The British do not expect happiness. I had the impression, all the time that I lived there, that they do not want to be happy; they want to be right.
— Quentin Crisp
For an introvert his environment is himself and can never be subject to startling or unforeseen change.
Manners are love in a cool climate.
To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody.
You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave.
Decency must be an even more exhausting state to maintain than its opposite. Those who succeed seem to need a stupefying amount of sleep.
The poverty from which I have suffered could be diagnosed as 'Soho' poverty. It comes from having the airs and graces of a genius and no talent.
In an expanding universe, time is on the side of the outcast. Those who once inhabited the suburbs of human contempt find that without changing their address they eventually live in the metropolis.
Though intelligence is powerless to modify character, it is a dab hand at finding euphemisms for its weaknesses.
There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn't get any worse.
The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us.
When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, 'Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?
There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can't think what to do with the long winter evenings.
Men get laid, but women get screwed.
Is not the whole world a vast house of assignation of which the filing system has been lost?
Living en famille provides the strongest motives for rudeness combined with the maximum opportunity for displaying it.
The law is simply expediency wearing a long white dress.
My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it.
Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.
The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.
Sex is the last refuge of the miserable.
Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go into a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivial ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin.
An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.
Nothing shortens a journey so pleasantly as an account of misfortunes at which the hearer is permitted to laugh.
I simply haven't the nerve to imagine a being, a force, a cause which keeps the planets revolving in their orbits and then suddenly stops in order to give me a bicycle with three speeds.
The trouble with children is that they're not returnable.
The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.
Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are.
Abatement in the hostility of one's enemies must never be thought to signify they have been won over. It only means that one has ceased to constitute a threat.
Life was a funny thing that happened to me on the way to the grave.
It's no good running a pig farm badly for 30 years while saying, 'Really, I was meant to be a ballet dancer.' By then, pigs will be your style.
It is explained that all relationships require a little give and take. This is untrue. Any partnership demands that we give and give and give and at the last, as we flop into our graves exhausted, we are told that we didn't give enough.
Vice is its own reward. It is virtue which, if it is to be marketed with consumer appeal, must carry Green Shield stamps.
It is not the simple statement of facts that ushers in freedom; it is the constant repetition of them that has this liberating effect. Tolerance is the result not of enlightenment, but of boredom.
However low a man sinks he never reaches the level of the police.
The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency.
Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone - but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding.
Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.
I recommend limiting one's involvement in other people's lives to a pleasantly scant minimum.
Health consists of having the same diseases as one's neighbors.
If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.
For flavor, instant sex will never supersede the stuff you have to peel and cook.