Loose Cannons: Devastating Dish from the World's Wildest Women

Loose Cannons: Devastating Dish from the World's Wildest Women

by Autumn Stephens

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From princesses to prostitutes to movie stars and supermodels, plus a few radicals and racecar drivers, Loose Cannons showcases hundreds of female movers-and-shakers, including Oprah Winfrey, Maria Callas, Michelle Pfeifer, and Catherine the Great, at their chatty, catty, and deliciously subversive best.

From the book:

"I'm the girl

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From princesses to prostitutes to movie stars and supermodels, plus a few radicals and racecar drivers, Loose Cannons showcases hundreds of female movers-and-shakers, including Oprah Winfrey, Maria Callas, Michelle Pfeifer, and Catherine the Great, at their chatty, catty, and deliciously subversive best.

From the book:

"I'm the girl who lost her reputation and never missed it." -Mae West

"What do you expect me to do? Sleep alone?" -Elizabeth Taylor

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Loose Cannons

Devastating Disk from the World's Wildest Women

By Autumn Stephens

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 1998 Autumn Stephens
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-516-9


Effusive Egotists

"I myself am more divine than any I see."

Magnificent Margaret Fuller, in an 1838 letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Brought up to hobnob with Harvard men, the immodest intellectual was known for her sky-high IQ ... and equally expansive ego.

"I have often wished I had time to cultivate modesty. But I am too busy thinking about myself."

Poet Edith Sitwell, letter-perfect in the role of eccentric English Dame.

"I think I am one of the few who gives our country any voice of its own."

—Georgia O'Keeffe. Sure, a single room might do for some. Not so, however, the self-touting symbolist who posthumously scored an entire edifice of her own: the first accredited US museum devoted to the ouevre of a woman artist.

"No one working in the English language now comes close to my exuberance, my passion, my fidelity to words."

Novelist Jeannette Winterson, narcissist extraordinaire.

"I totally and completely admit, with no qualms at all, my egomania, my selfishness, coupled with a really magnificent voice."

Soprano Leontyne Price: a prima donna, and proud of it.

"It is awesome to he an astrologer."

—Joan Quigley, astrologer.

"I've been in the twilight of my career longer than most people have had their career."

—Martina Navratilova, a tennis pro for all seasons (not to mention all hours of the day).

"People are already pissed off at me because I'm athletic and beautiful, to be smart in addition ... it's, like, too much."

Model Gabrielle Reece, a woman of no modest gifts.

"If I ever felt inclined to be timid ... I would say to myself, 'You're the cleverest member of one of the cleverest families in the cleverest class of the cleverest nation in the world— why should you be frightened?"

—Beatrice Webb. A big name in the English labor movement of the late 1800s, Webb worked for the good of the masses ... but didn't entirely eschew elitism.

"I have the same goal I've had ever since I was a girl. I want to rule the world."

"I saw losing my virginity as a career move."

"Strong women leave big hickeys."

The mono-nomic Madonna, determined from Day One to make her mark.

"I made myself Miss Manners. It was like Napoleon: You crown yourself because nobody else can do it."

—Judith Martin, America's self-made arbiter of socially correct conduct.

"Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me."

—Virginia Apgar, MD. A major name in pediatric medicine, all-powerful Apgar toted a spare set of tracheotomy tools in her pocketbook, along with a preserved fetus in a bottle (and possibly a lipstick or two).

"I am considered 'charmante' by the Frenchmen, lovely' by the Americans and really quite nice, you know,' by the English."

Surrogate first lady Priscilla Tyler. The self-assured stand-in for her ailing mother-in-law, twentyish Tyler was also considered quite the bee's knees by herself.

"When you know you're right, you don't care what others think. You know sooner or later it will come out in the wash."

—Barbara McClintock. At the age of eighty-one, the boastful botanist finally reaped her well-deserved reward ... in the form of a Nobel Prize.

"I know what's test for the President. I put him in the White House. He does well When he listens to me and poorly When he does not."

—Florence Harding. According to Mr. H, the nation's 29th head of state, his auto was the only thing the domineering "Duchess" didn't want to drive.

"What I am is a humanist before anything—before I'm a Jew, before I'm black, before I'm a woman. But somehow we are supposed to he credits to our race. The mere fact that I'm still around makes me a credit to my race, which is the human race."

Gladsome Whoopi Goldberg, honored among homo sapiens.

"Bitches are aggressive, assertive, domineering, overhearing, strong-minded, spiteful, hostile, direct, blunt, candid, obnoxious, thick-shinned, hard-headed, vicious, dogmatic, competent, competitive, pushy, loud-mouthed, independent, stubborn, demanding, manipulative, egoistic, driven, achieving, overwhelming, threatening, scary, ambitious, tough, brassy, masculine, boisterous and turbulent. A Bitch takes shit from no one. You may not like her, but you cannot ignore her."

—Joreen, a big cheese in the Sisterhood movement of the Sixties, and you can go to heck right now if you think a Bitch needs to bother with a surname.

"A sense of power is the most intoxicating stimulant a mortal can enjoy."

—Ellen Swallow Richards. The first American woman to obtain a science degree, Richards (MIT, class of 1873) mixed up her own potent concoctions in chemistry lab.

"I am too pretty to bother with an eyebrow pencil."

—Chao Luan-Luan, self-confident courtesan of 8th-century China.

"I'm not ugly. I'm cute as hell."

—Christine Craft. The fortyish anchorwoman waged a landmark legal battie when she was humped downstairs for not being, in either sense of the word, a babe.

"I see no cameras! Where are the cameras?"

Such was the constant cry of Queen Mary of England, the consort who was always ready for her close-up.


Beefin' Beauties

"I never cared to be Miss America. I am so bored by it all."

—Margaret Gorman Cahill, who received her tiresome tiara in 1921.

"Get enough sleep and enough sex. If you don't get enough of either, it will end up stowing on your face."

Newswoman Him Hume's best beauty tip, with a nod (or a wink) in the direction of foxy Ben "Early to Bed, Early to Rise" Franklin.

"I'm not one of those little things. I have a butt and boobs. It's great. I sometimes tell people I weigh 10 pounds more than I actually do."

Couture freak Courtney Love, one grrrl who outgrew the Hole grunge gig.

"Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."

La bella Sophia Loren, a walking advertisement for carbo loading.

"I was raised on pork, and believe me, I'm healthy."

—Tina Turner, R&B'S best -preserved sexagenarian.

"Chubby Hubby ice cream—I can't say no anymore."

—Sidney Blddle Barrows, the erstwhile Mayflower Madam, on the subject of her sole remaining vice.

"They say that inside every fat woman is a skinny woman waiting to get out. Well, all I can say is, I ate that bitch."

—Thea Vidale, carnivorous comedian.

"There are breast roles and there are nonbreast roles. For instance, when I was Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway in 1988, I thought they were appropriate."

Full-figured (or not!) Frances Mcdormand, an actress with more than one point of view.

"I'd never let my nipples show at a state function—I'd he frightened the old men would have heart attacks."

—Brazen Margaret Trudeau, briefly the better (or worse) half of Canada's far more proper PM.

"I would rather dance completely nude than strut in half-clothed suggestiveness, as many women do today on the streets of America."

An uncharacteristically demure Isadora Duncan. Somehow, we doubt that iconoclastic Izzie would have flipped her wig had she lived to see (or model) the mini.

"Women in skirts should keep their knees together, not just for modesty hut out of politeness, since few people really want a view of the undergarments of women sitting across from them."

Manners maven Peggy Post, today's foremost theorist in the field of unintentional unmentionable sightings.

"Free your mind, and your bottom will follow."

The newly svelte Fergie (aha Sarah Ferguson), yet another Royal who has trouble keeping track of her rear.

"Big buttocks are not a disease."

—Popular proverb among Luyia ladies.

"I simply ache from smiling. Why are women expected to beam all the time? It's unfair, if a man looks solemn, it's automatically assumed he's a serious person, not a miserable one."

—Queen Elizabeth II of England, as entitled to the occasional annus horribilus as anyone.

"It is, I imagine, rather disturbing to see me eat a hard-boiled egg—I get the egg covered in lipstick, and my lower lip tends to fold down and swab my chin.... I don't even want to talk about what happens when I blow my nose."

Painted lady Elizabeth McCracken, presumed to be a Jackson Pollock fan.

"I'll make some concessions if the request is reasonable. If someone tells me to comb my hair, I'll comb my hair. If someone tells me to dye it blond, they can go to hell."

The darkly defiant Jane Wallace, CBS correspondent.

"I wanted to he the first woman to burn her bra, but it would have taken the fire department four days to put it out."

Flamboyant Dolly Parton, eye-catching even without bosoms flambée.

"I know I have a big Lust, but I don't feel I'm any better than anyone who's had implants."

—Patricia Arquette, an actress of admirable largesse.

"These puppies are mine and I love 'em."

A newly bosomy Brett Butler. For all we know, the happily implanted comedian is fond of her canine friends too.

"I am not an animal, so why should I wear a cage."

Braless beauty Anna Magnani, infamous for refusing to suppress her flesh ... or her fits of offscreen rage.

"Who's gonna take me seriously with this on my head?"

—Leanza Cornett. Though she balked at being crowned a beauty, Miss America 1993 finally conceded to carry her headgear in her hand.

"Nature gives you the face you have when you are twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But it is up to you to earn the face you have at fifty."

"How many cares one loses When one decides not to be something, but to he someone."

"Since everything is in our heads, we had better not lose them."

Couturier Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, a very fashionable French revolutionary.

"In the gym, I only wear black and diamonds."

The sartorially astute Donatella Versace. NO pearls while pumping iron, please.

"I resent the idea that you can't be both sexy and smart. When I dyed my hair, the peroxide didn't fry my brain cells."

Actress Loni Anderson. It's the color that's artificial, not the intelligence.

"I always wondered if Little Women would have done as well if Alcott had called it Big Women."

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein. Size isn't everything ... or is

"I feel more beautiful when I'm a little bit heavier."

Actress Andie MacDowell, fully conscious of the cheesecake factor.

"I'd like to be the first model who becomes a woman."

Toothsome Lauren Hutton, good-looking despite (or because of) her gap.

"Wake Up, I'm Fat!"

Pro-avoirdupois actress Camryn Manheim, who thusly titled her eye-opening offBroadway show in 1996.

"You're not fat, you re in the wrong country."

Plus-size model Denise Walker, an even bigger babe abroad.


Pillow Patter

"This relationship is sexual or it's nothing."

Prurient philosopher Ayn Rand. Let Atlas shrug—at age fifty, randy Ayn demanded full attention from her favorite young acolyte.

"He always have orgasm and he doesn't wait for me to have an orgasm. He's selfish. I don't think it's fair so I pull back the sheets and then I did it."

Long-suffering spouse Lorena Bobbitt, who finally got her hubby's attention (or whatever) when she cut him off at the pass.

"I'm a bad woman, but I'm damn good company."

—Fanny Brice. Though best known for her roles in Ziegfeld's Follies, funny Fanny also committed a few faux pas of her own.

"Glamour is just sex that got civilized."

Sarong-clad siren Dorothy Lamour. Fittingly, one of dishy Dottie's wraparounds wound up in the hoity-toity Smithsonian.

"Eros is the youngest of the gods. He is also the most tired."

"To have or not to have, which is worse?"

—Natalie Barney. An American expatriate, the salacious salon-keeper was known in the early 1900s for making a mean cucumber sandwich, and also a famous French courtesan.

"Wear a taffeta slip that who-o-shes and crackles when you move. This makes men delirious.... Rub your thighs together when you walk. The squish-squish sound of nylon also has a frenzying effect."

Creative Cosmo girls Gael Greene and Jeannie Sakel, revealing some startling techniques for having fun in for with!) all your clothes.

"My great-grandmother had an affair with your great-grandfather."

The well-connected Camilla Parker-Bowles, who introduced herself to Prince Charles with this faintly incestuous, absolutely factual pick-up line. (Sorry to say, it's highly unlikely that Camilla's come-on will work for you or me.)

"I have often remarked to my husband that we might have had more children if we had taken more vacations."

—Hillary Clinton, wife of the 42nd president of the United States; mother of one.

"There are always more than two choices. Always. Always. Always."

Top pornographer Pat Califia, who suggests that you park your PC principles outside the bedroom door.

"Oh , you mean I'm homosexual! Of course I am, and heterosexual too. But what's that got to do with my headache?"

Famed meter maid Edna St. Vincent Millay, whose doctor held that love between ladies led to malaise.

"I'm not really in touch with the male side of myself. But it's fun to play a drag queen."

"Victor/Victoria" stand-in Liza Minnelli, a happy camp-er at last.

"I don't want to be touched by people I don't know. I have that right."

Pseudo-lifeguard Pamela Lee, who successfully reneged on a contract calling for her to demo an entirely different set of strokes.

"The mammary fixation is the most infantile—and most American—of the sex fetishes."

Movie critic Molly Haskell, one woman you'll never see in (or out of) a Wonderbra.

"Ok, plenty of times. Are you kidding—who hasn't? We're Americans."

Licensed driver Holly Hunter, in response to an exceedingly rude query (but hey—we're Americans!) concerning her autoerotic experiences.

"Interference with self-pleasure is a very bad thing for children."

—Mary Calderone. The planned parenthood pioneer who founded SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council of the United States) in 1961 made less liberal citizens SICK.

"I have an inalienable constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can, to change that love every day if I please!"

—Victoria Woodhull, who campaigned for this country's top office in 1872 on a platform that included free love and communism. Students of history may recall that Ulysses S. Grant was not forced to vacate the White House as a result.

"Yep, I'm gay."

—Ellen Degeneres, TV'S only self-outing sitcom star.

"What woman doesn't spend 90 percent of her life going in and out of the closet?"

Designer Donna Karan, not at all discombobulated by the disclosure of Ellen's supposedly stylish sexual preference.

"Homosexuals make the best friends because they care about you as a woman and are not jealous. They love you but don't try to screw up your head."

Reformed jet-setter BlANCA JAGGER, who would like you to know that some of her best friends are gay.

"I can play a heterosexual. I know how they walk. I know how they talk. You don't have to be one to play one."

The multi-talented Lily Tomlin, a straight woman when her profession demands it.

"Wouldn't it be great if you could only get AIDS from giving money to television preackers?"

—Elayne Boosler, a stand-up comedian who stands for something.

"The last time I had sex with men, we were demonstrating against Nixon by day, eating psychedelic mushrooms by night, and fucking in between. No one I knew went out on 'dates. I had no feeling for contemporary heterosexual courtship."

—Susie Bright. On the other hand the audacious author of Susie Sexpert's Lesbian Sex World has Sapphic seduction down pat.

"My lesbianism is an act of Christian charity. All those women out there are praying for a man, and I'm giving them my share."

"The only queer people are those who don't love anybody."

"An army of lovers shall not fail."

Writer Rita Mae Brown: gay as all get-out, and sometimes downright giddy.

Excerpted from Loose Cannons by Autumn Stephens. Copyright © 1998 Autumn Stephens. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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