140 Mae West Quotes

Get a sneak peek into Vaudeville and Old Hollywood through this collection of the best Mae West quotes. Being one of the groundbreaking actresses and writers of her time, Mae West veered away from normal storylines and themes. Some even believe that the overall messages of her works would be controversial to this day!

So, if you want to learn more about her life and her career, be sure to read the quotes listed below.

Start reading the full collection here.

Best Mae West Quotes

Mae West Quote - When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better.Pin

1. “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.”

2. “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”

3. “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

4. “I consider sex a misdemeanor, the more I miss, de meaner I get.”

Mae West Quote - Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?Pin

5. “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

6. “It’s not what you can do, but the way you do it that counts.”

7. “Women are like roads. The more curves they have, the more dangerous they are.”

8. “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”

9. “Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ’em right and you can walk all over them for years.”

Mae West Quote - Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.Pin

10. “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”

11. “Well behaved women do not make history.”

12. “I believe that one day, the world will judge the witch hunt against homosexuals just as harshly as it judges the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust.”

13. “I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.”

14. “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”

Mae West Quote - We're intellectual opposites. Well, I'm intellectual and you're the opposite.Pin

15. “We’re intellectual opposites. Well, I’m intellectual and you’re the opposite.”

16. “How tall are you, big boy? Six foot nine inches! Let’s go up to my place and talk about the nine inches!”

17. “Positive thoughts generate positive feelings and attract positive life experiences.”

18. “Your real security is yourself. You know you can do it, and they can’t ever take that away from you.”

19. “Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.”

Mae West Quotes on Emotions, the Heart, and Men

Mae West Quote - Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often. Pin

20. “Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.”

21. “I’ve no time for broads who want to rule the world alone. Without men, who’d do up the zipper on the back of your dress?”

22. “Don’t keep a man guessing too long—he’s sure to find the answer somewhere else.”

23. “A hard man is good to find.”

24. “All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.”

Mae West Quote - Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.Pin

25. “Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”

26. “Love thy neighbor—and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”

27. “Love is like a booger, you pick and pick at it. Then when you get it, you wonder how to get rid of it.”

28. “Sex is emotion in motion.”

29. “The best way to hold a man is in your arms.”

Mae West Quote - Sex with love is the greatest thing in life.Pin

30. “Sex with love is the greatest thing in life. But sex without love—that’s not so bad either.”

31. “Don’t cry for a man who’s left you—the next one may fall for your smile.”

32. “Don’t forget, honey. Never let one man worry your mind. Find ’em, fool ’em, and forget ’em.”

33. “Some of the wildest men make the best pets.”

34. “I only like two kinds of men—domestic and imported.”

Mae West Quote - Love is what you make it and who you make it with.Pin

35. “Love is what you make it and who you make it with.”

36. “Save a boyfriend for a rainy day, and another, in case it doesn’t rain.”

37. “Men are my hobby. If I ever got married, I’d have to give it up.”

38. “Give a man a free hand and he’ll run it all over you.”

39. “You may think you’re in love when the passions of sex get hold of you, but if you didn’t love the man before, you won’t love him after. Like him, maybe, but not love him.”

Mae West Quote - All my life I've looked after myself as if I was my own child.Pin

40. “Marriage? I ain’t got time for a husband or child. All my life I’ve looked after myself as if I was my own child.”

41. “I only have ‘yes’ men around me. Who needs ‘no’ men?”

42. “I like a man who’s good, but not too good—for the good die young, and I hate a dead one.”

43. “Love isn’t an emotion or an instinct—it’s an art.”

44. “I have found men who didn’t know how to kiss. I’ve always found time to teach them.”

Mae West Quote - Dating means two things - disillusionment or a racing heart.Pin

45. “Dating means two things—disillusionment or a racing heart.”

46. “A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that’s subtraction.”

47. “I’ve always taken men just as I found ’em, and thank heavens I’ve been able to find ’em.”

48. “A good man is hard to find, but you’ll mostly find him asleep.”

49. “Men are all alike, except the one you’ve met who’s different.”

Mae West Quotes on Goals, Ambition, and Purpose

Mae West Quote - Everything's in the mind - that's where it all starts.Pin

50. “Everything’s in the mind—that’s where it all starts. Knowing what you want is the first step toward getting it.”

51. “You are never too old to become younger!”

52. “If a little is great, and a lot is better, then way too much is just about right!”

53. “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”

54. “It is better to be looked over than overlooked.”

It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.Pin

55. “It isn’t what I do, but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.”

56. “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

57. “I wrote the story myself. It’s all about a girl who lost her reputation but never missed it.”

58. “You gotta get up early in the morning to catch a fox and stay up late at night to get a mink.”

59. “Give a man free hands, and you’ll know where to find them.”

Mae West Quote - Let's get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini.Pin

60. “Let’s get out of these wet clothes and into a dry Martini.”

61. “March isn’t the only thing that’s in like a lion and out like a lamb.”

62. “I freely chose the kind of life I led because I was convinced that a woman has as much right as a man to live the way she does if she does no actual harm to society.”

63. “Well, the end of another busy day. I can’t wait till I get back to bed. If that doesn’t work I’ll try to sleep.”

64. “Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.”

Mae West Quote - One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.Pin

65. “One and one is two, and two and two is four, and five will get you ten if you know how to work it.”

66. “The score never interested me, only the game.”

67. “I’m no angel, but I’ve spread my wings a bit.”

68. “I don’t know a lot about politics, but I can recognise a good party man when I see one.”

69. “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me? I’m home every evening. Come up. I’ll tell your fortune.”

Mae West Quote - I've been in more laps than a napkin.Pin

70. “I’ve been in more laps than a napkin.”

71. “I only read biographies, metaphysics, and psychology. I can dream up my own fiction.”

72. “I like a man who takes his time.”

73. “No one can have everything, so you have to try for what you want most.”

74. “I made myself platinum, but I was born a dirty blonde.”

Mae West Quote - Brains are an asset to the woman in love who's smart enough to hide 'em.Pin

75. “Brains are an asset to the woman in love who’s smart enough to hide ’em.”

76. “Any time you have nothing to do, and lots of time to do it, come on up.”

77. “Don’t marry a man to reform him—that’s what reform schools are for.”

78. “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it.”

79. “It’s easy to get married, but hard to stay that way.”

Mae West Quotes on Beauty and Femininity

Mae West Quote - I like my clothes tight enough to show I'm a woman, but loose enough to show I'm a lady.Pin

80. “I like my clothes tight enough to show I’m a woman, but loose enough to show I’m a lady.”

81. “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”

82. “Why don’t you come up and have a little scotch and sofa?”

83. “There are no good girls gone wrong—just bad girls found out.”

84. “Never mind about the six feet. Let’s talk about the seven inches.”

Mae West Quote - A man's kiss is his signature.Pin

85. “A man’s kiss is his signature.”

86. “I go for two kinds of men—the kind with muscles, and the kind without.”

87. “Flattery will get you everywhere.”

88. “Never ask a man where he’s been. If he’s out on legitimate business, he doesn’t need an alibi. And, girls, if he has been out on illegitimate business, it’s your own fault.”

89. “I have always felt a gift diamond shines so much better than one you buy for yourself.”

Mae West Quote - Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes.Pin

90. “Ladies who play with fire must remember that smoke gets in their eyes.”

91. “A man can be short, and dumpy, and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.”

92. “I have never loved a man as much as I have loved myself.”

93. “She’s the kind of girl who climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.”

94. “A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.”

Mae West Quote - A woman in love can't be reasonable or she probably wouldn't be in love.Pin

95. “A woman in love can’t be reasonable or she probably wouldn’t be in love.”

96. “I knew in some marvelous way I had touched the hem of the unknown. And being me, I wanted to lift that hemline a little bit more.”

97. “Women like a man with a past, but they prefer a man with a present.”

98. “I’m a good woman for a bad man.”

99. “I’m a woman of very few words, but lots of action.”

Mae West Quote - You may admire a girl's curves on the first introduction, but the second meeting shows new angles.Pin

100. “You may admire a girl’s curves on the first introduction, but the second meeting shows new angles.”

101. “I didn’t discover curves; I only uncovered them.”

102. “A man in love is like a clipped coupon—it’s time to cash in.”

103. “Personality is the glitter that sends your little gleam across the footlights and the orchestra pit into that big black space where the audience is.”

104. “It’s alright for a perfect stranger to kiss your hand as long as he’s perfect.”

Mae West Quote - I speak two languages - body and English.Pin

105. “I speak two languages—body and English.”

106. “Dress gives one the outward sign from which people in general can, and often do, judge upon the inward state of mind and feelings.”

107. “Women are as old as they feel, and men are old when they lose their feelings.”

108. “When women go wrong, men go right after them.”

109. “I never set out to make men a career; it just happened that way.”

Mae West Quotes on Life and Attitude

Mae West Quote - The best way to behave is to misbehave.Pin

110. “The best way to behave is to misbehave.”

111. “For a long time, I was ashamed of the way I lived. Did I reform, you ask? No. I’m not ashamed anymore.”

112. “It’s not the men in my life that count, it’s the life in my men.”

113. “To err is human, but it feels divine.”

114. “When you get the personality, you don’t need the nudity.”

Mae West Quote - His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.Pin

115. “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”

116. “I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.”

117. “Curve—the loveliest distance between two points.”

118. “The curve is more powerful than the sword.”

119. “Words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action.”

Mae West Quote - Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can't figure out what from.Pin

120. “Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from.”

121. “Cultivate your curves—they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.”

122. “I’m single because I was born that way.”

123. “Don’t ever make the same mistake twice unless it pays.”

124. “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.”

Mae West Quote - Everyone has the right to run his own life - even if you're heading for a crash. What I'm against is blind flying.Pin

125. “Everyone has the right to run his own life—even if you’re heading for a crash. What I’m against is blind flying.”

126. “It’s hard to be funny when you have to be clean.”

127. “Look your best—who said love is blind?”

128. “My advice to those who think they have to take off their clothes to be a star is, once you’re boned, what’s left to create the illusion? Let ‘em wonder. I never believed in giving them too much of me.”

129. “Don’t let a man put anything over you except an umbrella.”

Mae West Quote - Getting married is like trading in the adoration of many for the sarcasm of one.Pin

130. “Getting married is like trading in the adoration of many for the sarcasm of one.”

131. “I’ve seen things and I’ve seen places.”

132. “Sometimes, I don’t drink so the next day I can remember having fun.”

133. “Kiss and make up, but too much makeup has ruined many a kiss.”

134. “Virtue has its own reward, but no sales at the box office.”

Mae West Quote - It ain't no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don't break any.Pin

135. “It ain’t no sin if you crack a few laws now and then, just so long as you don’t break any.”

136. “I always say, keep a diary and someday it’ll keep you.”

137. “It takes two to get one in trouble.”

138. “When in doubt, take a bath.”

139. “The best way to learn to be a lady is to see how other ladies do it.”

Mae West Quote - Always remember, honey, a good motto is - take all you can get and give as little as possible.Pin

140. “Always remember, honey, a good motto is—take all you can get and give as little as possible.”

Did These Mae West Quotes Inspire You to Move Against the Status Quo?

Though it’s still difficult to act against the norms today, it was especially difficult during Mae West’s time where everyone was even more conservative, traditional, and cautious. That didn’t stop Mae West though. Long before icons like Michele Pfeiffer and even Marilyn Monroe, the world had Mae West as an iconic femme fatale in Old Hollywood. However, she was more than just a pretty face—she filled her life with accomplishments in different aspects of the industry from writing to acting, and even stood up for the minority.

Her works were highly controversial even though they didn’t display nudity or curse words. It was her depiction of confident and liberated women that proved to be ‘outrageous’ for the society at that time to bear. However, just like Mae West, we need to remember that as women, we need to be confident and we need to fight for what we want and what we deserve. That’s the legacy that she left with us even decades after her passing.

What are the things you learned from this collection? Are there any other iconic Mae West quotes you’d like us to include in the list? Be sure to send them in below!

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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