March 8 – International Woman’s Day
And in the feminine tradition, with a woman giving the last word.
1) “The great question …which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul is: ‘What does a woman want?'”
– Sigmund Freud ((1856 – 1939), Austrian psychoanalyst, Psychiatry in American Life
What do we want? Everything we can’t have. It’s what keeps life interesting.
2) “God created woman. And boredom did indeed cease from that moment – but many other things ceased as well! Woman was God’s second mistake.”
– Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) German philosopher , The Antichrist
Or perhaps the second mistake was creating them second? Twain said God created women and felt sorry for men so then he gave them tobacco. Or maybe he meant football.
3) When asked, ‘In a world without women, what would men become?‘
“Scarce. Mighty scarce.”
– Mark Twain / Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 – 1910) American author and humorist.
Smart man, Twain. Probably also explains why he spent so much time in Vienna — smart, very smart.
4) “Warum ist uns das Weib so nötig wie rätselhaft? Weil es der falsche Schlüssel ist zu einem Tor und es dennoch öffne.” (Why is a dame so necessary and mysterious? Because she is the wrong key to a gate that opens nevertheless.)
– Albert Paris Gütersloh (1887 – 1973), Austrian painter and writer.
I am still wrapping my head around this. Insult or compliment?
5) “Die Frau betäubt den Mann angenehm, so dass er es gar nicht merkt, dass er kein Genie ist.” (Women have a way of numbing men so comfortably, that they don’t even notice, that they are no geniuses.)
— Peter Altenberg (1859 – 1919), Austrian poet and coffeehouse writer
My lovable old grump, Altenberg, translating the world for the rest of us to understand it better.
6) “Eine Frau verzeiht alles — aber sie erinnert uns oft daran, dass sie uns verziehen hat.” (A woman will forgive everything — but she will often reminds us, that she has forgiven us.)
– Karlheinz Boehm (1928 – ?) Austrian actor and philanthropist.
Makes you wonder what the good old Karlheinz did. I bet he won’t do it again, though.
7) “Wer die Frauen kennen will, muss die Männer studieren.” (Whoever wants to know women must first study men).
— Ferenc Molnar (1878 – 1952) Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and fled to the US in WWII to escape the Nazis. He was a dramaist and novelist.
Makes you want to go after good old Ferenc. But true in a way. And I would argue, if you want to know a woman, study her father. Even if we are able to grow beyond these influences, I think you can’t underestimate the extent a good dad or a lousy father can affect a little girl. So guys, be good dads!
8) “Es ist nicht wahr, dass man ohne eine Frau nicht leben kann. Man kann bloss ohne eine Frau nicht gelebt haben.”
(It is not true, that a man cannot live without a woman. A man can simply not have lived without a woman).
– Karl Kraus (1874 – 1936) Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright and poet.
I greatly admire Kraus’ shameless wit and uncompromising humor but when it comes to women, good old Karl is lacking wit, humor and good common sense. The quote above is one of the rare occassions when he was nice to us ladies. At least I think I was being nice. Maybe he wasn’t. You never know with Kraus. Which makes me admire him all the more.
9) “Eine Frau holt gerne den Rat ihres Mannes ein, schon deshalb, um ihn nicht zu befolgen.” (A woman likes to ask the advice of her husband, just so she can disobey it.)
— Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), Austrian physician and writer.
Don’t judge Arthur Schnitzler by the film “Eyes Wide Shut.” Schnitzler is one of my favorite Austrian authors and a master at deep POV. In his day, he was also quite the ladies’ man and is said to have kept a tally of his conquests, but poor Schnitzler lived a tragic life nonetheless. No study of Austria could be complete without reading some of his works. A quick intro to his writing could begin with his short story, Fräulein Else.
10) “Die Frauen bleiben immer dieselben, sie sind immer veränderlich.” (Women always stay the same, they’re constantly changing)
– Daniel Spitzer (1835- 1893) Austrian writer