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The Self-Esteem Scene
When I look at myself, I am so beautiful, I scream with joy.
—Maria Montez, aka the Queen of Technicolor in her Hollywood heyday
People say that I am arrogant. I am No. 1 in the world, so I have a right to be arrogant.
—Martina Hingis, teen tennis champ
I knew right away that Rock Hudson was gay when he did not fall in love with me.
—Gina Lollobrigida, the busty beauty of film fame
I am said to be the most beautiful woman in Europe. About that, of course, I cannot judge because I cannot know. But about the other queens, I know. I am the most beautiful queen in Europe.
—Marie, the not-so-modest Queen of Rumania
The brother that gets me is going to get one hell of a fabulous woman.
—Aretha Franklin, self-respecting soul singer
I've never had a humble opinion. If you've got an opinion, why be humble about it?
—Joan Baez, singer/social activist
I'm Calamity Jane. Get the hell out of here and let me alone.
—Calamity Jane, the boozing, brawling braggart of frontier lore
I'm magnificent. I'm five feet eleven inches and I weigh one hundred thirty-five pounds, and I look like a racehorse.
—Julie Newmar of Catwoman fame, tooting her own genetically-gifted horn
Neither the devil nor anyone else can ever kill me except with my own sword.
—St. Catherine Of Siena, whose stigmata made quite a stir in fourteenth-century Italy
I was very happy to score the first perfect score in Olympic history, but I have [sic] already scored 19 perfect scores before the Olympics so I wasn't very excited.
—Nadia Comaneci, the 86-pound gymnast who garnered her historic gold in 1976
I never know why self-sacrifice is noble. Why is it better to sacrifice oneself than someone else?
—Ivy Compton-Burnett, sardonic Brit
I am my own heroine.
—Marie Bashkirtseff, an artsy-fartsy musician in ninteenth-century Russia
To say something nice about themselves, this is the hardest thing in the world for people to do. They'd rather take their clothes off.
—Nancy Friday, an expert in the field of erotic fantasy
It's only the best fruit the birds pick at.
I am just too much.
—Bette Davis, the much-dissed diva
My Butt! It fascinates me.... I like it so much that when I dance, I'm always looking back at it.
—Tori Spelling, TV star
When I'm working well, I like to think I'm doing God's work.
—Faye Dunaway, admittedly a rather fabulous actress
If people want to compare me with Marilyn Monroe, let them. I can't stop people's fantasies.
—Deborah Harry, sometimes-platinum pop star
The world never puts a price on you higher than the one you put on yourself.
—Sonja Henje, whose skating skills garnered multiple Olympic medals
I hadda be great. I couldn't be medium. My mouth was too big.
There's nothing better than to know I can betaking a bath at home and at the same time someone is watching me in Brazil.
—Barbra Streisand, a positively ubiquitous phenomenon
Put a little wool in your ears and don't read the papers.
—Louisa Adams, this nation's sixth First Lady, sharing some marvelous mood control techniques with her hubby
I do expose my body, but only because I think people should have something nice to look at.
I'll use science to help nature if that's what I feel like.
—Brigitte Nielsen, the buff and brazen owner of two high-tech breasts
It's kinda great being me.
—Julia Roberts, the world's top-grossing female film star
My weight is always perfect for my height—which varies.
—Nicole Hollander, cartoonist, who thusly titled one of her books
I have one of those hard-to-believe faces. It's sensual, it's sexual. At times it's just damned frightening.
—Sandra Bernhard, the lippiest lady in show biz
My best feature would have to be my resilience.
—Michelle Pfeiffer, widely considered an awesome-looking woman
Sit by the homely girl—you'll look better by comparison.
—Debra Maffett, Miss America 1982
If I had to wear high heels and a dress, I would be a mental case.
— K.D. Lang, a singer with her own sense of style
I'd rather shop than eat.
—Wallis Simpson, the fashionable (if somewhat famished) femme fatale who lured King Edward from the throne
Beauty is fun and democratic: Unlike the latest Chanel suit, anyone can buy the new lipstick.
—Antonia Whyatt, who labors in the beauty biz
It is not chic to be too chic.
—Elsie de Wolfe, a pioneer in the profession of interior decorating
It is not fatness. It is development.
—Anita Ekberg, thickening thespian, on the subject of her growing girth
It takes a lot of makeup to make me look like the kind of woman who doesn't wear makeup.
—Salma Hayek, Revlon spokeswoman
Being a blond makes you very ruthless, insane, and self-centered.
—Sean Young, coifed to kill in Fatal Instinct
I'm a ballbuster, blonde or brunette!
—Ashley Judd, highlighting her colorful C.V.
If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in a library?
—Lily Tomlin, one of woman's finest comedic minds
I think women see me on the cover of magazines and think I never have a pimple or bags under my eyes. You have to realize that's after two hours of hair and makeup, plus retouching. Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.
It's going to have its own talk show soon!
—Cindy Crawford, vis-à-vis her beauty—and her famous mole
TV cameras seem to add ten pounds to me. So I make it a policy never to eat TV cameras.
—Kitty Carlisle, actress
Being a sex symbol was rather like being a convict.
—Raquel Welch, notorious for her annoyingly firm form
I don't have time every day to put on makeup. I need that time to clean my rifle.
—Henritte Mantel, cosmetically incorrect comedian
I believe in my cosmetics line. There are plenty of charities for the homeless. Isn't it time somebody helped the homely?
—Dolly Parton, country and western warbler
I know what it feels like to be ugly, awkward and hated by kids your age. I went through so many years wondering, "Will I ever be the swan?"
—Drew Barrymore, wild child turned screen sensation
With that big cellulite ass rolling across the screen, it had to be me. I don't know where you'd find buttocks like mine, dear.
—Tracey Ullman, comedian, squelching the ugly rumor that she used a body double in her film debut
So far I've always kept my diet secret but now I might as well tell everyone what it is. Lots of grapefruit throughout the day and plenty of virile young men.
—Angie Dickinson, the astonishingly svelte Angel
I don't work out. If God wanted us to bend over he'd put diamonds on the floor.
—Joan Rivers, the sedentary comedian
Sometimes you just don't feel like walking around in a bikini, letting it all hang out.
—Kathy Ireland, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model
I feel more naked with makeup on than I do without it.
—Brooke Shields, the original blue-jeans baby
An "I" without a body is a possibility. But a body without an "I" is utterly impossible.
—Edith Stein, the Jewish-born philosopher posthumously proclaimed a saint
If a woman chooses to look sexy, that is her right. If a man chooses to misinterpret her signal, that's his problem.
—Suzy Menkes, on the cutting edge of feminist fashion
The most beautiful female star in filmdom is Lassie. She transcends all boundaries; she's a totally gorgeous sincere actress and at once a bitch and man's best friend. With gorgeous hair, yet.
—Patsy Kelly, perennially cast as a smart-ass sidekick
—Catherine Deneuve, leading lady, revealing the secret of her so-called ageless beauty to a reporter
If you can tell anyone about it, it's not the worst thing you ever did.
—Mignon Mclaughlin, noted for her zany Neurotic's Notebook
Never say anything on the phone that you wouldn't want your mother to hear at your trial.
—Sydney Biddle Barrows, the so-called Mayflower Madam
In saying what is obvious, never choose cunning. Yelling works better.
—Cynthia Ozick, New York novelist
Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.
—Hannah More. A religious-tract author of the 1700s, More was nonetheless worldly enough to finagle an annual allowance from the fiancé who failed to marry her.
Many people say that I have an ugly mind. It isn't true. I say ugly things, which is different.
—Mrs. Patrick Campbell, the witty British stage star of yore
If talking were aerobic, I'd be the thinnest person in the world.
—Carrie Fisher, certified funny female
I'd rather talk to my ducks than some of the freaks I met in Hollywood.
—Julie Christie, recipient of the Best Actress Oscar for 1965
Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
—Gertrude Stein, who still ranks in the realm of the avant-garde
Politeness is the art of selecting among one's real thoughts.
—Madame De taël, an influential intellectual in Napoleon's day
Lying increases the creative faculties, expands the ego, lessens the friction of social contacts.... It is only in lies, wholeheartedly and bravely told, that human nature attains through words and speech the forbearance, the nobility, the romance, the idealism, that—being what it is—it falls so short of in fact and in deed.
—Clare Boothe Luce, politician, playwright, and, apparently, prevaricator
Never having experienced the necessity for lying at home, I went into the world with an established habit of truthfulness, which has automatically eliminated from my life the boring sameness that must be experienced by liars. All lies are alike.
—Louise Brooks, the talk of Tinseltown in the twenties
Never to lie is to have no lock to your door.
—Elizabeth Bowen, the Irish author
The body never lies.
—Martha Graham, grande dame of modern dance
I may be a slut, but I'm no liar.
—Connie Hamzy, Penthouse poser cum Congressional candidate
Good gossip is just what's going on. Bad gossip is stuff that is salacious, mean and bitchy—the kind most people really enjoy.
—Liz Smith, the world's classiest celebrity columnist
Trying to be fascinating is an asinine position to be in.
—Katharine Hepburn, the tart-tongued screen star
Cynicism is more than a pose; it's also a handy time saver. By deflating your companion's enthusiasm, you can cut conversations in half.
—Lisa Birnbach, whose sly handiwork includes The Preppy Handbook
People talk about my pictures. So long as they continue talking about butts, they will not be killing each other.
—Yoko Ono, on the subject of her daring work with derrieres
Why indeed must "God" be a noun? Why not a verb—the most active and dynamic of all?
—Mary Daly, theologian
The only thing that will be remembered about my enemies after they're dead is the nasty things I've said about them.
—Camille Paglia, argumentative academic
Ambitious Wenches & Driven Dames
Live each moment as if your hair is on fire!
—Suzannah B. Troy, highly motivated masseuse
If I'm going to be a success, I must be scandalous.
—Josephine Baker, the dancer known for her daring (and her banana G-string)
I'm a hardworking b****. I do what I want to do. Life is too short—you have to go for it.
—Naomi Campbell, a truly unruly role model
Find out what needs to be done and do it!
It had to be done, otherwise I wouldn't have done it. And I wouldn't have done it if I didn't enjoy it.
—Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the septuagenarian who saved the Everglades
Iused to want the words "She tried" on my tombstone. Now I want "She did it."
—Katherine Dunham, the Ph. D. who founded America's pre-eminent black dance troupe
I've always wanted to be somebody. But now I see I should have been more specific.
—Jane Wagner, the laughmeister behind Lily Tomlin's lines
There is only one real sin and that is to persuade oneself that the second best is anything but second best.
—Doris Lessin G, the sensational South African scribe
People miss a great deal by being simple.
—Martha Gelhorn. A war correspondent by trade, Gelhorn also gutted out five years as Ernest Hemingway's bride.
Generally speaking, we are all happier when we are still striving for achievement than when the prize is in our hands.
—Margot Fonteyn, the popular prima ballerina who performed into her sixties
People don't pay much attention to you when you are second best. I wanted to see what it felt like to be number one.
—Florence Griffith Joyner, once the fastest female track star in the world
I don't want to hear about why it won't work. I want to hear about how it CAN work.
—Martha Ingram, head of a multi-billion dollar business
Some people may not demand of life as much as I did. But I wanted one thing that I thought belonged to me. I wanted the whole show. For me, that is living.
—Louise Nevelson, sculptor
When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
—Cynthia Heimel, the erudite essayist
If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can't, you're right.
A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.
—Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics (and a big fan of pink Cadillacs)
Be lazy, go crazy.
—Margaret Mead, industrious anthropologist
Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly.
—Lauren Bacall, a movie star like her hubby Humphrey
The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.
—Ellen Glasgow, feminist novelist
Study as if you were going to live forever; live as if you were going to die tomorrow.
—Maria Mitchell, professor of astronomy
Goals too clearly defined can become blinkers.
—Mary Catherine Bateson, an anthropologist just like her mama, Margaret Mead
There is no such thing as failure. Mistakes happen in your life to bring into focus more clearly who you really are.
—Oprah Winfrey, the number one name in talk TV
Flops are a part of life's menu and I'm never a girl to miss out on any of the courses.
—Rosalind Russell, the wise-cracking actress
Amistake is simply another way of doing things.
—Katharine Graham, the positive-thinking publisher of The Washington Post
Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!
—Jane Austen, perennial Merchant Ivory inspiration
I want success. I want it all. If I die today, I want people to talk about me on every channel.
—Brandy, a top entertainer in her teens
The worst part of success is to try to find someone who is happy for you.
—Bette Midler, the mellifluous entertainer
There is no downside to success.
—Sherry Lansing, chairperson of Paramount Motion Pictures
Hot (and Bothered) Tamales
Men aren't attracted to me by my mind. They're attracted by what I don't mind.
—Gypsy Rose Lee, who made being an ecdysiast look easy
Of Course I'm for Monogamy: I'm Also for Everlasting Peace and an End to Taxes.
—Title of a book by Marilyn vos Savant, the high IQ columnist
Sex is never an emergency.
—Elaine Pierson, physician
A kiss can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point. That's basic punctuation every woman ought to know.
—Mistinguette, well-educated French entertainer
It wasn't the way I looked at a man, it was the thought behind it.
—Gloria Grahame, who made the most of her sultry good (or bad) looks on the silver screen
An old man can't do nothing for me except bring me a message from a young man.
—Jackie "Moms" Mabley, the legendary singer/comedian
Excerpted from Out of the mouths of Babes by Autumn Stephens. Copyright © 2000 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.
A Habit of Speech
one The Self-Esteem Scene
two Ravishing Raconteurs
three Gifted Gabbers
four Ambitious Wenches & Driven Dames
five Hot (and Bothered) Tamales
six Power Players and State Smashers
seven Liberated Lovers
eight Loquacious Laborers
nine On the Tail of the Frail Male
ten The Anti-Prejudice Posse
eleven The Bold and the Badly-Behaved
twelve Women's Rights—and Wrongs
thirteen Wary Wives & Blissful Bachelorettes
fourteen Brazen Biddies
fifteen Notes of a Female Nature
sixteen Cheap Talk and Pricey Advice
seventeen Horrible Housekeepers & Minimalist Moms
eighteen The Bravado Brigade
nineteen Grating Thoughts & Parting Shots