Nicole Hollander

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Nicole Hollander (born April 25, 1939) is an American cartoonist and writer. Her daily comic strip Sylvia is syndicated to newspapers nationally and can be seen on her blog Bad Girl Chats. Hollander has published 19 Sylvia collections, including The Whole Enchilada: A Spicy Collection of Sylvia's Best (1986), Tales from the Planet Sylvia (1990), and The Sylvia Chronicles: 30 Years of Graphic Misbehavior from Reagan to Obama (2010). She is the author of an essay collection, Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial (2007).

Quotations from the Sylvia cartoon strip[edit]

In The Whole Enchilada

  • (Woman psychic) In June of 1987, men will begin talking about their feelings; women all over America will be sorry within minutes. (p. 23)
  • (Sylvia) You almost never see a real lady popping out of a cake. (p. 30)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) On Getting Old in America. By Sylvia. Page One. 1. Best to do it somewhere else. (p. 32)
  • (Dr. Paul Johns, animal linguist, on cats) It seems their entire language consists of two phrases, uttered with varying degrees of intensity: "Hurry that dinner, willya" and "Everything here is mine." (p. 35)
  • (Sylvia to blindfolded cat) Just put your paw on the map, and that's where we'll go for our vacation. It's a big country, and yet you picked Cleveland. (p. 36)
  • (Voice on television) Midol relives the special pain that women get (Sylvia) when they realize they picked the wrong man, again. (p. 48)
  • (Voice on television) Honey, I love you, but I got to be moving on. (Sylvia) Break his kneecaps. (p. 49)
  • (Woman to psychic) Which do you think is the more impossible dream: the perfect man or the perfect handbag? (p. 52)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) Common misunderstandings of young married couples. (Young husband to tearful wife) Jeannie, when I said that your dinner tasted like airplane food, that was meant as a compliment. (p. 55)
  • (Woman psychic to woman client) So how come the tall, dark, handsome stranger I see in your future is a woman? (p. 57)
  • (Man at dinner table) Bet you don't know what a male swan is called. (Woman at dinner table) Sure I do. A swine. (p. 71)
  • (Voice on television) Mom, can a douche make you feel more confident? (Sylvia) Not like a good stock portfolio. (p. 77)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) The best place to discuss your sexual dissatisfaction with your partner is 1) in the bedroom 2) in a car, traveling at high speed 3) in a crowded elevator. (p. 86)
  • (Sylvia to her daughter) Rita, your body may be a temple. Mine is a Chevy Vega. (p.105)
  • (Doctor in bed) I dreamt I died and went to Heaven and they handed me some old Ms. magazines, a paper sheet, and made me sit in a little room with a bunch of other doctors. (p. 106)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) For feminine protection, every day use a hand grenade. (p. 112)
  • (Sylvia to character in book she is reading, Death by) Get out of that tub! Get in your car and get out of there! (Character) Suddenly I felt compelled to get out of that tub and out of that motel. I dressed and hopped in my car. Later I stopped for gas, and met a great guy. We got married and raise cocker spaniels. (p. 119)
  • (Cartoon title) A cat being cured of hairballs through a television ministry. (Voice on television) Place your right paw on the screen. (p. 120)
  • (Cartoon title) Don't throw that old diaphragm away! (Sylvia at typewriter) Because it can be used as: 1. Doorknob cover (no need to worry about fingerprints ever again) 2. Bathtub stopper 3) Rainhat for cat 4. Small frisbee. (p. 121)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) A lady never offers a new lover a complimentary tooth brush, razor and sewing kit the next morning. (p. 123)
  • (Woman sitting by swimming pool) To me the most important quality in a kitchen is that it be in someone else's house, or in a restaurant. (p. 124)
  • (Devil describes Hell) It's like you go to a Van Halen concert and you're the oldest one there, and there's a mix-up in the tickets, and you have to stand for the whole thing and it's hot and the kid next to you loses his lunch on your shoe. . . . I know. You thought it was going to be witty and Noel Cowardish. (p. 133)
  • (Sylvia driving to nervous passenger Venusian Gernif) Don't be silly. You're not going to be the first interplanetary traveler to die in a Chevy. (p. 134)
  • (Young girl rejecting Devil's attempt to purchase her soul) Bag your face. . . . You set off the smoke detector, ham breath. (p. 142)
  • (Man in bar) I like an older woman. (Sylvia) I'll pass that along. (p.145)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) In the heat of the moment, I said a lot of unforgiveable things. Please call me. I've thought of a few more. (p. 148)
  • (Man on television) The investment firm of Smith Barney: they make money the old-fashioned way--they earn it. (Sylvia) Right. The rest of us pick it off trees in the backyard. (p.154)
  • (Television) Our station is experiencing technical difficulties, so please try and amuse yourselves in whatever way you did before you became so emotionally dependent on us. (p. 154)
  • (Television) Being a woman is as much a state of mind as a state of being. (Sylvia) Right. You stop paying attention, you might turn into a tuna. (p. 167)
  • (Man on television) Man is the hunter. Woman is the civilizing influence, and when women abandon that role, men become (Sylvia) Cranky, and start wars. (p.169)
  • (Sylvia) Being a monopoly means never having to say you're sorry. (p.170)
  • (Woman on television) Frank, Frank, make me feel like a woman. (Man on television) Could you pick up my laundry? (p.173)
  • (Man on television) Rita, you must believe me, alien beings are among us. (Sylvia) Yeah, in public office. (p. 176)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) "Superwoman." The definition is 1. A woman who has supernatural powers and uses them to fight evil. 2. A woman who has supernatural powers and uses them to combine a family and a career. (p. 184)
  • (Woman in office) Help, I am a rich woman being kept prisoner in a working woman's body. (p. 196)
  • (Man in suit to Indian woman) Oh guru, ancient mother of the world, we men have been crippled. We have never learned how to feel; we don't even know how to cry. Oh my wise guru, can you teach me to cry? (Guru) Sure. No problem. Tomorrow I'll start you at a dead-end job, pay you at women's wages and then I'll throw in sole support of a pre-school child. (pp. 198-199)
  • (Man on television) If women want time off to bear children, they can't expect to be treated as equals. (Sylvia) Okay, give men time off to bear children.(p. 200)
  • (Television) Women hold up half the sky. (Sylvia) Uh huh, but in a poor neighborhood. (p. 206)
  • (Streetwalker to friend) First he wants me to put on bunny ears and patent leather shoes, then he wants me to eat a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. I go, "Mister, you are so sick. I don't do nitrites." (p. 207)
  • (Man in bar) Can you imagine a world without men? (Sylvia) No crime, and lots of happy, fat women. (pp. 212-213)
  • (Bartender Harry) What's your ethnic background? (Sylvia) Woman. (p. 215)
  • (Sylvia) I'm planning to live fast, die young, and make a good looking corpse. (Bartender Harry) I think you're off schedule. (p. 216)
  • (Man at bar) You know the kind of woman I could really go for? . . . Someone intelligent, witty, passionate about her work, totally involved in life, and willing to give it all up for me. (pp. 216-217)
  • (Sylvia to Venusian Gernif): What would happen if you wore a dress? Well, some people would invite you to parties. And some people would attempt to beat you to death. (p. 221)
  • (Television) There's a special feeling about being a woman. You do so much for everyone around you. But some days (Sylvia) You realize you've been had. (p. 223)

In Tales from the Planet Sylvia

  • (Sylvia) A really good haircut is as effective in changing one’s life as A) 3 months of psychotherapy. B) 6 months of psychotherapy. (p. 25)
  • (Television) Angry women beat up shoe salesman who posed as gynecologist. (Sylvia) I hate guys who do that. (p. 31)
  • (Sylvia) The experienced traveler always flies first class so that when the engine falls off the plane, she’s drinking champagne. (p. 50)
  • (Pilot’s voice on airplane public address system) Geez, I’m sorry about that landing. . . . Why don’t I just go up and try again? (p. 52)
  • (Sylvia) Things you can do when you’re a grown-up: . . . .3) Default on a home equity loan and lose everything. (p. 57)
  • (Television announcer) The Supreme Court staggered the nation today when they ruled that conception begins the minute you think about sex. (pp. 60-61)
  • (Sylvia) A mature person doesn’t scream at her waiter: “Don’t tell me your name and don’t put anything freshly ground on my salad!” (p. 69)
  • (Sylvia) Where do you stand? . . . .Do you think that people who like cake should be allowed to serve in combat positions? (p. 74)
  • (Television) With men or boys at home, your bathroom needs cleaning every day. (Sylvia) Not if you bolt the door. (p. 75)
  • (Sign) Mid-year resolutions of the barely under-control. (Woman at desk) I will try to be more understanding of others. I will try to be more patient when dealing with the incompetent people that surround me. I will not slap anyone first thing in the morning. (Sign on desk) The buck stops before it gets here. (p. 78)
  • (Woman to Devil) I want to refinance my soul. (Devil) You’re going to take a bath on points. (p.78)
  • (Sylvia’s answering machine) Hi, at the sound of the beep please tell me what you like best about me. (p. 86)
  • (Sylvia) In the beginning Eve was alone in Eden. (Eve) Everything is so beautiful and amicable. (Serpent) I bet deep down, you wish you had an irritating companion. (pp. 94-95)
  • (Cat) So she says I can’t have catnip any more because it’s like a drug. So, like, what’s she worried about: I’m not going to do well in school or what? (p. 97)
  • (Sylvia) Yes, feminism was the apple Eve bit into. (p. 104)
  • (Sylvia) There’s not enough coffee in the whole world to turn me into a functional human being. (p. 107)
  • (Sylvia) A cat who’s just been told that he’ll have to eat that special canned cat food that comes from the veterinarian for the rest of his life. (Cat) Shoot me now. (pp. 108-109)
  • (Woman at typewriter) Dear Syl, . . . Is nothing forever? (Sylvia) Red wine on a white couch. (p. 111)
  • (Sylvia) What do you hope never to hear your pilot say? 1) ”I had the worst fight of my life with my wife this morning.” 2) “Let’s see how fast this baby will go.” 3) “Whoops.” (p. 120)

In The Sylvia Chronicles

  • (Bartender Harry) How can you tell the male bird from the female bird? (Sylvia) He's the one with the furrowed brow; she's the happy-go-lucky one....He's the one reading the sports page; she's the one with 12 pairs of tiny shoes. (Harry) I don't have time for this. (p. 9)
  • (Man in bar) I have the right to bear arms. It's in the Constitution. (Sylvia) I'm in complete agreement. I'd like to see a lot more women carry guns. [Pause] Cat got your tongue? (p. 9)
  • (Television) Alabama's ban against vibrators stands...State says there's no constitutional right to an orgasm. (Sylvia) Rita, get my copy of the Bill of Rights. (Rita) I think that's in the Declaration of Independence. (p. 20)
  • (First Bad Girl) Conservatives say gay marriage undermines the institution of marriage. . . .(Second Bad Girl) The minute women got driver's licenses, marriage was doomed. (p. 21)
  • (Man in bed, wearing glasses and suit) I dreamt I was in the shower with a bunch of gay guys and no one looked at me twice. (p. 21)
  • (Man in bar) The kind of woman I want just isn't around anymore. (Sylvia) Perhaps if you wait for a full moon. (p. 24)
  • (Television) Men are naturally more aggressive than women. (Sylvia) All the more reason to keep them locked up after dark. (p. 24)
  • (Man in bar) How come only ugly women are for the equal rights amendment? (Sylvia) How come the guys who ask that question always have bad breath? (p. 25)
  • (Television) The brain is differently wired in men and women. (Sylvia) In men, the wires are loose. (p. 26)
  • (Television) If women want time off to bear children, they can't expect to be treated as equals. (Sylvia) Okay, give men time off to bear children. (p. 26)
  • (Television) A recent study concludes that women over 40 have statistically as much chance of getting killed by a terrorist as of getting married. (Sylvia) And would rather. (p. 28)
  • (Television news announcer) The Supreme Court staggered the nation today when they ruled that conception begins the minute you think about sex. (p. 28)
  • (Television news announcer) The Senate passed a bill today that would outlaw abortion unless the doctor's life is in danger. (p. 30)
  • (Television) The insurance industry is perfectly willing to stop discriminating against women, if some other group would volunteer to take their place. (p. 31)
  • (Sylvia) I'm staying in this tub until the Soviets pull out of Afghanistan. (p. 38)
  • (Television) Spray and wash gets out what America gets into. (Sylvia) Send some to El Salvador. (p. 39)
  • (Woman organizing picnic) Most normal people would agree that pizza is nature's perfect food, right? (p. 50)
  • (Signs on refrigerator) Could be a leftover tuna casserole inside...Or one of those pesky, black...U.N. helicopters. (p. 51)
  • (Televison) Spokesmen for the right wing of the Republican Party are tying to associate the Democrats with a so-called feminist agenda...that causes women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians. (Sylvia) Heavy schedule. (p. 55)
  • (Woman) I'm curious about my demise. (Devil)...at a party...When you hear about the latest presidential betrayal on an issue you hold dear, you pitch over the terrace railing and fall 43 stories. (p. 55)
  • (First woman)...Men lose their sense of humor as they get older...their brains shrink...So men will be getting grumpier, just as we're getting...(Second woman) Shorter. (p. 64)
  • (Second Bad Girl) Women who form relationships with murderers [in prison]. I don't get it. (First bad girl) Well, you know where they are at nights. (Second bad girl) At least, they're not lying on your couch watching TV. (p. 67)
  • (Telephone) Hi, this is Sylvia's opinion hotline....How fair are you? Would you support laws mandating discrimination in hiring, housing, and employment against anyone who lacked a sense of humor, knowing that these laws would impact most heavily on fundamentalists? (p. 68)
  • (First Bad Girl) The Southern Baptist convention decided that women should submit graciously to their husbands. (Second Bad Girl) Graciously? Seems like submitting would be enough. (First Bad Girl) Who wants submission with attitude? (Second Bad Girl) Even the IRS doesn't ask for "gracious." (p. 68)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) What is Newt Gingrich's Real Name? 1) Newton Minnow 2) Fig Newton 3) Isaac Newton 4) Wayne Newton (p. 75)
  • (Sylvia) Rita! Get my smelling salts! (Rita) Ma, you used them up when you discovered that repeal of the estate tax benefits only the very, very rich. (p. 87)
  • (The Woman Who Does Everything Better Than You) ...it's a worse shock to lose one of your five homes than it is to lose your only home. I'm sure psychologists will back me up on this. (p. 87)
  • (Sylvia) Rita! Did you hear that! Tax cuts benefit the rich! Oh, the shock! Quick, get my medication! (Rita) Plain, or with peanuts? (p. 88)
  • (Sylvia) Rita, I want to have my cake and eat it too. (Rita) Sorry, Ma, it only works for Republicans. (p. 88)
  • (Wicked witch hexing babies) Women of future generations will have undreamt of career opportunities. You two will use yours to despoil the environment. (p. 89)
  • (Sylvia at typewriter) I feel much lighter now that I've given up my civil liberties. I recommend it to everyone! (p. 94)
  • (Television) Humor will never be the same. Sarcasm, irony, and cynicism will disappear. (Sylvia) Right. I'm having mine surgically removed. (Rita) Ma, cut it out! (p. 97)
  • (Television) We are aggressively striking the terrorists in Iraq, defeating them there so that we will not have to face them in our own country. (Sylvia) Oh, good. So once we get rid of those, there won't be any more. (p. 105)
  • (Sylvia) Rita! Is Bush still president? (Rita) Ma, I didn't want to tell you...You seemed so happy. (p. 108)
  • (Sylvia) [This] sends the wrong message to the international community. It says we support the U.N. only when it serves our interests exclusively. [pause] Wait a minute! That is our message. (p. 109)
  • (Woman on telephone) Yes of course if you were imprisoned in a foreign land by a right-wing junta and our government was unresponsive to your plight, I would organize demonstrations and move heaven and earth for your release, but I'm not going to pick you up at the airport. (p. 110)
  • (Mary Frances) ...look-alike wives for humiliating public appearances...The pseudo-wife's job is to look supportive, while the real spouse is at home throwing his stuff out the window.(p. 111)
  • (Sylvia FineLine greeting card) Before you showed us your financial statement, we felt poor...but after leaving your house, we felt so pumped we bought a second car! (p. 114)
  • (Woman in bed) I dreamt that my HMO canceled my group insurance and I couldn't get an individual policy because I had a pre-existing condition, but they wouldn't tell me what it was. (p. 115)
  • (Cat) In 1989, I resolve to develop a longer attention... (p. 124)
  • (Cat in bed) The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago recently identified a new species of fish...virtually extinct in the wild, and they haven't even named it yet. I dreamt I ate it. (p. 124)