I Require Only Three Things of a Man. He Must Be Handsome, Ruthless, and Stupid

Dorothy Parker? John Keats? Richard L. Jenkins? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A prominent witty woman once described three qualities she desired in a man. He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid. This viewpoint has been ascribed to poet and critic Dorothy Parker. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Dorothy Parker died in 1967. The earliest match for this expression known to QI appeared in the 1970 biography “You Might as Well Live: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker” by John Keats. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1970, You Might as Well Live: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker by John Keats, Part 2, Section 4, Quote Page 105, Simon and Schuster, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)

She decided to give life another chance. “Into love and out again/Thus I went and thus I go,” she said, and so it was with her. She would give love another chance, too, but this time on her own terms.

“I require only three things of a man,” she said. “He must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid.”

The first quotation above concerning love is from the eight-line poem “Theory” which appeared in Parker’s 1928 collection “Sunset Gun”.[2] 1941 (Copyright 1928), Sunset Gun, Poems by Dorothy Parker, Poem: Theory, Quote Page 64, (Published in 1928 by Horace Liveright), The Sun Dial Press, Garden City, New York. (Verified with scans)

The second quotation about Parker’s three requirements has not been antedated, and John Keats did not provide a citation. Nevertheless, researchers find the attribution credible.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Require Only Three Things of a Man. He Must Be Handsome, Ruthless, and Stupid

References

References
1 1970, You Might as Well Live: The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker by John Keats, Part 2, Section 4, Quote Page 105, Simon and Schuster, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
2 1941 (Copyright 1928), Sunset Gun, Poems by Dorothy Parker, Poem: Theory, Quote Page 64, (Published in 1928 by Horace Liveright), The Sun Dial Press, Garden City, New York. (Verified with scans)
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