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Cynthia Heimel

  • When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • "Lower Manhattan Survival Tactics," Village Voice ()
  • Sex is not some sort of pristine, reverent ritual. You want reverent and pristine, go to church.

  • 'You seem to be reacting to your boyfriend as if he were your father,' your shrink may say stonily (unless she is a strict Freudian, in which case she'll shut up and wait until you think of it yourself, a process that usually takes ten years. This is why strict Freudians have such lovely summer houses).

  • Contrary to popular cable TV-induced opinion, aerobics have nothing to do with squeezing our body into hideous shiny Spandex, grinning like a deranged orangutan, and doing cretinous steps to debauched disco music.

  • Not one woman over seventeen has any faith in her skin tone, and no woman over thirty can ever regard her upper arms with equanimity.

  • We have no faith in ourselves. I have never met a woman who, deep down in her core, really believes she has great legs. And if she suspects that she might have great legs, then she's convinced that she has a shrill voice and no neck.

  • A sense of humor isn't everything. It's only 90 percent of everything.

  • Nobody, but nobody, is as fat as she thinks she is.

  • The moment you decide that you're a grownup now, and therefore must put away foolish things like staying out all night or cruising down strange highways is the moment you will lose that ineffable glow of youth. If you don't believe me, look around. Study those people who would rather go to shopping malls than dance halls, who think the height of depravity is bidding two no trump with only fifteen points. Every single one of these people has a stringy neck.

  • Swingers are all from the suburbs and consequently brain-addled by car pools, shopping malls, and welcome wagons.

  • All men are not slimy warthogs. Some men are silly giraffes, some woebegone puppies, some insecure frogs. But if one is not careful, those slimy warthogs can ruin it for all the others.

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • in Ms. ()
  • A person who uses party as a verb is a person who will walk into a shop and walk out wearing a rubber jumpsuit.

  • Possessions, for the terminally frightened, bring peace of mind.

  • The country is suffering from musical-chairs syndrome. We all dance around for a bit and then when we try to sit down again, somebody doesn't have a chair. We're running scared; we want ours.

  • A comedian is not funny unless he is taking his demons out for a walk.

  • It seems to me, correct me if I'm wrong, that there are an awful lot of people in Manhattan. And it's getting worse.

  • Never judge someone by who he's in love with; judge him by his friends. People fall in love with the most appalling people.

  • If you can't live without me, why aren't you dead yet?

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • book title ()
  • Here is Heimel's Law: Anything you fantasize about won't come true. So just cut it out.

  • Infidelity is such a pretty word, so light and delicate. Whereas the act itself is dark and thick with guilt, betrayal, confusion, pain, and (okay) sometimes enormous pleasure.

  • Every writer will pick up the phone the instant it rings, because we have to know. It could be anybody. We pick up phones even when we're sleeping. I personally will ignore a phone only if I'm fighting or fucking, but some writers won't, even then.

  • Your whole being is involved in taking care of someone else, worrying about what they think of you, how they treat you, how you can make them treat you better. Right now everyone in the world seems to think that they are codependent and that they come from dysfunctional families. They call it codependency. I call it the human condition.

  • No, it's not just you. No one is getting laid.

  • A women needs a man like a fish needs a net.

  • ... it is a shoe designer's job to be a year ahead of our collective unconscious.

  • [On her dogs:] I have four now. My friends tell me if I get any more they'll have to hold an intervention.

  • Women are not ladies. The term connotes females who are simultaneously put on a pedestal and patronized.

  • Dogs do all the things we want to do but won't. Dogs act exactly the way we would act if we had no shame.

  • Dogs are us, only innocent.

  • ... we know that our world is corrupt and diseased but we're tired of being cynical and feeling helpless. What the hell, tilt at a windmill.

  • The only women who don't believe that sexual harassment is a real problem in this country are women who have never been in the workplace.

  • There is one thing that humans strive for with every cell, every gene, every nerve fiber of our beings. ... More than Mallomars, more than hot sex, we want to belong.

  • The buying of a self-help book is the most desperate of all human acts. It means you've lost your mind completely: You've entrusted your mental health to a self-aggrandizing twit with a psychology degree and a yen for a yacht.

  • When women are excited about a date, they go immediately on a diet, because all women know they are hideously obese.

  • Wearing makeup is an apology for our actual faces.

  • He's got so many love handles he needs a bookmark to find his shorts.

  • 'Slut' used to mean a slovenly woman. Now it means a woman who will go to bed with everyone. This is considered a bad thing in a woman, although perfectly fabulous in a man. 'Bitch' means a woman who will go to bed with everyone but you.

  • ... a car is just a moving, giant handbag! You never have actually to carry groceries, or dry cleaning, or anything! You can have five pairs of shoes with you at all times!

  • Los Angeles people are incapable of passively mainlining TV and movies. Here you have to read who produced or directed every episode, who wrote it, who had guests shots and whether you know them personally and if they like you. You have to figure out who everybody's agent is and whether yours is better. You not only know but deeply care about the difference between such job titles as Producer, Supervising Producer, and Executive Story Editor. ... So while the rest of the country is lying stupid in a media-induced coma, people in L.A. are in constant withdrawal.

  • ... success in L.A. is completely arbitrary. One day you're the brilliant genius of life, the next day people act like there's a bad smell when you approach. Lots of expensive, late-model cars are offered in the L.A. Times every day by people who have suddenly begun to smell bad. The stakes are just too high for human dignity.

  • If you leave me, can I come too?

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • book title ()
  • Throughout their lives, women try to pummel their bodies into some phantom ideal shape that exists only with a lot of airbrushing. ... I don't blame men for this. Men seem to go for us no matter what size and shape we are. I blame capitalism. No, really. The consumer must constantly be in a state of anxious low self-esteem so that she will constantly buy lipsticks and girdles to make her feel cuter.

  • Dogs are forever in the moment. They are always a tidal wave of feelings, and every feeling is some variant of love.

  • Women wearing men's clothes are chic, men wearing women's clothes make us fall on the floor laughing.

  • Friends are the twenty-first-century version of extended families.

  • [On peanut M&Ms:] It is the eggness of them. A shell, chocolate placenta, proteiny peanut baby. Life shape, birth shape, cell shape, protoplasmic-ooze shape. A shape that calls straight through civilization to our reptilian brains.

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • in Village Voice ()
  • Dogs and humans are symbiotic species. We need each other.

  • Reading is an escape, an education, a delving into the brain of another human being on such an intimate level that every nuance of thought, every snapping of synapse, every slippery desire of the author is laid open before you like, well, a book.

    • Cynthia Heimel,
    • The New York Times Book Review ()

Cynthia Heimel, U.S. writer, playwright

(1947)