Namaste friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. City of Girls is a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.
Oh, dear. Sometimes it takes a very long while to figure things out.
War is a dreadful business, but it teaches everyone something.
A writer’s life was easier than an actor’s life. Writers get to set their own hours, they aren’t at the mercy of an audience, and there’s no director telling them what to do.
Don’t ask questions that you don’t want to know the answers to.
Manhattan is an island. People forget that. Walk far enough in any direction, and you’ll run into water. If you hit a river, turn around and go in the other direction. You’ll learn your way around. Dumber people than you have figured out this city.
Never learn to type, kiddo. And if you do learn to type, never tell anybody that you can type, or they’ll make you do it forever. Never learn shorthand, either. It’ll be the death of you. Once they put a steno pad in a woman’s hand, it never comes out.
If you know anything about the friendships of young girls, you will know that there is always one person playing the part of the handmaiden.
Well, you can’t have too much conscience about things! Or else you’ll never stop worrying!
Dance until you collapse, and then keep dancing for a little bit longer after that.
Oh, our youthful needs! Oh, the deliciously blinding yearnings of the young - which inevitably take us right to the edges of cliffs, or trap us in cul-de-sacs of our design.
To get “good” at sex - which, for a woman, means learning how to enjoy and even orchestrate the act, to the point of her own climax - one needs time, patience, and an attentive lover.
In this shallow world a pretty face means everything.
The problem with stage actresses is that once they are gone, they are forgotten. If you never saw her perform onstage, then you would not be able to understand her power and appeal.
The thing about rakishness, is that it should never seem intentional.
The trouble with so many aging actresses is that they don’t want to let nature do as it wishes.
You can never anticipate how a woman is going to react to meeting a showgirl. A showgirl in full costume is intentionally designed to make all other females look and feel insignificant by comparison. You need to have a considerable amount of self-confidence, as a woman, to stand in the lavish radiance of a showgirl without flinching, resenting, or melting away.
It’s not difficult to compliment people in order to try to win their affections. What is difficult is to do it in the right way.
The thing about fashion, my dears, is that you don’t need to follow it, no matter what they say. No fashion trend is compulsory, remember - and if you dress too much in the style of the moment, it makes you look like a nervous person. Paris is all well and good, but we can’t just follow Paris for the sake of Paris, now can we?
Whenever you are faced with the prospect of purchasing gloves, you must ask yourself if you would be bereft to lose one of them in the back of a taxicab. If not, then don’t buy them. You should only buy gloves so beautiful that to lose one of them would break your heart.
When you have found your own success as a woman, you may do such a fun thing as marry a handsome man who is very much your junior. Consider it a reward for all your hard work.
The difference between making a dress and making a costume, of course, is that dresses are sewn, but costumes are built. Many people these days can sew, but not many know how to build. A costume is a prop for the stage, as much as any piece of furniture, and it needs to be strong. You never know what’s going to happen in a performance, and so the costume must be ready for anything.
Youth and beauty - they’re such a short lease, girlie. Even if you’re the most beautiful girl in the room right now, there are ten new beauties coming up behind you all the time - younger ones, fresher ones.
People will tell you not to waste your youth having too much fun, but they’re wrong. Youth is an irreplaceable treasure, and the only respectable thing to do with irreplaceable treasure is to waste it. So do the right thing with your youth, squander it.
I love married women. You know that. Ideally, happily married ones. A happily married woman is the most solid friend a man could ever have.
The trick of comedy, is not to perform it in a comic manner. Don’t try to be funny, and you’ll be funny. Just do that effortless thing you Brits do, of throwing away half the lines as though you can scarcely be bothered to care, and it’ll be brilliant. Comedy is always best when it’s thrown away.
I hate to disappoint you, but it’s best you learn now: most marriages are neither heavenly nor hellish, but vaguely purgatorial.
Here is the thing about drinking: one can always drink more, if one is truly committed. It’s just a matter of discipline, really.
This is what flirtation is in its purest form - a conversation held without words. Flirtation is a series of silent questions that one person asks another person with their eyes. And the answer to those questions is always the same word: Maybe.
You can always find girls who can dance like angels, and some boys, too. But to get a man who can dance like a man - that’s not easily found.
Well, comedy is hard. Keeping things light is heavy work.
I still wasn’t a real New Yorker, you see. I was still a tourist. You don’t become a real New Yorker until you can manage the city alone.
When an audience is happy with what they’re watching, they always look so goddamn proud of themselves. As if they made the play themselves, the selfish bastards.
Critics cannot make someone a star. Box-office receipts cannot make someone a star. Mere excellence cannot make someone a star. What makes someone a star is when the people decide to love you en masse. When people are willing to line up at the stage door for hours after a show just to catch a glimpse - that makes you a star.
You know how that is. Sometimes you want to rub elbows with people who weren’t raised the same way as you. Expand your horizons. Maybe it builds character.
I quickly discovered that three people engaging in sexual exploits at the same time can be both a problematic and arduous situation. One never quite knows where to put one’s attention, you see. There are so many limbs to organize! There can be a great deal of: Oh, pardon me, I didn’t see you there. And just when you’re getting settled into something nice, somebody new shows up to interrupt you. One also never quite knows when it is over. Just when you think you’re done with your pleasure, you find that somebody out there isn’t yet done with theirs, and back you go, into the fray.
I’m a newsman. If it’s true or interesting, I got no choice but to publish it.
Admit what you did. Take your lumps. The sooner you get flattened to the ground, the sooner you can begin to rebuild your life again. That’s always been my experience, anyway. Take it from an old pro.
I was not one for telling the truth back then. Truth telling was not my first instinct in any situation - especially in stressful situations. It took me many years to become an honest person, and I know why: because the truth is often terrifying. Once you introduce truth into a room, the room may never be the same again.
Falling apart is something that all pretty young girls seem to know how to do instinctively - and they do it because it works. It works for the same reason that an octopus is able to escape in a cloud of ink: because tears provide a distracting screen. Buckets of tears can divert difficult conversations and alter the flow of natural consequences. The reason for this is that most people (men especially) hate to see a pretty young girl crying, and they will automatically rush to comfort her - forgetting what they were talking about only a moment before. At the very least, a thick showering of tears can create a pause - and in that pause, a pretty young girl can buy herself some time.
A majority of the time, jewelry is an attempt to cover up a badly chosen or ill-fitting garment.
Having money saved is not quite the same thing as having a plan, mind you - but it does start to make a girl feel as though a plan could someday be possible.
I don’t like New York. It’s a city full of second-place winners.
If you take on this commitment, at the very least, we expect you to see it through. One cannot afford in life to do less than one promises.
I’m sorry for many of the things I’ve done, too. Everyone is sorry. It’s good to be sorry - but don’t make a fetish of it.
It’s easy to be wise after the event. But what’s the use of being twenty years old, if not to make gross errors?
I like you, kiddo, and once I like a person, I can only like them always. That’s a rule of my life.
You must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it. Someone makes a promise, and then they break it. A play gets good notices, and then it folds. A marriage looks strong, and then they divorce. For a while there’s no war, and then there’s another war. If you get too upset about it all, you become a stupid, unhappy person - and where’s the good in that?
Don’t marry a man just because he’s nice. And try not to make a habit of getting engaged in the first place. It can lead to marriage if you’re not careful.
Well, if you can’t make a plan for your own life, then somebody needs to be your mother!
Eating alone by the window in a quiet restaurant is one of life’s greatest secret pleasures.
When I was younger, I had wanted to be at the very center of all the action in New York, but I slowly came to realize that there is no one center. The center is everywhere - wherever people are living out their lives. It’s a city with a million centers. Somehow that was even more magical to know.
As any New Yorker can tell you, you will eventually run into everyone on the sidewalks of this city. For that reason, New York is a terrible town in which to have an enemy.
When we are young, we may fall victim to the misconception that time will heal all wounds and that eventually everything will shake itself out. But as we get older, we learn this sad truth: some things can never be fixed. Some mistakes can never be put right - not by the passage of time, and not by our most fervent wishes, either. In my experience, this is the hardest lesson of them all.
Resist change at your own peril. When something ends, let it end.
Sometimes it’s just true that other people have better ideas for your life than you do.
Perhaps marriage wasn’t such a great bargain for women, after all. When I looked around at all the women I knew who’d been married for more than five or ten years, I didn’t see anybody whose lives I envied. Once the romance had faded, these women all seemed to be living in constant service to their husbands.
Nothing will uproot your life more violently than true love - at least as far as I’ve always witnessed.
Life is both dangerous and fleeting, and thus there is no point in denying yourself pleasure or adventure while you are here.
At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.
When women are gathered together with no men around, they don’t have to be anything in particular; they can just be.
After a certain age, time just drizzles down upon your head like rain in the month of March: you’re always surprised at how much of it can accumulate, and how fast.
Lucky is the soul whose only troubles are self-inflicted.
The world ain’t straight. You grow up thinking things are a certain way. You think there are rules. You think there’s a way that things have to be. You try to live straight. But the world doesn’t care about your rules, or what you believe. The world ain’t straight. Never will be. Our rules, they don’t mean a thing.
Sex is so often a cheat - a shortcut of intimacy. A way to skip over knowing somebody’s heart by knowing, instead, their mere body.
We are the way we are - there’s nothing to be done for it.
There is a limit, I have found, to how much you can mourn as “tragic” the death of an older person who has lived a rich life, and who is privileged enough to die surrounded by loved ones. There are so many worse ways to live, after all, and so many worse ways to die.
I believe a dress should flatter not only a woman’s figure, but also her intelligence.
That’s the good thing about never changing your name or your address, I suppose. People always know where to find you.
This is what I’ve found about life, as I’ve gotten older: you start to lose people. It’s not that there is ever a shortage of people - oh, heavens no. It is merely that - as the years pass - there comes to be a terrible shortage of your people. The ones you loved. The ones who knew the people that you both loved. The ones who know your whole history. Those people start to be plucked away by death, and they are awfully hard to replace after they go. After a certain age, it can become difficult to make new friends. The world can begin to feel lonely and sparse, teeming though it may be with freshly minted young souls.