Charles Bukowski is one of the most famous and controversial authors of our time. His raw and honest style has earned him a loyal following, as well as a great deal of criticism. One of Bukowski’s most popular novels is “Women.”
This novel is made up of a series of vignettes that explore the male-female dynamic in all its complexity. In this blog post, we will look at some of the most memorable quotes from “Women.”
About Charles Bukowski
Henry Charles Bukowski was a German-American Poet, Novelist & Short story writer. He was born on 16th, August 1920 in Andernach, Prussia, Germany, and died on March 9th, 1994 in LA, California, USA.
His work was inspired by the social, cultural, and economic climate of his native city of Los Angeles. His writing focuses on the common experiences of low-income Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with females, and job routine.
Bukowski published his first story when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five.
Now let’s take a look at some of the best Charles Bukowski quotes from “Women”
Here are all-time great Charles Bukowski Quotes
In “Women,” Bukowski delivers blistering insights into the minds of men and women alike. These quotes from the novel perfectly capture the essence of Bukowski’s unique voice.
After reading these quotes, you’ll have a much better understanding of what makes him one of the most celebrated writers of our time. Enjoy!
1. “Human relationships were strange. I mean, you were with one person a while, eating and sleeping and living with them, loving them, talking to them, going places together, and then it stopped. Then there was a short period when you weren’t with anybody, then another woman arrived, and you ate with her and fucked her, and it all seemed so normal as if you had been waiting just for her and she had been waiting for you. I never felt right being alone; sometimes it felt good but it never felt right.”
2. “No, the less I see them the better I like them.”
3. “Love is a form of prejudice. I have too many other prejudices.”
4. “As a recluse, I couldn’t bear traffic. It had nothing to do with jealousy, I simply disliked people, crowds, anywhere, except at my readings. People diminished me, they sucked me dry.”
5. “Gradually I came to realize that my understanding of women goes only as far as the pleasure is concerned.”
6. “She had wild eyes, slightly insane. She also carried an overload of compassion that was real enough and which obviously cost her something.”
7. “When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age, there was very little left to kill. It was good to be old, no matter what they said. It was reasonable that a man had to be at least 50 years old before he could write with anything like clarity.”
8. “Look, let me put it this way: with me, you’re number one and there isn’t even a number two.”
9. “I never felt right being alone; sometimes it felt good but it never felt right.”
10. ‘Almost everybody does only they don’t know it.”
11. “I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn’t want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn’t understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores.”
12. “Once a woman turns against you, forget it. They can love you, then something turns in them. They can watch you dying in a gutter, run over by a car, and they’ll spit on you.”
13. “I like to change liquor stores frequently because the clerks got to know your habits if you went in night and day and bought huge quantities. I could feel them wondering why I wasn’t dead yet and it made me uncomfortable. They probably weren’t thinking any such thing, but then a man gets paranoid when he has 300 hangovers a year.”
14. “That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
15. “being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.”
16. “Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, healthy foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Bach, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.”
17. “People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.”
18. “You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.”
19. “I was sentimental about many things: a woman’s shoes under the bed; one hairpin left behind on the dresser; the way they said, ‘I’m going to pee.’ hair ribbons; walking down the boulevard with them at 1:30 in the afternoon, just two people walking together; the long nights of drinking and smoking; talking; the arguments; thinking of suicide; eating together and feeling good; the jokes; the laughter out of nowhere; feeling miracles in the air; being in a parked car together; comparing past loves at 3am; being told you snore; hearing her snore; mothers, daughters, sons, cats, dogs; sometimes death and sometimes divorce; but always carring on, always seeing it through; reading a newspaper alone in a sandwich joint and feeling nausea because she’s now married to a dentist with an I.Q. of 95; racetracks, parks, park picnics; even jails; her dull friends; your dull friends; your drinking, her dancing; your flirting, her flirting; her pills, your fucking on the side and her doing the same; sleeping together”
20. “And yet women-good women–frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.”
21. “Oh, I don’t mean you’re handsome, not the way people think of handsome. Your face seems kind. But your eyes – they’re beautiful. They’re wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.”
22. “I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone. On the other hand, when I got drunk I screamed, went crazy, and got all out of hand. One kind of behavior didn’t fit the other. I didn’t care.”
23. “I think I need a drink.’
24. “I was glad I wasn’t in love, that I wasn’t happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, and dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.”
25. “Human relationships didn’t work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death–in a cesspool.”
26. “Goodness can be found sometimes in the middle of hell.”
27. People run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.
28. I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.
29. The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life away to a function that doesn’t interest you.
30. How the hell could a person enjoy being awakened at 6:30 AM, by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
31. If you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.
32. Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.
33. The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
34. Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must live.
35. I don’t like the clean-shaven boy with the necktie and the good job. I like desperate men, men with broken teeth and broken minds and broken ways. They interest me. They are full of surprises and explosions.
36. There isn’t a better way to drink than at a small table over a white tablecloth with a good-looking woman.
37. I’m just an alcoholic who became a writer so that I would be able to stay in bed until noon.
38. Hello, Death. But I’ve had almost 6 decades. I’ve given you so many clean shots at me what I should have been yours long ago. I want to be buried near the racetrack… where I can hear the stretch run.
39. And if you have the ability to love, love yourself first.
40. There is always one woman to save you from another.
41. I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.
42. We really had nothing to do but drink wine and make love.
43. In the sun and in the rain, in the day and in the night, pain is a flower, pain is flowers, blooming all the time.
44. It is hard to find a man whose poems don’t finally disappoint you.
45. She’s more dangerous than all the armies of all time.
Absolutely. He is one of the greatest, most brutal poet/writers you’ll ever read.
Charles Bukowski was a prolific underground writer who used his poetry and prose to depict the depravity of urban life and the downtrodden in American society.
I would recommend to read them all and to start with ‘Ham on Rye’, then ‘Post Office’, ‘Factotum’, ‘Women’, ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Pulp’.
Let’s Wind Up…
Charles Bukowski is one of the most famous and renowned writers of our time. His writing style is unique and his words are powerful. “Women” is a novel that speaks to the heart of many people.
These 45 quotes from the book perfectly encapsulate what it means to be a woman in today’s society. We hope you enjoyed them!