29 Delicious Nora Ephron Quotes For Every Woman To Live By

“In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind."

nora ephron quotes

There's a scene in When Harry Met Sally... when Meg Ryan's Sally alerts Billy Crystal's Harry to the fact that orgasms are easily faked, then proceeds to demonstrate in a table-pounding manner to an entire deli.

A woman at the next table says, perfectly, "I'll have what she's having." Everyone knows that line as a Nora Ephron bon mot. The ones that don't, well... I don't want what they're having, most likely.


If you don't know, Ephron was the wicked pen behind When Harry Met Sally..., Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, among others, the kind of romantic comedies that make people wish romantic comedies were still a thing.

The former journalist also penned an autobiographical must-read novel, Heartburn, about her divorce from Carl Bernstein — yes, one half of the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate reporting team. Beyond her films, her wit survives her in several essay collections as well, all of which should be required reading for anyone with a brain. (Pardon the editorializing.)

And let me just say, while a sandwich that sets off my pleasure centers sounds wonderful, and I'll take two or three right now, what I'd really like to have is Ephron's way of saying the exact right thing, in the exact right way, at the exact right time.


Here are 29 Nora Ephron quotes about love, life and everything in between that show just how witty and wise she was.

On fashion, beauty and aging:

1. "The amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death."

2. "Maintenance is what you have to do just so you can walk out the door knowing that if you go to the market and bump into a guy who once rejected you, you won’t have to hide behind a stack of canned food. I don’t mean to be too literal about this."

3. "Black makes your life so much simpler. Everything matches black, especially black."



“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four."

On womanhood:

5. "Show me a woman who cries when the leaves turn in autumn and I'll show you a real assh*le.”



“The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

7. "Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.” (from Wellesley College commencement speech)


On the joys of cooking and eating:

8. "You can never have too much butter — that is my belief. If I have a religion, that’s it. "

9. "When you are actually going to have your last meal, you’ll either be too sick to have it or you aren’t gonna know it’s your last meal and you could squander it on something like a tuna melt and that would be ironic... I feel it’s important to have that last meal today, tomorrow, soon.”

10. "What I love about cooking is that after a hard day, there is something comforting about the fact that if you melt butter and add flour and then hot stock, it will get thick! It’s a sure thing! It’s sure thing in a world where nothing is sure; it has a mathematical certainty in a world where those of us who long for some kind of certainty are forced to settle for crossword puzzles."



"I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.”

On men, sex, love and dating:

12. "Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”


13. "When you're attracted to someone, it just means that your subconscious is attracted to their subconscious, subconsciously. So what we think of as fate is just two neuroses knowing that they are a perfect match."


"It's much easier to get over someone if you can delude yourself into thinking you never really cared that much."


15. “In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind."

16. “Sometimes I believe that love dies but hope springs eternal. Sometimes I believe that hope dies but love springs eternal. Sometimes I believe that sex plus guilt equals love, and sometimes I believe that sex plus guilt equals good sex. Sometimes I believe that love is as natural as the tides, and sometimes I believe that love is an act of will. Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it. Sometimes I believe that love is essential, and sometimes I believe that only reason love is essential is that otherwise you spend all your time looking for it."

On the life of the mind:

17. "I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive." (from the essay, "Barney Collier’s Book")



"Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”

19. "What happens to me when I'm provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said."


On books, reading and writing:

20. "So many of the conscious and unconscious ways men and women treat each other have to do with romantic and sexual fantasies that are deeply ingrained not just in society but in literature. The women's movement may manage to clean up the mess in society, but I don't know if it can clean up the mess in our minds."

21. "Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person... Reading is bliss.”



"I always read the last page of a book first so that if I die before I finish I'll know how it turned out."

23. "The hardest thing about writing is writing."

On owning your story:

24. "I highly recommend having Meryl Streep play you. If your husband is cheating on you with a carhop, get Meryl to play you. You will feel much better.”


25. "When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh."


"Above all, be the heroine of your life."

27. "I can make a case that I regret nothing. After all, most of my mistakes turned out to be things I survived, or turned into funny stories, or, on occasion, even made money from.”


28. "Everything is copy."

On life and death:


"Everybody dies. There’s nothing you can do about it. Whether you eat six almonds a day. Whether or not you believe in God."


If you're searching for the best quotes and memes to share with the people you love (or just want to feel inspired yourself) ... look no further! From the sweetest love quotes, inspirational sayings, and hilarious relationship truths, we've got you covered.


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