Update! I won the witticism contest, and I’m featured in the Lady Windermere’s Fan program, here.
Cal Shakes (@calshakes) is having a Twitter contest for newly-minted aphorisms. Billed as “Are you as witty as Oscar Wilde?” the contest invites the public to be as witty as possible in the manner of the famous Irish playwright . . . who was pretty damn witty.
Cal Shakes also is giving extra points if the quote is attributed to a character or mentions the theatre or a play in their 2013 season.
Here are a few I whipped up. Although I do not claim to be as witty as Oscar Wilde on my very best day, I think I do have a gift for the witticism, which I attribute to my dad.
- To be married “till death do you part” seems an alarming encouragement of future criminal activity.
- Cynicism without wit is peevishness. Wit without cynicism is impossible.
- My fondest hope is that I will live down to my reputation.
- A lack of respectability is attractive in a man but irresistible in a woman.
- Happiness is often a matter of proper elimination.
- Death is frightfully inconvenient, but it does make it much easier to manage one’s social schedule.
- “Oh, no, why didn’t I don a more fashionable dress? Now I can only be worshipped from afar.” ~Gwendolyn Fairfax
- When you sin, be like Eve: make it original.
- The road to divorce is paved with inattentions.
- “What If?” is the disease for which reckless action is the cure.
- A reputation is like an appendix. You’re uncertain what it’s good for, and when it’s gone, you don’t miss it.
- In my youth, I took a stab at marriage. It bled to death. I haven’t stabbed it since.
- The only thing more tragic than an unkempt woman is an unkept one.
- “I may lose my bags, my footing, even my husband. . . but never my composure.” ~The Duchess of Berwick
- Humility is the means by which a successful man becomes an bearable one.
- Never put a woman on a pedestal; she will only look down on you.
- Honesty is the best anomaly.
- The road to high society is paved with good pretensions.
- Integrity and morals are all well and good, but in Orinda, a well-fitted waistcoat will command more respect.
- When a married woman yields her reputation, that’s a sacrifice. When a single one does, that’s marketing.
- “Never speak off the cuff…it leads to an alarming fraying of the shirt sleeves.” ~Algernon Montcrieff
- “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they do make for delicious dinner conversation.” ~Duchess of Berwick
- I vaguely remember being respectable— it was a full-time job, and the salary was negligible.
- One deceives more often out of kindness than malice.
- People tend to drift downward: it’s called Newton’s Law of Depravity.
- “When gossip dines out, reputation pays the bill.” ~Mrs. Cowper-Cowper
- Licentiousness is the means by which a man mocks society and a woman ascends in it.
- Honesty is the first step to divorce, the poorhouse, and gaol.
- “We unconsciously adopt the vices of our friends. That’s what friends are for.” ~Duchess of Berwick
- A lack of moral principles is not nearly so frightful as a lack of dinner invitations.
- Marriage makes estranged bedfellows.
- A man is known by the liquor cabinet he keeps.
- “It’s quite exhausting to be honest. I know; I tried it once.” ~Lord Darlington
- How shall I describe Orinda? BART stops there, and it is a reliable source of lower companions.
- “Never be afraid to take a position, especially a compromising one.” ~ Lord Darlington