Quotes by Quentin Crisp

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One of the special beauties of America is that it is the only country in the world where you are not advised to learn the language before entering. Before I ever set out for the United States, I asked a friend if I should study American. His answer was unequivocal. "On no account," he said. "The more English you sound, the more likely you are to be believed." more...

Whenever we confront an unbridled desire we are surely in the presence of a tragedy-in-the-making. more...

If you describe things as better than they are, you are considered to be a romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you will be called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you will be thought of as a satirist. more...

The flagrantly gay Quentin Crisp dealt with homophobic bullying by refusing to bow to its onslaught. His number listed in the phone directory, he responded to derogatory remarks accompanied with a stated intent to kill him by asking, "Would you like to make an appointment?" more...

Britain cherishes her eccentrics and wisely holds that the function of government is to build a walled garden in which anarchy can flourish. more...

In Manhattan, every flat surface is a potential stage and every inattentive waiter an unemployed, possibly unemployable, actor. more...

In most cases an act of unwelcome sex is no more bother than being vaccinated, so there's no point going on about it as if it werea fate worse than death. With skill and good manners you can avoid having to make the sacrifice, but should you find yourself in a compromising situation largely of your own making, you should stop defending your virtue and start worrying about your maturity. It will give you something to think about while the savage pumper bangs away. more...

I approach my life with logic. I do not act on impulse or emotion. I very seldom find that I say, 'And then I can't think what came over me, but I did this or that or the other.' I nearly always know how I will act and I nearly always act in that way. I don't catch myself out in embarrassing situations because I've acted without forethought. I calculate what I will do. more...

The more people one has to love, the more one's capacity to love stretches. more...

Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us ever to be entirely indifferent to their condition: it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul. more...

Believe in fate, but lean forward where fate can see you. more...

I now realize that education is a last wild effort on the part of the authorities to prevent an overdose of leisure from driving the world mad. Learning is no longer an improver; it is merely the most expensive time-filler the world has ever known. more...

I learned very early in life that I was always going to need people more than they needed me more...

The ... problem that confronts homosexuals is that they set out to win the love of a "real" man. If they succeed, they fail. A man who "goes with" other men is not what they would call a real man. The conundrum is incapable of resolution, but that does not make homosexuals give it up. more...

Well, it has done terrifying things. Religious ideas are inflammatory in a way that I find difficult to understand. There are very few wars over the theory of relativity. Very few heated arguments, for that matter. Whereas, in Northern Ireland, they are killing one another over religion. more...

An autobiography is obituary in serial form with the last installment missing. more...

The poverty from which I have suffered could be diagnosed as "Soho" poverty. It comes from having the airs and graces of a genius and no talent. more...

There was no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. more...

A gentleman doesn't pounce he glides. If a woman sits on a piece of furniture which permits your sitting beside her, you are free to regard this as an invitation, though not an unequivocal one. more...

Masturbation is not only an expression of self-regard: it is also the natural emotional outlet of those who...have already accepted as inevitable the wide gulf between their real futures and the expectations of their fantasies. more...

Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings, they did it by killing all those who opposed them. If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style. more...

Life is a game in which the rules are constantly changing; nothing spoils a game more than those who take it seriously. Adultery? Phooey! You should never subjugate yourself to another nor seek the subjugation of someone else to yourself. If you follow that Crispian principle you will be able to say Phooey, too, instead of reaching for your gun when you fancy yourself betrayed. more...

Neither look forward where there is doubt nor backward where there is regret. Look inward and ask not if there is anything outside you want, but whether there is anything inside that you have not yet unpacked. more...

Ask yourself, if there was to be no blame, and if there was to be no praise, who would I be then? more...

Politics are not an instrument for effecting social change; they are the art of making the inevitable appear to be a matter of wise human choice. more...

Any film is at least better than real life. more...

Never sweep. After four years the dirt gets no worse. more...

I have known female whores who spoke very bitterly of their calling. "If they don't like my face, they can put a cushion over it. I know it's not that they're interested in." But to the boys this profession never seemed shameful. It was their daytime occupations for which they felt the need to apologize. In some instances, these were lower class or humdrum or, worst of all, unfeminine. At least whoring was never that. more...

The world now seems a stunningly ignoble place. It has not really grown all that much worse but appears to have done so because we know so much more about it than we did. more...

Style, in the broadest sense of all, is consciousness. More specifically it is a consistent idiom arising spontaneously from the personality but deliberately maintained. more...

Exhibitionists have no friends, no friends at all. more...

Fear and hatred do not seem to find expression in tears. more...

My outlook was so limited that I assumed that all deviates were openly despised and rejected. Their grief and their fear drew my melancholy nature strongly. At first I only wanted to wallow in their misery, but, as time went by, I longed to reach its very essence. Finally I desired to represent it. By this process I managed to shift homosexuality from being a burden to being a cause. The weight lifted and some of the guilt evaporated. more...

What I wanted most of all was to use sex as a weapon to allure, subjugate, and, if possible, destroy the personality of others. more...

To say a thing is natural is to condone it, never to praise it. more...

No effort is required to define or even attain happiness, but enormous concentration is needed to abandon everything else. more...

Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn't? more...

Life was a funny thing that occurred on the way to the grave. more...

To minimize my guilt at going to the pictures - to call this wanton pursuit of an effete pleasure by another name - I needed movie companions as drunkards need drinking partners. If I entered a cinema alone, God might plunge his arm through the roof of the auditorium booming in a stereophonic voice, 'And you, Crisp, what are you doing here?' I would never have dared reply, 'I'm just enjoying myself, Lord.' more...

The absolute nothingness of death is a blessing. Something to look forward to. more...

The search for a life-style involves a journey to the interior. This is not altogether a pleasant experience, because you not only have to take stock of what you consider your assets but you also have to take a long look at what your friends call "the trouble with you." Nevertheless, the journey is worth making. more...

The war between the sexes is the only one in which both sides regularly sleep with the enemy. more...

Why get married? For human beings, marriage is such an unnatural state. If you want monogamy, it has been said, you should marry a swan. more...

Because it is in the nature of things that they become extreme, we have passed down from manliness to cruelty. If I had been told when I was 20 that there was a tavern in the town where the brave and the cruel were gathered together, I would have run all the way and I would have gone up to the largest and leatheriest of the denizens and said: If you truly love me, kill the bartender. more...

I recommend limiting one's involvement in other people's lives to a pleasantly scant minimum. This may seem too stoical a position in these madly passionate times, but madly passionate people rarely make good on their madly passionate promises. more...

Of course I lie to people. But I lie altruistically - for our mutual good. The lie is the basic building block of good manners. That may seem mildly shocking to a moralist - but then what isn t? more...

You should make no effort to try to join society, stay right where you are. Give your name and serial number and wait for society to come to you. more...

All this cut-price transcendentalism does not prevent California from being a startlingly physical state. This becomes most obvious where Los Angeles saunters down to the sea. The region is called Venice. more...

The gymnasiacs of Venice, in California, are so addicted to these practices that there has arisen a nation of men who can no longer put their arms against their sides more...

If Mr. Vincent Price were to be co-starred with Miss Bette Davis in a story by Mr. Edgar Allan Poe directed by Mr. Roger Corman, it could not fully express the pent-up violence and depravity of a single day in the life of the average family. more...

You must stop this interview now as I have come to end of my personality. more...

What would you be like if you were the only person in the world? If you want to be truly happy you must be that person. more...

This woman did not fly to extremes; she lived there. more...

The English think that incompetence is the same thing as sincerity. more...

I am the last of Britain's stately homos. more...

Other-cheekism is not only a way of purifying the soul, it is also part of every weak person's survival kit. more...

People are not heterosexual or homosexual, just sexual. more...

When asked, 'Shall I tell my mother I'm gay?', I reply, 'Never tell your mother anything. more...

As a test of the closeness of your relationship with the world, sex could never be a patch on being murdered. (That's when someone really does risk his life for you.) more...

What is privacy if not for invading? more...

The programs constantly repeat themselves and one another. No one has yet had the nerve to say, 'As we have nothing sensible to tell you between now and 8:30, please tune in again then. more...

Vice is its own reward. more...

Keeping up with the Joneses was a full-time job with my mother and father. It was not until many years later when I lived alone that I realized how much cheaper it was to drag the Joneses down to my level. more...

Love is the extra effort we make in our dealings with those whom we do not like and once you understand that, you understand all. This idea that love overtakes you is nonsense. This is but a polite manifestation of sex. To love another you have to undertake some fragment of their destiny. more...

Euphemisms are not, as many young people think, useless verbiage for that which can and should be said bluntly; they are like secret agents on a delicate mission, they must airily pass by a stinking mess with barely so much as a nod of the head, make their point of constructive criticism and continue on in calm forbearance. Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne. more...

My function in life was to render clear what was already blindingly conspicuous. more...

Flowers are words even a baby can understand. more...

As we all know from witnessing the consuming jealousy of husbands who are never faithful, people do not confine themselves to the emotions to which they are entitled. more...

While I have very little to say in favor of sex (it's vastly overrated, it's frequently unnecessary, and it's messy), it is greatly to be preferred to the interminable torments of romantic agony through which two people tear one another limb from limb while professing altruistic devotion. more...

The message that 'love' will solve all of our problems is repeated incessantly in contemporary culture - like a philosophical tom tom. It would be closer to the truth to say that love is a contagious and virulent disease which leaves a victim in a state of near imbecility, paralysis, profound melancholia, and sometimes culminates in death. more...

The continued propinquity of another human being cramps the style after a time unless that person is somebody you think you love. Then the burden becomes intolerable at once. more...

What better proof of love can there be than money? A ten-shilling note shows incontrovertibly just how mad about you a man is. more...

The happiest moments in any affair take place after the loved one has learned to accommodate the lover and before the maddening personality of either party has emerged like a jagged rock from the receding tides of lust and curiosity. more...

One should always be wary of anyone who promises that their love will last longer than a weekend. more...

Charisma is the ability to influence without logic. more...

If you truly love me, kill the bartender. more...

In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast. more...

I don't think you can really be proud of being gay because it isn't something you've done. You can only be proud of not being ashamed. more...

The curiosity of the neighbors about you, is a tribute to your individuality, and you should encourage it more...

Mainstream people dislike homosexuality because they can't help concentrating on what homosexual men do to one another. And when you contemplate what people do, you think of yourself doing it. And they don't like that. That's the famous joke: I don't like peas, and I'm glad I don't like them, because if I liked them I would eat them and I hate them. more...

I take it to be axiomatic that people are revolted by witnessing the shameless gratification of an appetite they do not share more...

Never get involved with someone who wants to change you more...

A fair share of anything is starvation diet to an egomaniac. more...

To live in the past is to miss today's opportunities and tomorrow's blessings. more...

To lose is not always failure. more...

I lost the love of all the homosexuals in the world by saying that Princess Diana was trash and got what she deserved. She could have been Queen of England - and she was swanning about Paris with Arabs. What disgraceful behavior. Going about saying she wanted to be the queen of hearts. The vulgarity of it is so overpowering. more...

When I was young, we thought that Oscar Wilde was a great nobleman who had thrown his life away for love. Nothing could be less true. He slept with East Enders who were procured for him by Lord Alfred Douglas. He knew them only 'in Braille' - the curtains were never drawn back in the rooms in Oxford where he met those boys. It was the most sordid life you can imagine. And he was bleating about love and dragging the fair name of Mr. Plato into the trial - after a life like that? more...

Another friend began to say, "Well, Quentin has a problem of adjusting himself to society and he..." This sentence was never finished. The ballet teacher expostulated, "I don't agree. Quentin does exactly as he pleases. The rest of us have to adapt ourselves to him." more...

The worst part of being gay in the twentieth century is all that damn disco music to which one has to listen. more...

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and asked if the god I did not believe in was the protestant God or the catholic one. more...

In fact I try to spend at least one, if not two days without ever leaving my room. Because if I didn't, when would I recharge my batteries? more...

I am asked how to remain young, and I say 'Never, never work.' And that, of course, is the secret of it. more...

If you live in America, you don't have to work. You can just drift along in the smiling and nodding racket. more...

I am told that you regret not what you did but what you didn't do; and so that's why I do everything, so as not to have any regrets. more...

I never say 'No' to anything. more...

The Scots are very hospitable; almost as hospitable as the Americans. more...

The Americans, of course, are quite dotty with hospitality. more...

It is true that in America I've become a national hero, but really I was a hopeless case, that was all. more...

When asked to give advice, I do of course give it, because I give whatever I am asked to give. more...

I have to realise that as I am only English and am allowed to live in America, I have to give something in return. And since I cannot build a hospital, or endow a university, I can only give my infinite availability. more...

That's the only sense in which I've been lucky: I have the kind of face to which cosmetics could be applied. more...

Most men when they make up their faces, the makeup stands forward, and their faces are behind. more...

I had a friend who had two degrees of being made up: when invited I would say 'Can I make up?' and he would say 'Oh yes - tinted?', or he would say, 'Oh yes - clotted?' more...

Nowadays people don't use face powder; they say it dries the skin. But I makeup in the old-fashioned way. more...

I never really found out what love was. more...

As far as I know, you can fancy someone, you can enjoy their company or you can wish them well. But what being in love is, I don't know. more...

When I was young, I wanted to find the Great Dark Man. When I said that I realise now that people thought that by 'dark' I meant black, and that by 'great' I meant big. Whereas I only meant a strong, mysterious person; someone who would 'take me away from all this.' more...

When I was young, I don't know how, I spent all my time in the presence of married women telling me their troubles. And when I said 'Why did you marry?' they said, 'Oh I married to get away from home.' And when I said, 'And why don't you leave him?' they gave the saddest answer in the world: they said, 'Where would I go?' So they stayed with men they didn't like because they had nowhere to go. more...

Now you can leave home at any time you like.Your mother comes down and finds a picture of the Eiffel Tower on her plate. And she says, 'Oh! Rosemary's gone to Paris. No wonder the bathroom was so tidy.' And nobody minds. But in my day, to go abroad with all those wicked Frenchmen, what would become of them? So no-one ever went anywhere. more...

God is so angry. All that power, and so mean with it. more...

If I were God - and I never understand why I'm not - I should say, "Shop around, I don't think you'll find a better bargain than here." more...

Did you know that Allah promises you a seat in Paradise if you kill a Christian? more...

Vienna is cold, and dark, and sad. It is laid out as though for a royal parade; the streets are wide and they're flanked by monumental buildings, decorated with the faces of angry gods. And on the roof are statues of national heroes, wielding weapons of destruction. more...

The trouble with European cities is that they are drenched in their history, almost all of which is terrible. more...

I've come from a very masculine country to a feminine country. England was very masculine; people went from England to abroad, and they landed from above and they said "These are the gods you will worship, these are the crops you will grow, now go away and do it." Which is a manly attitude. Americans go abroad and they say, "Try not to quarrel so much", which is a feminine attitude. more...

Europeans are quarrelsome. more...

Europeans have quarrelled since the beginning of time. more...

Central Europe is full of little countries standing shoulder to shoulder with no window to the sea. They are like the passengers in a rush-hour train which has stopped between stations for three centuries. And they all hate one another. And they're all crushed together waving their national flags, clanking their national chains, jabbering their national language. more...

The United States are a miracle: the division between two states is sometimes a river or a mountain, and sometimes it's a straight line. But nobody says, "That tree really belongs in South Carolina. I shan't do anything about it now, I'll get it back later." I shall go after I am here to London and after that to Potsdam, where Comrade Stalin, Mr Churchill and Harry Truman divided up Europe; and what we see now is the result of that. The Americans would have accepted it. But Europeans don't accept anything. more...

England is very dreary, but I'm a people person. more...

I would never go to a place and live there because the weather was good or the scenery was beautiful or the architecture was wonderful. I would only go because the people are kind, and in America, everybody's your friend and happiness rains down from the sky. more...

In England, nobody's your friend. more...

I came first to America in 1977 at the invitation of a man who wanted to make my life story into a musical. But my agent said it was not to be and it was never done. So I went back, but I'd seen New York, and I wanted to live there. Because everybody talks to you in the street. See, nobody talks to you in England. more...

I've always lived in the same way. more...

I stay in one room, and it's easier to live there, to control it, to make it warm. It seems to me a convenient way to live, and it's cheap. more...

I have to work in England, but here in America you don't have to work. You can sort of enter the profession of being. more...

I never miss England. more...

Happiness is the only thing I understand. more...

I never spend my time doing anything I'll have to do again tomorrow. more...

I go wherever my fare is paid. more...

It's a strange situation, but people will pay your fare to get you to go and tell them how to be happy. more...

You don't have to do anything. more...

I don't believe in convention at all. I do what I have to do to stay alive. more...

People say to me, "When did you come out?" But I was never in! When I was about six, I was swanning around the house in clothes that belonged to my mother and my grandmother which I'd found in an attic, saying, "I am a beautiful princess!" What my parents thought of this, I don't know. But they bore it. And the real problem was not my sin, but my unemployability. more...

I went out into the world when I was about 22. I wrote books and I illustrated books and did book covers, and I taught tap-dancing, and I was a model in the art school. I had no ability for any of those things, but what else could I do? more...

It may be true that artists adopt a flamboyant appearance, but it's also true that people who look funny get stuck with the arts. more...

I'm too old to make drawings. more...

I'm happy. I don't ever have to pay anything, and I don't ever have to wash the dishes, and I don't ever have to behave nicely. more...

You can behave as badly as you like in America. Nobody notices. more...

America believes in freedom. The English don't believe in it. They don't believe in happiness. more...

It's written into the Constitution that you're allowed to pursue happiness. In England it would be considered a frivolous objective. more...

If you don't stay in some days, you can't recharge your batteries. more...

In Manhattan, when you're out of the front door, you're on, and you have to be ready to smile and speak to people. more...

Everybody who's been on television more than once wears in public an expression of fatuous affability. Because you may be addressed at any moment by somebody. more...

Every day someone notices me and waves to me, or stops and speaks to me, or asks me for an autograph, or photographs me. more...

All America is much the same. more...

I am a stereotype. I am an effeminate man. more...

When I was young, I and the whole world thought that all homosexuals were effeminate. And of course they're not. You can just see which people are effeminate; that's the only difference. So, I became a prototype of the effeminate man, because I was conspicuously effeminate. But camp is not something I do, it's something I am. more...

I don't think I have a tragic demeanor. more...

I can't remember ever having a tragic demeanor. Although my life was tragedy. more...

I was beaten up wherever I went, and people shouted at me and cursed me and threw things at me... more...

You don't have to deal with anyone in America. They accept you the way you are. more...

I don't really act. I say the words the way I would say them if I meant them. more...

I don't know how people act. I've never understood that. more...

I asked a girl who came from America to England, when I was only English, and she admitted she had been to a drama school. And I said, "What did they teach you?" And she said, "They taught me to be a candle burning in an empty room." I'm happy to say she was laughing while she said it, but she meant it. I've never learned to be a candle burning in an empty room. So I go on the screen, and I say whatever I'm told to say. more...

Nearly always when actors are approached by the beauticians, they try to avoid the dabs that the beauticians put on their faces. They dodge them. more...

As soon as a person takes a part as a homosexual, the press says, "What do your wife and children think of this?" And the actor never says, "Well, last week I was a murderer, and the week before that I was a child molester, and the week before that I was a lunatic. But now I'm a homosexual." more...

The world was very feminine when I was young. And now it's very masculine. more...

Women have decided to be people, which is a great mistake. Women were nicer than people. more...

You can't be a person and a lady. If you're a person, you can open the damned door yourself. more...

I read all the books I could find about manners, and the extraordinary thing was, in all books up to the end of the Second World War, most were directed at how to comport yourself in the presence of the ladies. more...

What matters is not whether you put your fork or knife together because you've finished your meal, or something like that. What matters is that you don't offend people, or hurt their feelings by mistake by saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing. more...

In New York, I find people so courteous and so generous. Free drinks in bars. Free taxi rides. more...

I've never not been famous. more...

The court was not previously aware of the prisoner's many accomplishments. In view of these, we see fit to impose the death penalty. more...

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. more...

This school was on top of a hill so that God could see everything that went on. It looked like a cross between a prison and a church and it was. more...

If any reader of this book is in the grip of some habit of which he is deeply ashamed, I advise him not to give way to it in secret but to do it on television. No-one will pass him with averted gaze on the other side of the street. People will cross the road at the risk of losing their own lives in order to say We saw you on the telly. more...

A pinch of notoriety will do. more...

The rest of the world in which I lived was still stumbling about in search of a weapon with which to exterminate this monster whose shape and size were not yet known or even guessed at. It was thought to be Greek in origin, smaller than socialism but more deadly, especially to children. more...

To my disappointment I now realized that to know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody. more...

I take it to be axiomatic that people are revolted by witnessing the shameless gratification of an appetite they do not share. more...

I started to shed the monstrous aesthetic affectation of my youth so as to make room for the monstrous philistine postures of middle age, but it was some years before I was bold enough to decline an invitation to Hamlet on the grounds that I knew who won. more...

I acquiesced in this on the grounds that the most anyone can expect from a holiday is a change of agony. more...

As someone remarked, when told the new atomic bombs would explode without a bang, they can't leave anything alone. more...

There was no need to do any housework at all. After four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. more...

When stripped, I looked less like Il David than a plucked chicken that died of myxomatosis. more...

The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this problem by defying their elders and copying each other. more...

Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbours. more...

I now know that if you describe things as better as they are, you are considered to be romantic; if you describe things as worse than they are, you are called a realist; and if you describe things exactly as they are, you are called a satirist. more...

The simplest comment on my book came from my ballet teacher. She said, I wish you hadn't made every line funny. It's so depressing. more...

The low dive had set a standard that only middle-aged hooligans could remember and to which they looked back as Mrs Lot at Sodom. more...

Another friend began to say, Well, Quentin has a problem of adjusting himself to society and he... This sentence was never finished. The ballet teacher expostulated, I don't agree. Quentin does exactly as he pleases. The rest of us have to adapt ourselves to him. more...

He explained to me that he wanted a simple boy-meets-girl story with lyrics. This I felt was quite beyond my capabilities. I did not know any boys who met girls. more...

Existence is a funny thing that happened to me on the way to the grave. more...

Tears were to me what glass beads are to African traders. more...

An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last instalment missing. more...

If one is not going to take the necessary precautions to avoid having parents one must undertake to bring them up. more...

The key is never, never work. Nothing is more aging than work. It's not only the strain of getting up in the morning for work, but it's the resentment that settles on your face more...

Muddled syntax is the outward and audible sign of confused minds, and the misuse of grammar the result of illogical thinking. more...

I like living in one room and have never known what people do with the room they are not in. more...

It's been agony but I couldn't have done it any other way. more...

Quentin Crisp (to handsome young man on the street): "What's the matter, sexy? Don't you like dehydrated fruit? more...

If love means anything at all it means extending your hand to the unlovable. more...

If a man were to look over the fence on one side of his garden and observe that the neighbor on his left had laid his garden path round a central lawn; and were to look over the fence on the other side of his garden and observe that the neighbor on his right had laid his path down the middle of the lawn, and were then to lay his own garden path diagonally from one corner to the other, that man's soul would be lost. Originality is only to be praised when not prefaced by the look to right and left. more...

Manners are a way of getting what you want without appearing to be an absolute swine. more...

Nothing in our culture, not even home computers, is more overrated than the epidermal felicity of two featherless bipeds in desperate congress. more...

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency. more...

It is explained that all relationships require a little give and take. This is untrue. Any partnership demands that we give and give and give and at the last, as we flop into our graves exhausted, we are told that we didn't give enough. more...

When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe? more...

An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing. more...

In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast. Those who once inhabited the suburbs of human contempt find that without changing their address they eventually live in the metropolis. more...

There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse. more...

The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. more...

For an introvert his environment is himself and can never be subject to startling or unforeseen change. more...

It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style. more...

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style. more...

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. more...

The British do not expect happiness. I had the impression, all the time that I lived there, that they do not want to be happy; they want to be right. more...

Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne. more...

Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are. more...

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. more...

Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone - but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding. more...

My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it. more...

For flavor, instant sex will never supersede the stuff you have to peel and cook. more...

The poverty from which I have suffered could be diagnosed as 'Soho' poverty. It comes from having the airs and graces of a genius and no talent. more...

Life was a funny thing that happened to me on the way to the grave. more...

There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can't think what to do with the long winter evenings. more...

You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave. more...

Men get laid, but women get screwed. more...

Decency must be an even more exhausting state to maintain than its opposite. Those who succeed seem to need a stupefying amount of sleep. more...

I simply haven't the nerve to imagine a being, a force, a cause which keeps the planets revolving in their orbits and then suddenly stops in order to give me a bicycle with three speeds. more...

The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another. more...

Is not the whole world a vast house of assignation of which the filing system has been lost? more...

Manners are love in a cool climate. more...

Abatement in the hostility of one's enemies must never be thought to signify they have been won over. It only means that one has ceased to constitute a threat. more...

The law is simply expediency wearing a long white dress. more...

Though intelligence is powerless to modify character, it is a dab hand at finding euphemisms for its weaknesses. more...

It is not the simple statement of facts that ushers in freedom; it is the constant repetition of them that has this liberating effect. Tolerance is the result not of enlightenment, but of boredom. more...

Sex is the last refuge of the miserable. more...

However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police. more...

I recommend limiting one's involvement in other people's lives to a pleasantly scant minimum. more...

Living en famille provides the strongest motives for rudeness combined with the maximum opportunity for displaying it. more...

The trouble with children is that they're not returnable. more...

Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go into a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivial ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin. more...

Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbors. more...

Nothing shortens a journey so pleasantly as an account of misfortunes at which the hearer is permitted to laugh. more...

Vice is its own reward. It is virtue which, if it is to be marketed with consumer appeal, must carry Green Shield stamps. more...

To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody. more...

The idea that He would take his attention away from the universe in order to give me a bicycle with three speeds is just so unlikely I can't go along with it. more...

Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency. more...

To love another person you have to undertake some fragment of their destiny. more...

If sophistication is a matter of being in control of our primary reactions, we may now be sophisticated. At least we shall be fairly confident of ourselves and may, with any luck, be confident of others. Our object will be to enjoy our selves. But to make sure that our names are permanently on the cast list, it will be advisable to be of interest to others. This aim must never be confused with the desire to be popular. more...

You will survive if you believe in yourself. more...

I became one of the stately homos of England. more...

You see, astrology is like fortune-telling. If you can't get it right, you say, "Well, if Venus was doing something peculiar in the background, that would alter your prognostication-because, of course, astrology is rubbish. more...

Fashion is not style. Nay, we can say more: Fashion is instead of style. Style is an idiom springing spontaneously from the personality but deliberately maintained. If you have no personality, you may be able to save your face and, possibly, your entire anatomy by following the current fashion, but all we shall know about you, when we see you coming down the street, is that you had enough money to buy a glossy magazine and were sufficiently cunning to work out the cut of the garments shown therein. more...

Los Angeles is just New York lying down. more...

Assoon as I stepped out of my mother's womb on to dry land, I realized that I had made a mistake?but the trouble with children is that they are not returnable. more...

I don't hold with abroad and think that foreigners speak English when our backs are turned. more...

In England, the system is benign and the people are hostile. In America, the people are friendlyand the system is brutal! more...

I have come to think that both sex and politics are a mistake and that any attempt to establish a connection between the two is the greatest error of all. more...

Fashion is a way of not having to decide who you are. Style is deciding who you are and being able to perpetuate it. more...

I started to shed the monstrous aesthetic affectation of my youth so as to make room for the monstrous philistine postures of middle age, but it was some years before I was bold enough to decline an invitation to "Hamlet" on the grounds that I knew who won. more...

As someone remarked, when told the new atomic bombs would explode without a bang, "they can't leave anything alone. more...

The distinction between indoors and outdoors, which in England is usually so marked, was temporarily suspended in a hot gauzy haze. more...

The proprietor had hair so red that pigmentation had flowed out into every visible inch of his skin and even into the pinks of his eyes, as the colour of flowering cherry trees stains their leaves. more...

I never saw Portsmouth by day. more...

The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to place their entire life in the hands of some other person. For this purpose they frequently choose someone who doesn't even want the beastly thing. more...

If I have any talent at all, it is not for doing but for being. more...

Posing was the first job I did in which I understood what I was doing. more...

The simplest comment on my book came from my ballet teacher. She said, "I wish you hadn't made every line funny. It's so depressing. more...

Even hooligans marry, though they know that marriage is for a little while. It is alimony that is for ever. more...

Many [hooligans] discover to their shame that they have scruples; they have roots and, greatest disadvantage of all, they have hope. The fathers superior of the order do not try to influence their children in Satan; they merely shake their heads in sorrow. They know that the apostate must work out his own damnation. more...

If one is not going to take the necessary precautions to avoid having parents, one must undertake to bring them up. more...

The rest of the world in which I lived was still stumbling about in search of a weapon with which to exterminate this monster [homosexuality] whose shape and size were not yet known or even guessed at. It was thought to be Greek in origin, smaller than socialism but more deadly, especially to children. more...

Exhibitionism is like a drug. Hooked in adolescence I was now taking doses so massive they would have killed a novice. more...

Sometimes I wore a fringe so deep it obscured the way ahead. This hardly mattered. There were always others to look where I was going. more...

All liaisons between homosexuals are conducted as though they were between a chorus girl and a bishop. In some cases both parties think they are bishops. more...

I was amazed to receive later a substantial sum for sitting in my room and talking about myself. If only I could get some of the back pay! more...

The measure of woman's distaste for any part of her life lies not in the loudness of her lamentations (these are only an attempt to buy a martyr's crown at a reduced price) but in her persistent pursuit of that occupation of which she never ceases to complain. more...

God, from whose territory I had withdrawn my ambassadors at the age of fourteen. It had become obvious that he was never going to do a thing I said. more...

Michelangelo worked from within. He described not the excitements of touching or seeing a man but the excitement of being Man. more...

I found that I had become so spinsterish that I was made neurotic not only by my life of domesticity but by the slightest derangement of my room. I would burst into a fit of weeping if the kettle was not facing due east. more...

I never understood music. It seemed to me to be the maximum amount of noise conveying the minimum amount of information. more...

Mass-murderers are simply people who have had ENOUGH. more...

Even a monotonously undeviating path of self-examination does not necessarily lead to self-knowledge. I stumble towards my grave confused and hurt and hungry. more...

Bit by bit, I was becoming the almost acceptable face of homosexuality. more...


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