Norah Vincent Quotes



Best 30 Quotes by Norah Vincent

“Happiness is not a reward. It's a consequence. You have to work at it every day.”

“Is this level of athletic competition the ultimate distraction from real life? Or is it a form of prayer?”

“People see weakness in a woman and they want to help. They see weakness in a man and they want to stamp it out.”

“There is a time in a boy’s life when the sweetness is pounded out of him; and tenderness, and the ability to show what he feels, is gone.”

“There's a big difference between tolerance and approval, and I have no right to expect or demand the latter from anyone.”

“Think of what’s scary in a movie. The unseen, the imagined, is always more frightening than what’s graphically portrayed. The same holds true in your head.

Face your fear, step into it, look at it head-on and it will diminish in stature, lose its hold on your imagination. But run, and it’ll grow wings, breather fire, and fly after you.”

“This will sound strange, and yet I'm sure it was the point: it was a bit like being high. That, for me, anyway, had always been the attraction of drugs, to stop the brutal round of hypercritical thinking, to escape the ravages of an unoccupied mind cannibalizing itself.”

“When we're in the presence of another person, there is always a mask, even if that mask is our face. There is no escaping it.

And so the vast majority of what we say to each other, whether it is to our spouses, our family, our confessor, or perfect strangers, amounts to chitchat all the same.

Or at best, a crack audition for that juiciest of all parts were literally dying to play: ourselves.

But alone, f*ckin' a-lone we're genius.”

Self-Made Man Quotes

“A lot of men's bluster is really indicating how much the esteem of women means to them, and not how little. I was surprised, too, to find that men care as much as they do.”

Self-Made Man

“Being Ned was often an uncomfortable and alienating experience, and far from finding myself in him, I usually felt kept from myself in some elemental way.”

Self-Made Man

“Dating women was the hardest thing I had to to as Ned, even when the women liked me and I liked them. I have never felt more vulnerable to total strangers, never more socially defenseless than in my clanking suit of borrowed armor.

But then, I guess maybe that's one of the secrets of manhood that no man tells if he can help it. Every man's armor is borrowed and ten sizes too big, and beneath it, he's naked and insecure and hoping you won't see.”

Self-Made Man

“Ditto for the stereotype about men monopolizing conversations. Many of my dates — even the more passive ones — did most of the talking.

I listened to them talk literally for hours about the most minute, mind-numbing details of their personal lives; men they were still in love with, men they had divorced, roommates and coworkers they hated, childhoods they were loath to remember, yet somehow found the energy to recount ad nauseam.

Listening to them was like undergoing a slow frontal lobotomy. I sat there stunned by the social ineptitude of people to whom it never seemed to occur that no one, much less a first date, would have any interest in enduring this ordeal.

This was a human, not a male or female, failing.”

Self-Made Man

“Gratification kills desire. And constant gratification kills it permanently.”

Self-Made Man

“He could put up a gruff front and he was no angel, but he was really just trying to hide his sensitivities so that he could hang on to them.”

Self-Made Man

“I really like being a woman. I like it more now because I think it's more of a privilege.”

Self-Made Man

“I was boring myself. That’s the worst part of a bad date. It makes you feel like a toad, and you keep telling yourself: I know I’m more fun than this, and I know that when I came into this café I wasn’t in despair about the human condition.”

Self-Made Man

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“You're not failing because you're not motivated. You're not supposed to get far on a path that was never yours to walk.”


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“I was never mean to him, but I participated heartily when the guys teased him.”

Self-Made Man

“If women are trapped by the wh*re/Madonna complex, men are equally trapped by this warrior/minstrel complex.

What’s more, while a man is expected to be modern, that is, to support feminism in all its particulars, to see and treat women as equals in every respect, he is on the other hand often still expected to be traditional at the same time, to treat a lady like a lady, to lead the way and pick up the check.”

Self-Made Man

“It was the woman’s job to be on the defensive, because past experience had taught her to be. It was the guy’s job to be on the offensive, because he had no choice. It was that or never meet at all.”

Self-Made Man

“It’s hard to position a movement when the territory is so intimate. Men, after all, can’t exactly gather on the White House lawn and demonstrate for their right to cry in public or claim their lost fathers’ love.

These, it would seem, are matters for the therapist’s couch. Private matters.”

Self-Made Man

“Men’s healing is in women’s interest, though for women that healing will mean accepting on some level not only that men are — here is the dreaded word — victims of the patriarchy, too, but (and this will be the hardest part to swallow) that women have been co-determiners in the system, at times as invested and active as men themselves in making and keeping men in their role.”

Self-Made Man

“Women and men communicate differently, often on entirely different planes. But just as men have failed us, we have failed them.

It has been one of our great collective female shortcomings to presume that whatever we do not perceive simply isn't there, or that whatever is not communicated in our language is not intelligible speech.”

Self-Made Man

Voluntary Madness Quotes

“I could live alone forever if I just had a view of the sea.”

Voluntary Madness

“I'd been at the mercy of a prick on a power trip, the kind of buttoned-up bantam rooster who gets off on control and then, when you resist him, tells you that you've got issues with control.”

Voluntary Madness

“Like so many other high school discipline cases, he'd probably been given some hybrid cockamamie ADHD- bipolar diagnosis at a very young age and been medicated into submission for the benefit of his homeroom teacher.

We've all read about them in the paper, the problem kids who get slapped with five disorders by the time they're twelve, and horse-pilled by a culture that has pathologized everything from PMS to teen angst.”

Voluntary Madness

“No match for the horrors of lost chances.”

Voluntary Madness

“Normal life is nuts. It's a downhill deterioration to death no matter how you spice it along the way, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Now, a sane person, when faced when that, would just plunk his ass down at the starting line, or wherever along the way this realization finally came to him, and say, "Are you kidding? I quit. I'll slide the rest of the way or sit here and smoke."

It takes a true lunatic, or someone functioning with the critical apparatus of a worker bee, to keep scrabbling up that hill when he knows his destiny is dust. But that us what is required. Go on.”

Voluntary Madness

“There is a whole hell of a lot of knowledge about the human condition that we are not ready for.”

Voluntary Madness

“We tend to think of happiness (and by happiness I also mean health or overall well-being) as a gift, and sometimes it is, a pure gratuity.

But most of the time it comes about because you've done the work, prepared the ground to allow it in or tended it carefully once it has arrived.

You have to practice happiness the way you practice the piano, commit to it the way you commit to going to the gym.”

Voluntary Madness

“You want to be happy? You want to be well? Then put your boots on.”

Voluntary Madness

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“A small mind is easily filled by faith.”


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