14 Quotes From Lena Dunham’s “Not That Kind of Girl” That Made Us Feel Strangely Understood


It’s no grave secret that Lena Dunham is a creative genius. We fell in love with her for giving us Girls— perhaps the only honest show capturing the many epic fails of a twentysomething. Loyal followers may have started their love obsession in her pre-Girls film Tiny Furniture. Where ever on the timeline of Lena’s creative work we took notice and couldn’t look away, it’s undeniable that she has the ability to capture something so unique in her projects: truth. Despite the unflattering details of story, she gives it to us in its rawest nature in the name of truth, just as she does consistently throughout “Not That Kind of Girl.” Here are 14 quotes from her newly launched book that has us melting, laughing, infuriated, looking introspectively, and most importantly, feeling genuinely and deeply understood.

On lingering self-hatred in college

“I will never amount to anything. You wouldn’t know it to see me at a party. In a crowd I am recklessly cheerful, dressed to the nines in thrift-shop gowns and press-on fingernails, fighting the sleepiness that comes from the 350 milligrams of medication I take every night. I dance the hardest, laugh the hardest at my own jokes, and make casual reference to my vagina, like it’s car or a chest of drawers. I got mono last year, but it never really went away. Occasionally, one of my glands blows up to the size of a gold ball and protrudes from my neck like one of the bolts that keep frankenstein’s monster intact.”

“No, I am not a sexpert, a psychologist, or a dietitian. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all.”

On being a virgin in college

“I didn’t tell Jonah I was a virgin, just that I hadn’t done it ‘that much.’ I was sure I had already broken my hymen in high school while crawling over a fence in Brooklyn in pursuit of a cat that didn’t want to be rescued.”

“I was sure that, once I let someone penetrate me, my world would change in some indescribable yet fundamental way. I would never be able to hug my parents with the same innocence, and being alone with myself would have a different tenor. How could I ever experience true solitude again when I’d had someone poling around my insides? How permanent virginity feels, and then how inconsequential.”

On masturbating for the first time

“I touched myself using different pressure rhythms. The sensation was pleasant in the same way as a foot rub. One afternoon, lying there on the mat, I looked up to find myself eye to eye with a baby bat who was hanging upside down on the curtain rod. We stared at each other in stunned silence.”

On continuing to date a guy who wouldn’t sleep with her

“He took an Ambien and fell asleep, arm over my side, and as I lay there, wide awake and itchy in my lingerie set, it occurred to me: this was humiliating, unsexy, and, worst sin of all, boring. This wasn’t comfort. This was paralysis. This was distance passing for connection. I was being desexualized in slow motion, becoming a teddy bear with breasts.”

On some of the ridiculous shit she she made up as a kid

“[A] British lady, trying to make conversation, asked Zoe and me what our parents did if we were ‘bad girls.’
‘When I’m bad, I get a time-out,’ Zoe said.
‘When I’m bad,’ I announced, ‘my father sticks a fork in my vagina.’

“At my first post-college job in a downtown restaurant, I met a different kind of guy. Joaquin was almost ten years older than me, born in Philadelphia, and possessed a swagger that seemed unearned, considering he was wearing A FUCKING FEDORA.”

“Well, friends, learning about the ‘world’ is not pretending you’re a hooker while a guy from the part of New Jersey that’s near Pennsylvania decides which Steely Dan record to put on at 4:00 a.m. The secrets of life aren’t being revealed when someone laughs at you for having studied creative writing.”

On relationships that drag out

“The end never comes when you think it will. It’s always ten steps past the worst moment, then a weird turn to the left.”

On trying to recount an event from a party the day after

“The day after, every detail was crisp (or as crisp as anything can be when the act was committed in a haze of warm beer, Xanax bits, and poorly administered cocaine).”

On analyzing a sexual experience that was not exactly consensual

“I feel like there are fifty ways it’s my fault. I fantasized. I took the big pill and the small pill, stuffed myself with substances to make being out in the world with people my own age a little bit easier. To lessen the space between me and everyone else. I was hungry to be seen. But I also know that at no moment did I consent to being handled that way. I never gave him permission to be rough, to stick himself inside me without a barrier between us. I never game him permission. In my deepest self I know this, and the knowledge of it has kept me from sinking.”

“Getting naked [on camera] feels better some days than others. (Good: when you are vaguely tan. Bad: when you have diarrhea.)”

On wanting to run away

“You’ve learned a new rule and it’s simple: don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from. But when you run away, run back to yourself, like that bunny in Runaway Bunny who runs to its mother, but you are the mother, and you’ll see that later and be very, very proud.”

Thank you, Lena Dunham, for your infinite wisdom. The world is a better place with your profound truths. Even if they’re at the expense of your pride, we as readers thank you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


More From Thought Catalog