Saturday, November 6, 2010

Channeling Dorothy Parker

It's just 10:30 a.m. and I've already got martinis on my mind.  My darling sister Mary turns 50 this coming week (sorry M - guess the cat's out of the bag now) and five of the six sisters (and a couple of nieces) are celebrating today with an afternoon of shopping fun - and then a sleepover at a nearby Hampton Inn.

It's during the sleepover part that the martinis will come into play.   And play is exactly what I need after a particularly looong week at the office.  (It's hard to go back to work after a week's vacation!  I'm ready for another one...)

courtesy of Mind Bling

Dorothy Parker and martinis somehow led me to think of Helga von Trollop.  Have any of you had the pleasure of meeting Helga or visiting her delightful blog

Helga is one of the queens of cheeky quips.  Her motto (borrowed from Mae West - or is it the other way around?) is...
 "Better to be looked over than overlooked."

That sounds like something Dorothy Parker would have said.
Are you familiar with Mrs. Parker?

Witty Dorothy Parker (1895 - 1967) was a poet, short story writer, literary and theatre critic - and was the darling of the New York literary scene in the 1920's and 30's.

Parker was the best known female member of the Algonquin Round Table.  Each day at a 44th Street Manhatten hotel a collection of journalists, actors, writers, and other artists gathered around this famed table.
"Algonquin Roundtable" cartoon by Al Hirschfeld

Dorothy Parker is perhaps most famous for her tart sayings and playful turns of phrase - like the drinking quote (...four, I'm under my host) above.   She had a reputation during her lifetime as being one of the wittiest women in America.

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom
 were laid end to end,
I wouldn't be a bit surprised." - Dorothy Parker 

I was first introduced to "Dottie" through the rather grim (warning!) but still fabulous 1994 film "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle." 

The cast includes some of my favorites: Jennifer Jason Leigh (who won a Golden Globe for her performance), Campbell Scott, Matthew Broderick, Andrew McCarthy, Jennifer Beals, Sam Robards, and Gwyneth Paltrow. 

If you're intrigued with the arts and literary scene of the 1920's and 30's - and adore fashions from that era as much as I do, you'll enjoy this film.  (Tip: the entire film is available in a series of 13 videos on YouTube!)

courtesy of Paikov

Here's more fun from Mrs. Parker...

photo courtesy of frogsmoke
"Brevity is the soul of lingerie."  - D.P.

"Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." - D. P.

photo courtesy of Heartaches and Handbags

"It serves me right to put all my eggs in one bastard."
                                                             - Dorothy Parker

I would like to have seen Helga and Dorothy Parker sharing a table back in the 1920's.  Better yet, add witty British bloggers Vix and Ivy Black to the mix.  Now that would have been a hoot of a conversation to listen to.

Admittedly, I tend to be a bit on the prim and proper side sometimes.  (My German Catholic upbringing, perhaps?)  And I can always use a little help from martinis and such to loosen up a bit.  So before I head over to meet my sisters today, I'm going to be channeling Dorothy Parker and all my lighthearted blogging friends to lift my spirits. 

Here's to blogging, to friendship - and a drink that warms the soul!

As Dorothy Parker once said: 

"I'd rather have a bottle in front me than a frontal lobotomy."

Yes, this is Greta Garbo...

Have a wonderful weekend -


  1. I just love Dorothy Parker - she is one of my alltime favourites! This was an awesome entry - thank your for that. :") I love the quotes you have chosen.

    Wasn't it hard for you to understand who is who in "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" with no preparatory training? I mean this film is chock-full with characters. - characters in every meaning.. ;")

  2. I mean I had some trouble getting to know who is who in this film - though I just love it: It's like a giant picture: Every time I see it I notice something new! :")

  3. I LOVE Dorothy! Two more of my favorite DP quips:

    - In a book review: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."

    - In response to her editor, asking for more stories during her honeymoon: "I’ve been too fucking busy – and vice versa."

    Have a fun time with sisters and martinis!

  4. I have heard of Dorothy Parker, but now I must find her writing. Thanks for blogging about her! My favorite Mae West quote is:

    "A Good man is hard to find, but a hard man is good to find"

  5. Love the Hirshfield cartoon, too.

  6. I don't know lots about Dorothy Parker but have heard lots of her quotes, all of which I have thought incredibly witty!

    Have fun at your sister's 50th birthday party!

  7. I had heard that Martini comment somewhere before but I had forgotten about it! Great post. She was indeed very witty!

  8. Susan, I hope your shopping & sipping with sisters and nieces was pleasant. Thanks for the interesting post about the witty Ms. Parker. ~ Michael

  9. Have fun at the party! I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, too (even after the two bottles I consumed last night).
    I haven't met the divine Helga....yet! We're working on a trip some time soon though, horrah! xxx

  10. I really enjoyed this post. I saw this movie too awhile back. Happy Birthday to your sister , turning 50 is magical . I wish all of you much love and happiness and hope you have a great party. Have another wonderful week.

  11. Hello Frl. Irene! - I agree that it would definitely help to do a bit of homework before viewing the film, especially to have a good idea of who is sitting around the Algonquin table. They are definitely all characters!

    Fiona, Lady Cherry, Michael, Jann - glad you enjoyed the Dorothy quotes. Thanks for the good wishes for my weekend. I had a great time with my sisters! - but as it turns out we ended up having margaritas instead of martinis. They work just as well. ;-)

    Kim B - Mae West is lots of fun, isn't she? And that "hard man" quote is perfection.

    Bob - Thanks for adding to the collection of DP quotes. I especially like that second "f-ing busy" quote. Of course, Prim and proper me wouldn't have dared include that one in my post - but it's just fine coming from you. :-)

    Vix - Sounds like you and Dorothy would have hit it off very well! And I'm sure that you and Helga will, when you meet. You'll have to fill us in, and share lots of photos!

    - S

  12. Thank you for the mention, my dear! I love Dorothy Parker and I always fancied having a drink or ten with

  13. Ivy...a drink or ten! Yep, I guess I picked the right woman for the job. ;-)

  14. Oooo,such sweet flattery! It'll get you (almost)everywhere! Thank you so much,doll!
    I'd rather a full bottle in front of me too!That's one of my fave DP lines! I loved that movie,by the way.Would love to see it again.
    I imagine that when Vix & I finally meet it will be fabulous fireworks!!! I can't wait!

  15. Ah yes, the witty gritty Ms. P. I was known as Mrs. Parker in graduate school, so dubbed by a friend of mine. Another few great Parker=isms: Red Wine brings me courage and "I hate almost all rich people but think I'd be darling at it." Great post!

  16. Helga, it was my pleasure! Reading your blog is always one of the highlights of my day.

    Baroness/Jill - I can definitely see why your friend dubbed you Mrs. Parker! Thanks for adding to the collection of Parker=isms.

    I'll bet I'd be darling at being rich too. :)

  17. whoops i realize i commented on the post below saying that I love the martini image but i wanted to correct that and post it here!!! Drink imagery makes me smile!

  18. Great post, Susan! I love the martini reference! I also love that quote! Too funny! I am a martini girl myself! My favorite martini is a very dry Belvedere martini served "up" with two olives!

    I have heard of Dorothy Parker but I am not familiar with her work. I think I need to do my own research! She sounds like an amazingly smart and funny woman!


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