
who has bigger feet than you."
- Mozambique saying
Men are amused by almost
any idiot thing - that is why professional ice hockey is so popular - so
buying gifts for them is easy. But you should never buy them clothes. Men
believe they already have all the clothes they will ever need, and new
ones make them nervous. For example, your average man has 84 ties, but
he wears, at most, only three of them. He has learned, through humiliating
trial and error, that if he wears any of the other 81 ties, his wife will
probably laugh at him ("You're not going to wear THAT tie with that suit,
are you?"). So he has narrowed it down to three safe ties, and has gone
several years without being laughed at. If you give him a new tie, he will
pretend to like it, but deep inside he will hate you.
- Dave Barry (?)
My girlfriend was saying
to me, "Listen, you've got to widen your cultural horizons". Well, I'm
paraphrasing, what she actually said was: "I'm not watching any more *******
films with men trying to escape from aeroplanes. That's it."
- Dara O'Briain, explaining why he went to the theatre
I introduced my girlfriend
to the family, and that was quite easy. I find the hardest thing to do
when you start out on a new relationship is introducing your girlfriend
to your mates... You just suddenly realise your mates are all p****s. You
just never noticed before.
- Ed Byrne
Lads know when they
fall in love with someone... You get that thing that you don't want them
to feel any kind of pain whatsover. I get this from my girlfriend, if she
falls over and cuts her knee or something, I wish it hadn't happened. I
almost wish it had happened to me instead... I wish I felt her pain for
her — rather than her ******* moan about it.
- Ed Byrne
Match.com is defending
a lawsuit over "date bait" — creating fake flirty e-mails to keep paying
customers from canceling their accounts, as well as allegedly sending actual
employees on dates to pose as members. And Yahoo Personals is defending
a class-action suit for allegedly creating phony profiles to "generate
interest, public trust and give the site a much more attractive and functional
appearance." Both companies deny any wrongdoing.
- from "Slate Magazine"
How does a guy become
'deeply weird'? Well opinions vary but usually there are several societal
factors. Parental oddities, stress, strict religious upbringing,
and a couple of freak nasty girlfriends are usually involved.
"Faking is kind to
male partners... Otherwise they, too, may become anxious and so less able
to perform. Do yourself and him a favour, sister: fake it."
- Fay Weldon, with some unexpected advice in "What Makes Women Happy"
Jump on the Grenade
: Noble and selfless act whereby a bloke cops off with an ugly bird solely
to enable his friend to pull her fit mate.
- From the Viz "Profanisaurus"
If you turn me down
now, I will become more drunk than you can possibly imagine.
- Chat up line from "BBSPot.Com"
"Dancing: A naval engagement
without loss of seamen."
- Caller on Irish Radio Station RTE
"I am like a wizard
who has forgotten what to do with his wand. You should show me what to
do with it."
- David Blunkett, alleged chatup line
Man: "Want to Dance?"
Woman: "No, thank you."
Man: "Don't thank me, thank God because somebody asked you."
"I may not be the best
looking guy in here, but I'm the only one talking to you."
- How to chat up a girl, or get killed...
I was 18, she was 30,
her daughter was 14. Just felt weird.
- from the "Strangest girl you have ever pulled" on F365 forum
I once broke up with
a girl because the average rainfall in Cape Town is highest in the month
of June. That was pretty weird.
- CarTree, on the Football365 Forum
Slightly weird that
most of these stories regard women acting as mental stalkers, yet some
of you on here are trying to glean a scribbled out phone number from a
picture which has clearly been drawn by someone who is hatstand partridge
- from the "Strangest girl you have ever pulled" on F365 forum
"I did not say you
'You look ridiculous in that bikini'. I said 'That bikini looks ridiculous
on you'. You've taken it the wrong way as usual."
- from "This Life" in Dublin's "Metro"
Two men are playing golf. One is about to chip on to the green when he sees a long funeral procession on the road next to the course. He stops in mid-swing, takes off his golf cap, closes his eyes, and bows his head in prayer. His friend says: "Wow, that is the most thoughtful and touching thing I have ever seen. You truly are a kind man." Resuming his stance, he replies: "Yeah, well we were married for 35 years."
# MODERN MANNERS
The idea of male gallantry
makes many women nervous, suggesting (as it does) that women require special
protection. It implies the sexes are objectively different. It tells us
that some things are best left to men. Gallantry is a virtue that dare
not speak its name.
- Christina Hoff Sommers, reviewing "Manliness" by Harvey Mansfield
"If we only had knights
still. Long haired men, sworn to protect the weak and fight for those unable
to fight for themselves. But No! Men aren't going to aspire to knighthood
without the glamour. And nowadays doing good has hardly any kudos — anything
more than apathy is taken for fanaticism and anyone who gets involved in
stuff risks being seen as a bit crackpot. Doing good would've been more
tempting if they got to wear armour again."
"They might still be seen as a bit crackpot."
- from The Metro's "Nemi" cartoon
"You can either be
ladies, or people, but not both. If you want to be treated as equal, then
you can hold your own damn door!"
- Quentin Crisp
In these days of so-called
equal opportunities, it seems to me that some women are adopting an à
la carte approach to women's rights and civil equality, asserting their
rights when it suits them and reverting back to another century when it
doesn't. Every day I commute on the train from Fife to work in Edinburgh.
And every day the train is packed to capacity with scores of passengers
being forced to stand due to the chronic shortage of carriages.
Last week, however, events took a nasty turn when I was angrily harangued by a 30-something female passenger, for not doing the "gentlemanly thing" and giving up my seat. My response: "You're joking, aren't you? What? You want my seat and the right to vote? Forget it." This was not well received and resulted in other female passengers interjecting and saying how rude I was. Like many men, I often give up my seat for passengers who have a genuine need — pregnant women, elderly, and visually impaired passengers, for example. These are valuable commodities on busy commuter trains But give up my seat purely because someone is female? Dream on. It seems to me that these complaining women are the same verbose characters who would are the first to sound off about women's rights and equality of opportunity on issues like equal pay, equal pensions and such like. I'm all for equal rights. But not special rights. People like this want to have their cake and eat it.
- Paul Anderson, with a post on the BBC Website
The bizarre journey
which feminism has recently taken involves the infantilisation of adult
females. Instead of women being viewed as strong and resilient as men,
which was surely the raison d'etre of the women's movement, many feminists
and government quangoes now work on the principle that women are a particularly
vulnerable species requiring special protection from word and deed, even
as in the same breath insisting on equal rights between the sexes. And
in the absence of being able to define what they are trying to protect
women from, they have conjured up that marvellously meaningless adjectival
- Kevin Myers, "The Irish Independent"
of Women: At the risk of being accused of nursing an unhealthy interest
in this whole zone, I note that you can now be dubbed a "Lolita" by the
tabloid press at age 17. By age 17, the actual Lolita was married and with
child, as were a great many other American women of that age at that time
- John Derbyshire, "National Review"
However much most people
claim to hate cliched break-up lines, there has to be a reason why "It's
not you, it's me" has become as ubiquitous a phrase a relationship catchphrase
as "I love you". So I decided to dissect some of the most popular relationship-ending
lines to decipher their real meaning. The trick is to focus not on what
your partner is saying, but on what they are trying to hide. Unfortunately,
for most of us, the sentence "I need some space" generally ends with "to
sleep with other people". Likewise, "We need to slow down", is missing
the ending, "so I can keep my options open, in case somebody more interesting/hotter/richer
comes along". Telling a white lie to help initiate a break-up can even
save the dumpee a lot of time and heartache. My friend L found out the
hard way that when her boyfriend of eight years said "I don't want to get
married", he meant he didn't want to marry her. Three months after she
threw him out he was on his honeymoon with someone else.
- Catherine Townsend
I've always known that
women dress for other women, and most men are happy when a girl shows up
for a date with a bit of cleavage and a smile. But this spring, it seems
that the dichotomy between what women consider fashion-forward and what
men find sexy is more obvious than ever. "I just went out with a gorgeous
girl with a lovely figure, but it seemed as if she was trying to make herself
as hideous as possible," says my friend Mark. "Puffy pink skirts and bright
green leggings are not whimsical and quirky," he added, "they scare the
hell out of men."
- Catherine Townsend, in Dublin's "Evening Herald"
Watching Sex and the
City again, I now feel able to say that the adoption of Carrie, Miranda,
Charlotte and Samantha as role models, heroines, icons of empowerment and
whatever else they were claimed to be was one of the greatest acts of collective
madness the world has ever seen. Carrie is a 38-year-old woman who spends
all her income on clothes and shoes. Whenever a man comes within 40ft,
she turns into a simpering, hair-twirling, eyelash-fluttering fool, behaving
in a manner that would disgrace a 50s teenager.
- Lucy Mangan, "The Guardian"
Only 30 years ago,
Ariel Levy says, our mothers were burning their bras and picketing Playboy.
Now we are getting implants and wearing the bunny logo as supposed symbols
of our liberation. If male chauvinist pigs were men who regarded women
as pieces of meat, she says, today's women have decided to outdo them and
be female chauvinist pigs: women who make sex objects of other women and
- Amelia Hill, reviewing "Female Chauvinist Pigs", "The Observer"
Thanks to feminist
doctrines that pervade education from kindergarten through graduate school,
men and women increasingly believe that the sexes are largely identical.
Therefore, the arenas wherein women can feel and demonstrate their feminine
distinctiveness have narrowed appreciably. By showing more of their bodies,
women can announce that they are women. Thus, many women are now saying:
"I am a woman. And I will declare it in one of the only ways left to me
— I will show you my female body." Today, instead of women wearing feminine
clothing, they either wear essentially male clothing (such as pants and
pants suits) or flesh-baring sexually provocative clothing. Feminine attire
— i.e., clothing that is very female but not very revealing — is rare.
Women derive power from feminine roles, and men derive power from masculine roles. At the core of feminism is an envy of male roles and power and a belief that women should have the same. With no feminine role to aspire to, many young women feel powerless. The one area of power left for them is sexual. Women feel freer than ever to dress provocatively in part because men can say nothing about it. Omnipresent sexual harassment laws and "consciousness raising" seminars in businesses and schools have frightened men into not making any sexual comments to a woman. As a result, the normal check on a woman flaunting her body is gone. A woman can reveal her breasts or cross her short-skirted legs near a man, but he is forbidden to say so much as, "You have great legs." In fact, he can be fired or sued for saying nothing and merely "staring." One reason women dressed more modestly in the past was fear of men's verbal reactions. No more. There are vast checks on his sexuality, none on hers. If men create a sexually charged work environment when they talk sex, women do the same when they show sex. "Hostile work environment" — a trial lawyer enrichment program created by feminist anger at men — should be either dropped as a legal concept or applied equally to women's dress.
Every woman knows that the quickest way to attract a man is to have him notice her. So it makes sense to assume that the more of her body she shows, the more men will be attracted to her. The problem with this approach is that unless all she wants is sex that night, provocative outfits are not usually in her best interest. It is doubtful that women have ever been as naive about men as are large numbers of contemporary educated women. I believe that my grandmother who never went to school understood men better than the average female college graduate today. The more skin men see, the more they think sex, not love. If you want love and attention, you have to know the difference between dressing for sex and dressing to be cute and attractive
- Dennis Prager, on 'raunch' culture, in a syndicated column
Parents of girls tell
me it’s a struggle to find simple, age-appropriate attire for the under-16
set. Sadly, little tart clothes are out there in abundance. Whatever we
may think of immodesty in grown women, there is little doubt that it is
disgusting, demeaning, and depraved in little girls. It’s interesting that
this subject, the sexualization of children, is condemned by both the Left
and Right. But not surprisingly, we blame different agents. Liberal parents
who detest the tart culture tend to blame business... The conservative
perspective is that popular culture, in all its crudeness, is the output
of liberals. It is liberalism that for decades has rejected any protest
as 'censorship' or 'McCarthyism'.
- Mona Charen, "National Review"
Dublin, where I visited
with my wife last week for a TV appearance, has just had its coldest and
rainiest summer in 50 years. But you'd hardly know it given how the women
dress at night. The lively city center, with its myriad pubs and clubs,
is filled with guys standing with their pints of Guinness, and women walking
around as if they were at the beach. Why, when the men dress with jackets
and long sleeves to shelter themselves from the cold do the women wear
skirts and blouses that expose almost every inch of flesh? Well, it's all
about advertising. A shop's windows will display its most attractive wares.
Women, likewise, put on display what they believe the men will most value:
their bodies. And since it is she who shows the most product who will attract
the most customers, it is no wonder that women in our time are fast becoming
all cover and no book... An even bigger surprise, however, was the loutish
behavior of many women as they ran around in packs like loud hooligans,
trying to attract as much attention as possible.
- Shumley Boteach, "The Jerusalem Post"
For every Hillary Clinton
running for president, there are millions of women who will endure almost
any form of sexual exploitation to get on TV. For every Condoleezza Rice
serving in an important government role, there are thousands of female
coeds who will rip off their T-shirts for Girls Gone Wild... one would
have thought that with 60 percent of all college students in America being
women, a new coalition of powerful voices would put a stop to the male
tendency to treat women as a means to their own ends and demand some much-deserved
- Shumley Boteach, "The Jerusalem Post"
couples call their little girls “Billie” or “Charlie” and dress them in
jeans. But this is not a sign that the gender barrier has disappeared.
If it were, they would also call their little boys “Daisy’”or “Violet”
and send them to school in frocks. To give a girl a masculine identity
is to pay her a compliment, implying she is better than the others. To
give a boy a feminine identity would count as child abuse.
- Kate Saunders, reviewing "Misogyny", "The Times"
We are turning against
boys and forgetting a simple truth: that the energy, competitiveness, and
corporal daring of normal, decent males is responsible for much of what
is right in the world.
- Christina Hoff Summers, author of "The War Against Boys"
Whoever said it's a
man's world had no idea how easy it is sometimes to be a girl.
- Veronica, "Veronica Mars"
thing is something I've never figured out. If you don't want the guy staring,
why are you exposing yourself in that way?
- Stephanie Gale
Breasts come in two
sizes for women — too big and too small. Those who have big breasts say
they are a nuisance, that they have to take a bigger dress size to accomodate
them. On the other hand, most girls with small breasts feel that if only
their breasts were bigger they would be much sexier, they could wear wonderfully
decollete necklines and would feel much more attractive to the opposite
sex. Men, meanwhile, almost always accept a girl for what she is, and don't
usually complain one way or another.
- Mary O'Connor, from her advice column in "The Evening Herald"
"Ladette Culture doesn't
inspire a grown man to want to share his life with a girl who sleeps with
as many men as she can pull and drinks until she's sick."
- Joan Collins
For millennia, marriage
was a stable social institution precisely because it had little to do with
love and intimacy. It was, instead, a practical affair. Once marriage was
based on love, people began to wonder if it wasn't better to be single
than to marry or stay with someone you didn't love. Throughout Europe and
North America, divorce rates rose hand-in-glove with sales of romance novels.
As the ideal of love triumphs, it gets harder to prevent people from remaining
single or seeking divorce when love fails. Women's lack of options was
the second factor that kept marriage stable... Getting married is no longer
the only way for women to invest in their economic future. Nor is marriage
the only place where people may raise children.
- Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage"
Some 65 years before
Sex and the City offered 'groundbreaking' stories about professional women
seeking true love in the big city, screwball comedy did the same thing,
except that its ideal women were usually minding their own business instead
of desperately seeking a husband. Not exactly progress... Screwball imagined
an altogether more robust world, in which lovers didn’t need each other
desperately; they were not so insufficient. Nor could man hope to conquer
woman; the best he could achieve was détente. In screwball women
and men gave as good they got, artists at one-upmanship and masters of
the Parthian shot. Neither admitted defeat; neither was in the wrong for
long. Except in the sense that love would conquer all, the game was never
rigged: screwball admired both its protagonists equally, and meted out
impartial justice that was very nearly irrespective of sex (bar the occasional
spanking). If Clark Gable taught Claudette Colbert how to dunk doughnuts
properly in one scene in It Happened One Night, she taught him how to hitchhike
in the next. If Carole Lombard got punched in the jaw in Nothing Sacred,
she socked Fredric March right back. The lovers in screwball were as perfectly
matched as their wardrobes, as for a brief period during the Depression
Hollywood stopped worrying and learnt to love the bombshell... Screwball
imagined women who were as smart, stylish, witty, independent and forceful
as the men who tangled with them.
- Sarah Churchwell, "The Spectator"
# FASHION AND STYLE
Just how much information
do unconfident women need about how to make the best of themselves? There
are endless television series telling women how to dress, how to diet,
how to cut their hair, which lipstick to use, what cosmetic surgery procedure
to undergo, how to exercise — all so that they can end up looking as thin
as an undertaker’s smile. In addition to the TV shows, each month a fresh
forest of women’s magazines hits the newsstands offering the same advice
as these TV makeover series — and also the same advice that these same
magazines offered their readers the previous month. These women aren’t
thick (I mean mentally, obviously). So how to explain this need for endless
repetition of the same appearance-improvement advice week after week, year
- Joe Joseph "The Times"
Every female falls
into one of these style categories: girl, woman, lady — regardless of age,
background and vital statistics. First rule of style DNA: there is no inevitable
progression from girl to woman to lady. It is perfectly possible to stick
at girl for ever (Sienna Miller, Jane Birkin) and only the lucky few graduate
from woman to lady. Of course, many females will evolve naturally from
girls into women, as Kate Winslet has, but just as many bypass the
girl phase altogether and arrive in the world as little woman, poised and
self assured (Scarlett Johansson). Style DNA is one part physical make-up
and two parts personality.
- Shane Watson, from "The Times: Style"
Black tie is more than
just a signal that since effort has been made by your hosts you should
pay them the compliment of dressing accordingly. It is a code which enables
even the most ill-favoured of us to share in the elegance of a Cary Grant
or a James Bond, a form of dress which emphasises that the man is there
as a backdrop against which the woman can shine, a requirement which reminds
us that social life depends for its smooth running and enjoyment on a measure
of individual restraint, and, above all, it is a reminder that individuality,
and creativity, on social occasions should be on display in our conversation
and not through our decision to go for a Nehru jacket or skinny tie. The
ability to leave well alone is probably the least admired, but most required,
virtue of our time... The simplest route to satisfaction in this life is
to find the authorised version and stick to it — the best Bible to read
is King James’s, the best cocktail is the straight martini, the finest
dinner is quality meat seared for the minimum period possible and the best-dressed
man on any occasion is the one who’s put the least thought into it — because
he knows better than to second-guess tradition.
- Michael Gove, "The Times"
Historically, of course,
a shaved head has rarely been a good thing. In Ancient Greece, it meant
you were a slave (the longer your hair in those days, the more cash you
had). In Australia, it meant you were a convict. And in France during the
Second World War, it meant you'd been sleeping with a Nazi. But then, thanks
to the adoption of the crew cut in the US Army, the shaved head became
suddenly respectable (it was intended to prevent the enemy from grabbing
you by the hair, a marginal advantage in the era of atomic weapons). In
the years after the war, however, the hairstyle struggled. It was associated
for a while with football hooliganism and neo-Nazism, and finally, thanks
to some canny reverse psychology, with that bloke from Erasure, and an
emboldened gay movement. Then came the greatest discovery in hair-styling
history: "the buzzcut." Cooler than a crew cut, less scary than a skinhead,
the buzzcut quickly became to balding men what Spanx Power Panties with
Tummy Control are to overweight American women. Even men who weren't having
trouble with their topsoil, men such as David Beckman and the rapper Tupac
Shakur, got buzzcuts of their own free will. It was great.
- Chris Ayres, on life with a shaved head, "The Irish Independent"
# CORNY CHAT-UP LINES
I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours?
If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put 'u' and 'i' closer together.
Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Neither do I, but it broke the ice.
# WOMAN-MAN TRANSLATION
1. Yes = No
2. No = Yes
3. Maybe = No
4. We need = I want..
5. I am sorry = you'll be sorry
6. We need to talk = You're in trouble
7. Sure, go ahead = You better not
8. Do what you want = You will pay for this later
9. I am not upset = Of course I am upset, you moron!
10. You're certainly attentive tonight = Is sex all you ever think
# MAN-WOMAN TRANSLATION
1. I am hungry = I am hungry
2. I am sleepy = I am sleepy
3. I am tired = I am tired
4. Nice dress = Nice cleavage!
5. I love you = Let's have sex now
6. I am bored = Do you want to have sex?
7. May I have this dance? = I'd like to have sex with you!
8. Can I call you sometime? = I'd like to have sex with you
9. Do you want to go to a movie? = I'd like to have sex with you
10. Can I take you out to dinner? = I'd like to have sex with you
# DATE EXPECTATIONS by PAUL REIZIN
One man's voyage through the Lonely Hearts.
I'll tell you what's desperate. Desperate is leaving it to chance; desperate is continuing to drift through one's forties, hoping somehow to find a mate when one doesn't meet anyone new — never mind suitable — for months on end. Desperate is joining the book group or signing up for wine appreciation classes — not for the Julian Barnes or the Chateau d'Yquem, but on the microscopically small off-chance of copping off with a kindred soul. Desperate is hauling oneself off to yet another dinner to endure yet enother bungled attempt at matchmaking.
I am early. I'm early for everything. It comes from a morbid fear of being late. Which itself flows from a pathological dread of being left behind. Any further back, to the infantile trauma that may lie at the root of it all, there is only darkness.
I bet the first encounter with their other halves wasn't like some spy drama in wartime Prague ("a tall, balding man in blue suit will be at the bar. He will be carrying a copy of 'The God of Small Things'"). I bet it happened how it's supposed to: at work, at a dinner. A casual introduction from a friend of a friend.
If thre is one special someone out there for me, how can I possibly hope to find her? There are six billion souls on the planet. What if mine lives in County Sligo? Or on the Kamchatka peninsula? Even if she's only one stop away on the Northern Line, how are we ever to contrive an encounter? No, the truth must be that there is a right type of person. And there are hundreds, probably thousands of women I could happily make a go of it with.
I have never been terribly expert at this seduction business. My 'technique', insofar as you can dignify it with that name, has not significantly evolved from my days as a student, when the aim would be to get both parties as incapable as possible and hope for the best.
I can feel the cold vodka slipping into the co-pilot's seat alongside. I am pleasantly losing sensation in that part of my brain that deals with embarrassment.
Lie: "I love children.
I went to school with children."
Truth: I would rather there not be any children. If Diana and I were to enter some kind of relationship, there would surely only be room for one immature, selfish and needy character at the centre of her life.
Ruth asks me whether I want children one day. In theory, I reply carefully. One of those nice theoretical children who don't crayon on the walls and tantrum in front of everyone in Tesco's. She says she feels exactly the same way.
I was rather getting into this blind-dating thing. There was a growing thrill attached to the act of waiting for a stranger. What would she be like? Goddess or haddock? There seemed no way of telling beforehand, and it seemed rude to request a passport snap in advance. All was up in the air until the instant our eyes met. Like rushing into the future at the cuttinf edge of a perpetual present, one felt, dare one say it, more alive. Devotees of the roulette wheel probably experience the same sensation in the moments before the circling ball timbles into its slot.
"It's all about the first fifteen seconds," says Toby. "Two people meet - boom. There's this massive two-way information superhighway where both parties hoover up masses of non-verbal material about the other. Fifteen seconds later, boom! It's all over. You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
Toby: "She said, 'If you don't kiss me soon, I shall be forced to switch on Newsnight'."
Toby again, "In business, someone comes to you with an investment opportunity, right? You know right away if you don't like the smell of it. You give it what I call an Instant No. But if you think there might be something there, you proceed more slowly. You take weeks, months, to do the research, interrogate the business plan and whatnot. Arriving at what I call a Slow Yes."
"History must be important to you" — although not a question, stictly speaking — was only the latest in a long line of what my lazy friend would have called "pebbles in a pond". His view was that all one needed to do was drop a pebble in a pond and observe where the ripples spread. It was the ripples that were the point, not the pebble.
It's the age-old problem, of course. Desirable woman at the other end of the sofa, but how to move the conversation to the romantic plane without coming over like some creepy old letch?
"Are you coming to
bed with me, or what?"
- Paul's final chatup line
Next mornings are always a bit grisly, in my experience; trapped in someone else's premises with a pounding hangover, too enfeebled by sex and alcohol to inquire where the powerful painkillers are kept.
I feel I am watching
something very ancient. I feel part of a great tradition. Not a religious
or a Jewish tradition, more a human tradition. The idea of a man and a
woman coming before their loved ones in a public union.
- Paul, at his wedding
"The waiter did what
waiters do when they don't want to mix up orders: they put down 'blue shirt'
- Singapore Noodles; 'blonde girl' - Vegetable Cow Mein, and so on. But
this night the waiter came back with his little pad, scratching his head
and saying, 'Sorry, who ordered sad bald man?'"
- Martin Kelner, from his best man speech for Paul
Martin reminds me how he met his own wife. He was working as a DJ on a Leeds radio station at the time. One night, at a promotion the radio station had organized in a city nightclub, a woman breaks into conversation with him. "Are you on the radio then?" she asks. "Yes I am actually," he replies. There is the deadliest of pauses. "Well, I can see why you're not on the telly". Martin and Janet now have four children.
[Thoughts About Bad Dates]
Sally was a riot only in the sense that one wished to suppress her brutally with water cannon.
Maori warrior princess, I'm thinking. A Maori warrior princess trapped inside the grey skirt and jacket of a London office-worker. Or an Aztec Fright Mask.
In war movies, that noise on the submarine deck when enemy warships are spotted on the horizon. A loud whoop-whoop-whoop, accompanied by a rumble of boots on metal and imprecations from a senior officer to "Dive,dive,dive!". These, roughly speaking, are the sound effects playing in my head.
"You think she used you as a stalking horse for this Logan chap?" Toby's question is a surgical strike upon an area of doubt in my mind. "What? To make him mad with jealousy? Hmm. Could be."
"So tell me about you
then. What made you put an ad in The Guardian?"
"I guess I wanted to meet a Guardian reader."
In my fridge is half a roast chicken. I've videoed a documentary about dark matter, the exotic invisible substance that some believe keeps the galaxies from flying apart. Instead of spending my evening in a cruddy bar in NW1 being snapped at by a so-called comic, I could be at home, eating chicken and learning the secrets of the cosmos.
She's one of those women who are pathologically, clinically, late. Who think that if what's been agreed is 8 o'clock, then 8 is when they should start getting ready. Who think that if they turn up at all, that should be sufficient cause for celebration. Who might have been happier living in the 8th century when the arrangement would have been "See you on Tuesday". Who makes you suspect there may be some weird power-relationship thing going on; who put themselves in the category of those who keep others waiting. Who, through some disturbance in their brain's time-control mechanisms, simply cannot compute how long is needed to wash one's hair, walk to the Tube Station, buy a ticket and travel to Leicester Square.
[Lessons for Blind Dating]
#1 The telephone is
like radio. The pictures are better.
#2 If you're going to lie, be professional about it.
#3 Never drink more than two Martinis. Or stick to soft drinks, like house white.
#4 Ask in advance about cats. Excessive numbers are a negative indicator. Dogs too, probably. Livestock generally, I imagine.
#5 If she sounds weird, she probably is weird. Weird isn't automatically a bad thing, but just so you know.
#6 Listen more carefully. The clues are there.
#7 If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Move on. Next, sort of thing.
#8 Ask her about sport. If she groans, you might want to consider hanging up.
#9 Sometimes you learn nothing. Sometimes you just have to sit there and listen to some bad jokes and wish you were somewhere else. It's probably part of the process.
#10 If the date is a disaster, don't prolong the agony. Life's too short. You'll be doing everyone a favour.
#11 Long-cherished fantasies around professional uniforms are not a good basis to make dates on. She probably won't be wearing it.
#12 Have a fallback position. A tactful lie, should the need arise.
#13 Attend to the details. If you're going to the trouble of inventing a relative, get their name sorted out in advance.
#14 Don't take the p**s, however well-meaningly, in the first 60 seconds of the opening phone call. Wait until you know her a bit better, probably.
#15 If you're going to tell lies, remember there may come a point when you have to come clean. Be a man about it. Or develop a superior, higher-order lie within which to subsume the original lie.
[How to Read Personal Ads]
There's a variety of
approaches to the ad's vital first few words:
There's the terminally frank - Bored in Peterborough.
The feminine - Caring and romantic.
The one that raises more questions that it answers - Sincere Doctor.
The racy - Hi Girls!
The saucy - Hello Gorgeous!
The literary - Pierre Seeks Natasha.
The too clever by half - We Can't Go On Not Meeting Like This.
The drunk - Laid Back Liverpudlian.
The alcoholic - Celtic Spirit.
The positive (but actually depressing) - Not Drowning But Waving.
The spiritual - God Moves In Mysterious Ways.
The indescribably boring - Seeing Is Believing.
The post-modern - How Do People Write These Things?
The unwise - Funky Fat Frog.
And the plain foolish - Born 1943.
# THE BLUFFER'S GUIDE TO WOMEN
"A woman need know
but one man well in order to understand all men; whereas a man may know
all women and understand not one of them."
- Helen Rowland, writing in the 1920s
Men, who generally claim to know everything worth knowing, are happy to admit that they cannot understand women. As Thackeray put it: "When I say that I know women, I mean I know that I don't know them. Every single woman I ever knew is a puzzle to me, as I have no doubt, she is to herself." The little known fact of the matter is that both sexes rather like to perpetuate this belief. Women enjoy the feeling of being all-knowing but unknowable: it gives them a rare edge. Men like to absolve themselbves from the need to work it out — without a sense of personal failure. If no man can understand women, it's not his fault if he doesn't. So an aspiring expert has plenty of leeway for error.
You may be heartened to know immediately that there are a great many things about women that even women don't understand. When discussing women, therefore, it is useful to assume that no one has the faintest idea what they are talking about, and the person who wins the argument on the subject can only be a bluffer.
Seduction: Traditionally, men make the first move. Or so they like to believe. In fact, it is nearly always women who seduce men. They send out little signals with their eyes, they touch an arm. Then comes a bit of feminine sleight of hand: they make a tactical retreat. It is not long before the average males comes charging down the hill with the whiff of the chase... Men like to think they know how to read these signals, but unfortunately are probably not as good at doing so as other women — such as their wives.
Punctuality: There are people of both genders who are congenitally poor timekeepers, but, these menaces aside, women are in fact rarely unpunctual. And if they are, they didn't mean to be. There is a fundamental difference between the sexes over what punctuality is. Men, with their more linear thought processes, and a certain degree of selfishness, want to get on with the next item on their agenda as soon as they reach it. Women, being more flexible in their approach and needing to incorporate all sorts of diversions en route find that time just doesn't stretch the way it should. Many women also deliberately arrve ten minutes after the time agreed, to avoid the risk of waiting alone in a wine bar, or worse, on a street corner because of... men.
Intuition: Women take great pride in their intuition. They find it hard to accept that men are not armed with the same sense of instinctive insight — and are consistently let down by this. It is the basis of one of the key areas of misunderstanding between the sexes. Men usually fail to notice if anyone has a problem until it is either brought to their attention or has become too obvious to ignore. They then presume that resolution lies in immediately proposing solutions. Women tend to pre-empt acutely problematic situations, thanks to their well-developed antennae.
Appearance: Women's clothes serve as a pick-me-up on down days or as a suit or armour from inside which they can confidently outface a hostile world. However, deciding upon the right outfit is a cause for anxiety.
Being Single: Despite the male fear of commitment, a random survey of people over 30 reveals that the vats majority of really bright men are married, and the vast majority of single women are really bright.
"I'm not upset at getting
divorced, but I'd rather be a widow."
- Roseanne Barr
Divorcees are seen as powerful — the mere fact of having been maried provs they can fulfil woman's traditional role, and they are thereby freed to fulfil others. They have been there, done that and come out stronger than ever on the other side.
A woman always has
the last word in an argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning
of a new argument.
Men play at love to get sex. Women play at sex to get love.
A women marries a man expecting him to change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, but she does.
- Men's Aphorisms about Women
Women are like computers because the Error message is about as informative as "If you don't know what's wrong, I'm certainly not going to tell you."
Things Women Do That Annoy Men: Being right when logic dictates that you shouldn't be.
Ardent Feminist: Women whose real venom is reserved for women who take a different standpoint from her own.
Tramp: Women who distributes her favours too liberally, aka bicycle, easy lay, jumper, slapper, scrubber, shag bag, tart (originally a diminuitive of sweetheart).
Q: Why can't I find a nice guy? I'm an attractive, independent woman in my 20s and never have a problem with guys asking me out for dates. But why is it that I always end up falling in love with jerks? All the men I have gone out with recently are either clingy and want to commit right away or totally aloof, crazy and want to play games. Are there any good men left in this town?
A: There's a fine line
between love and crazy. The trick is knowing the difference. Since you're
still young and life hasn't properly beaten the bejeezus out of you yet,
I suspect it will take several years and 15 more unhealthy relationships
before you figure this out. Most women your age love the roller coaster
ride. Oh, you think you might want a stable guy and a steady, healthy relationship,
but there's something to be said for living in the lala land of love one
minute and trying to run over your boyfriend with your Honda the next.
After all, isn't that the definition of love?
The problem is that you don't really want a nice guy. Very few girls do. Nice guys aren't dangerous. Nice guys are available for you. Nice guys treat you well, listen to you, open the door for you, call to make sure you made it home OK and pay for your dinner. They are sweet and caring in bed. Nice guys are boring.
And I say, Thank God for these hopeless idiots! They make shagging a girl so much easier for us guys who have figured out that women are addicted to dysfunction and drama. If we don't call, it makes you want us more. If we act like we aren't that interested, you obsess over us. If we say we're going out with the guys tonight, you wonder if we're seeing another woman.
Simply put, acting like we could take it or leave it makes you fall for us even harder. You'll bang us like you're ringing the dinner bell at the Ponderosa in a heartbeat. The nice guy? You'll make him wait it out, gnawing his arm off for five months until you finally give up and surrender. It's crazy, I know. But that's what I love about you drama queens.
It's a sickness, and women aren't the only ones it infects. I was diagnosed with this disease in my early 20s. I found out, through extensive medical testing, that I exude a pheromone that attracts the craziest of the crazies. And you know what? I found I was strangely attracted to the madness. But with time and restraining orders, you get through this phase of your life and come out on the other side a little wiser. When this happens, maybe you'll be ready for the nice guy. But I doubt it. Keep dreaming the dream.
- from Bitterman's advice column
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