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The Friday Fierceness: I love a martini, two at the most | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Friday Fierceness: I love a martini, two at the most

three I’m  under the table, four I’m under the host!

These immor(t)al lines were penned –as well you know– by the inimitable Dorothy Parker, today’s Friday Fierceness.

My great great grandfather was the chief engineer at the Hotel Algonquin during the heyday of the Algonquin Round Table and we have several postcards from those luminary lushes written to “Chief” so I’ve been fascinated with the Vicious Circle for ages and Dorothy Parker was the center of my world.

I don’t love Dorothy Parker as much as I used to although her short stories and poems are all worth reading. If you can get Lauren Bacall narrating “Big Blond” and “Horsie” (the former is more popular, the latter –which I prefer– more beautiful and pathetic) do so at any cost.

Dorothy Parker née Rothschild was dark. She drank too much, married more often than is generally considered ideal and one gets the feeling she would have been a suicide if she’d only plucked up the courage. Let’s be grateful she did not.

Although I don’t like her work as much as I used to, I empathize with her more as I get older. She hated being known as a “wisecracker” she preferred to be known as a “wit”.

“Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words”

When you’re a funny woman, folks want you to be nothing BUT funny. Maybe it’s because there are so few genuinely funny writers of either gender or maybe it’s because the evil They want to keep women in their tidy little pigeonholes, but I can understand Parker’s despair.

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“The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed.’ ”

“Take care of luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.”

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.”

“I’ve never been a millionaire but I just know I’d be darling at it.”

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“It serves me right for keeping all my eggs in one bastard.”

“I require three things in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid.”

“Ducking for apples – change one letter and it’s the story of my life.”

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“Now I know the things I know, and I do the things I do; and if you do not like me so, to hell, my love, with you!”

“I shall stay the way I am because I do not give a damn.”

“I don’t care what anybody says about me as long as it isn’t true.”

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“Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common”

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think”

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue”

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and finally a quote I hope you’ll all forget so I can pass it off as my own in about two weeks:

“This wasn’t just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.”

14 Responses to “The Friday Fierceness: I love a martini, two at the most”

  1. Candice September 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    I LOVE Dorothy Parker and have since high school. She is definitely infinitely quotable – probably one of the most quotable people of the 20th century.

    *sigh* Love her.

  2. TropicalChrome September 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Dorothy Parker is the epitome of ferocity.

    “And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
    And I am Marie of Roumania.”

  3. Mrs. Hendricks September 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    I’m struck by the melancholy and darkness that underlines so much of her wit. She was very funny, and I usually love self-deprecation, but in Parker’s case, it comes a little too close to self-loathing. Still brilliant, still most quotable. Just more sad than I had realized before.

  4. Elisabeth September 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    What a stellar series, this Friday Fierceness.
    It would be nice to know who is in the group shot – that’s Alexander Wolcott looking owlish, and I think that’s Harpo Marx standing behind Dot. I’m not sure who is on her right, nor who is behind him.
    Harpo’s autobiography, HARPO SPEAKS is a wonderful read, and chock-o-block full of information about (among others) the denizens of the Hotel Algonquin Round Table.

  5. Plumcake September 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Well spotted Elisabeth! Charles MacArthur is crouching next to Dorothy and Art Samuels is the last mystery gent.

  6. La BellaDonna September 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm #

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp.
    Acid stains you;
    Drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give.
    Gas smells awful …
    Might as well live.

    Dorothy actually attempted suicide FOUR TIMES. She didn’t lack the courage, just the aptitude.

    She knew one of life’s more bitter secrets:
    The only thing more painful than being lonely is being in love.

  7. Margo September 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    I agree, like dear beloved Oscar, supermarket makeup, and the Joy Division back catalogue, much of La Porter is best left to the young.

  8. JenniferP September 4, 2009 at 6:35 pm #

    They should just issue her complete works to high school sophomores.

    I dressed as her for Halloween last year.

  9. Twistie September 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    Elisabeth! Someone else who has read Harpo Speaks??? Come to my arms, my beamish girl! Mr. Twistie and I have my father’s copy in a place of pride on our bookshelf. We’ve both read it multiple times.

    Oh, Plummy, you will never be able to pass off the fancy terrible with raisins line as your own as long as I’m around. I’ve been using that one for yonks, as well as the ducking for apples line, and of course her inevitable response to a ringing phone ‘what fresh hell is this?’ has crossed my lips many a time.

    And if just occurs to me that I’ve given you an excellent reason to hunt me down and kill me where I stand. Dorothy who? Of course Plummy came up with the raisin line. I was with her at Chateau Gateaux when she coined it!

    Please let me live.

  10. La Petite Acadienne September 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    Best Friday Fierceness ever. If I can aspire to have only half the wit of Dorothy Parker, I will be happy. Sadly, right now I only have the half-witted part down pat.

  11. Cara September 6, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    ” “The two most beautiful words in the English language are ‘cheque enclosed.’ ”

    I shall write this under every invoice I send out.

  12. Margo September 6, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    La Petite Acadienne: I disagree, you have wit, intelligence, and charm, at least ’round these parts.

  13. raincoaster September 6, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    But you left out, “Why is it ALWAYS ‘one perfect rose?’ Why do I never get ‘one perfect limousine?'”

  14. Puma Generation Sculpture November 18, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    I never thought of it that way, well put!