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Lisa Birnbach

  • It is the inalienable right of every man, woman, and child to wear khaki.

  • Looking, acting, and ultimately being Prep is not restricted to an elite minority lucky enough to attend prestigious private schools, just because an ancestor or two happened to arrive here on the Mayflower. You don't even have to be a registered Republican.

  • In a true democracy everyone can be upper class and live in Connecticut.

  • Like everything else, Preppiness begins in the home.

  • Always underdress. The goal is not to look as if you made an effort for the particular event. If you can dress for a different party (i.e., wear black tie to a cocktail party, or tennis clothes for lunch), so much the better. You give the impression of being much in demand.

  • Preppy clothes are built to last, since they certainly won't go out of style.

  • Wool, cotton, and the odd bits of silk and cashmere are the only acceptable materials for Prep clothes. They look better. They require professional maintenance. They are more expensive.

  • Even if they've never been near a duck blind or gone beagling, Preppies are dressed for it. Rugged outerwear (snakeproof boots, jackets that will keep you warm at 60 degrees below zero) and hearty innerwear (fishermen's sweaters and flannel-lined khakis) are de rigueur in even the most sophisticated suburbs.

  • Summer is a verb.

  • Sarcasm mascarades as the Preppy's sense of humor.

  • Cynical speech is characterized by a lengthening of vowel sounds in the syllable that is normally accented, i.e., 'Woooonderful.' Derivation of this attitude can be traced to the manufacture of the first synthetic fabrics. 'That sweater's proooobably acryyyylic.'

  • 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.

  • If you tell a friend a secret, she will keep the secret by telling only one other person.

    • Lisa Birnbach,
    • in Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman, Patricia Marx, 1,003 Great Things About Friends ()
  • Though she has a lot of dirt on you, she'd never blackmail you.

    • Lisa Birnbach,
    • in Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman, Patricia Marx, 1,003 Great Things About Moms ()
  • She doesn't say 'I told you so' nearly as often as she could.

    • Lisa Birnbach,
    • in Lisa Birnbach, Ann Hodgman, Patricia Marx, 1,003 Great Things About Moms ()

Lisa Birnbach, U.S. writer, editor

(1957)