Phyllis Diller, the trail-blazing comedian whose silver tongue slung self-deprecating barbs, died Monday at the age of 95. Though she was never one to take herself seriously, Diller got serious for a story, “Private Lives: Down-to-Earth Views on Love and Sex," that appeared in the Washington Post in 1980. It’s an excerpt from Wendy Leigh’s 1979 book “What Makes a Man G.I.B.” Here, she gives some relationship advice and offers up her views on beauty and women’s liberation.
Comedienne Phyllis Diller: "I work with audiences every night and I find people are people. Everybody laughs at the same things, everybody is hurt by the same things, therefore everybody is alike — and there is only good sex and bad sex.
"The ideal man is sensitive and cares about how the other person feels. Really, men should stop being so uptight about being good lovers and just do what comes naturally. But if a man is worrying about sex and making love he should listen to instruction from a female. It's often unfortunate being a woman to teach a young man because experienced men are much better than beginners; they have been taught by many women.
"Men don't approach me. I'm not an approachable woman and I never have been; I wasn't even an approachable child. I was bright, and boys don't approach bright girls. . .
"The male ego is the most delicate thing in the world. It is nurtured in such a way that it is supposed to be solid rock, and isn't allowed to be human. So men assume the role of being completely impervious to any ego threats. That's why you get men who go to single bars wanting sex but no marriage responsibility. . .
"I'm a sucker for beauty — be it in a man, a woman, a child, a house, or a car. Both my husbands were very attractive. If there is ever a choice in anything I'll always choose beauty. The thing that gets me is an attractive man who treats me like a lady. I'm a candlelight-and-romance lady, and I can't compromise in anything because I know that you can get romance if you wait long enough for that man to come along.
"Women's liberation is never going to change relationships between men and women. . . I'm a third-generation career girl, so I've always been liberated and I take it for granted. And I like being a woman.
"Sex can be a great burden for men, through, because their role is still more important than women's. Men still have to act, while all women have to do is react."