Dolly in her own words

I know I’ve been writing about Dolly Parton too much lately, but I swear I’m not obsessed. Yes, I listen to her music frequently and I own dvds of a couple of her movies. And there was that pilgrimage to the Dollywood gates when I was in Tennessee last year. (It was getting ready to close for the day, but we took pictures of the sign.) But really, I’m just a sane, appreciative fan who’s very excited about seeing her in concert in a few weeks.

But when I stumbled upon Entertainment Weekly‘s Dolly quotes (a.k.a. “17 Quips We ‘Idol’-ize” in honor of her appearance tonight and tomorrow on American Idol), I shrieked a little and knew I had to share this bonanza. The thing that’s so great about Dolly is that she takes her talent seriously, but pretty much nothing else. And that is just so appealing.

So, here are a few choice samples:

ON HER ABILITY TO READ MEN
”When I talk to a man, I can always tell what he’s thinkin’ by where he’s lookin’. See, if he’s lookin’ at my eyes, he’s lookin’ for intelligence. If he’s lookin’ at my mouth, well, he’s lookin’ for wit and wisdom. If he’s lookin’ anywhere else except my chest… he’s lookin’ for another man.” — Onstage at Dollywood, date unknown

ON WHAT SHE’D DO IF SHE WEREN’T A SINGER/SONGWRITER
”If it hadn’t been for music, I’d have been a beautician…. Even if I wasn’t in show business, I would have wanted all the glamour — and that’s about the only way a girl in a small Southern town is going to get it, being a beautician. Or maybe I’d have been a missionary; I thought about that too, but where would I get my hair done?” — To the Saturday Evening Post, 1989

ON HER LOOK…
”I really patterned my look, the country girl’s idea of glamour, after what they call the town tramp…. She had this beautiful peroxide hair and had it piled on her head, red nails, high-heeled shoes and I just thought she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. And Mama said, ‘Oh, she ain’t nothin’ but trash!’ And so I thought, That’s what I want to be Mama. I want to be trash!” — To British talk show host Michael Parkinson, date unknown

ON ”ME AND LITTLE ANDY,” ARGUABLY THE SADDEST SONG EVER
It is a sad-ass song, I have to tell you. I used to do that song on stage, then I got asked one time in Vegas if I could please not. The casino wanted the audience to drink more and lose more money — they didn’t want to bring ‘em down. Me singin’ about some little kid whose daddy’s a drunkard, it’s just too much.” — to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, 2005

ON WHETHER HER IMAGE REFLECTS THE AMOUNT OF RESPECT SHE RECEIVES
”Years ago, people used to tell me, ‘Dolly, you’re a great writer, you’re a good singer, if you’d just kind of dress down and not be so gaudy and outrageous and this and that…’ And I said: Well, why? Then I won’t have any fun…. I think people take me as seriously as I want them to. They take me as seriously as I take myself — let’s put it that way. I’m very secure about my talents and about who I am. But it’s fun for me, and I think I’m fun for other people, and it’s just an unusual kind of package, and why not? That I can look totally artificial and be totally real is perfectly fine with me.” — to the Chicago Tribune, 1992

ON HOW SHE WANTS TO BE REMEMBERED
”I’m going to always look like a cheap whore as long as there’s doctors and surgeons in the world. Hopefully, this is the way I’ll look when they lay me in my coffin. Somebody better not put me out there without fixing my hair and putting my makeup on.” — to TV Guide, June 28, 2003

You can read all 17 of the quips here. And you can catch her mentoring on tonight’s American Idol as they contestants butcher her songs. And tomorrow night, she’ll be performing a single from her new album, Backwoods Barbie. And you can rest assured that I will be watching all of the above in a placid, non-obsessed manner.

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