Vox Populi

A curated webspace for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 16,000 daily subscribers. Over 7,000 archived posts.

Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.

In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.

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

By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing.
And he vows his passion is,
Infinite, undying.
Lady make note of this —
One of you is lying.

Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.

I hate writing, I love having written.

Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
After four I’m under my host.

Tell him I was too fucking busy– or vice versa.

What fresh hell is this?

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

Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can’t say ‘No’ in any of them.

She was pleased to have him come and never sorry to see him go.

Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.

If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.

These quotations are selected by Michael Simms from The Portable Dorothy Parker (Penguin, 2006).

Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; 1893 – 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist based in New York; she was best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. From a conflicted and unhappy childhood, Parker rose to acclaim, both for her literary works published in such magazines as The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table. Following the breakup of the circle, Parker traveled to Hollywood to pursue screenwriting. Her successes there, including two Academy Award nominations, were curtailed when her involvement in left-wing politics and civil rights activism resulted in her being placed on the Hollywood blacklist. Dismissive of her own talents, she deplored her reputation as a “wisecracker.” Nevertheless, both her literary output and reputation for sharp wit have endured.

9 comments on “Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This?

  1. Mike Schneider
    April 22, 2023

    My friend & former professor, Bob Gale, did a study of Parker — titled Characters and Plots in Dorothy Parker’s Short Stories. My friend Jan Hamilton had fun reciting her naughty martini quatrain at Bob’s 100th birthday party, with Bob lip-synching along. We miss Bob.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    April 22, 2023

    I have said “don’t look at me in that tone of voice” for years and for some reason, thought I had invented it. What else have I unwittingly plagiarized?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rose Mary Boehm
    April 22, 2023

    O.M.G., I quite forgot about her. And all these years later, she is still as sharp as any Damscene dagger and still makes me laugh out lout.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      April 22, 2023

      I love DP’s writing, but I don’t think I would have liked spending an evening with her. I’m afraid she would see though me, slice and dice my ego, and serve it as a bar snack for her friends.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on April 22, 2023 by in Humor and Satire, Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , .

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 16,092 other subscribers

Blog Stats

  • 4,683,350 hits


%d bloggers like this: