Let’s finish this. So, after 5 whole months without a man in her life Howard
stares into the abyss lets a friend give her number to a doctor, but not just any doctor, the chief of cardiothoracic surgery. After some scheduling conflicts and phoning back and forth, they finally have a dinner date. “It is odd, but understood, that when middle-aged people go out the first time their initial conversation could be titled: “And what did you major in?”” Words fail.
Howard then gives the good doctor’s back story, widowed once, divorced twice and then writes one of her more outrageous lines. “(I am trying really hard not to get into the subject of women wanting to marry rich surgeons.)” A woman who made damned sure she got more than sufficient compensation from her previous husbands should not try to pretend she didn’t have an eye to the main chance at least twice before.
#4 is not her type which she repeats several times. He is at the top of his profession, very well known, knows a lot of Big Names, and has money- he is exactly her type. After two dinner dates and one opera Howard wonders why he hasn’t made a move. “I found his being in no hurry to take things to the next level quite interesting… and unusual. I knew he wasn’t gay, and from my observations he was too mature, and frankly, too old, at sixty-one, to be playing it cool.” Oh. My. God. Facepalm. Headdesk.
So she toddles off to the West Coast to visit a spa and friends. They exchange emails. A friend asks if she thinks they might be going somewhere and Howard says yes so they go off to order her some fabulous nightgowns.
Then she goes out on a blind date a Cambridge friend had set up for her with Mort Sahl. ? And that was her last date with anyone else. I’m not sure why she went out in the first place, didn’t she just say she thought she and the good doctor had a “spark”?
She returns from the West Coast and things immediately progress into the bedroom even if she doesn’t have her new nightgowns.
She waxes on about how grateful she was to be mature enough to keep dating him even when he so obviously wasn’t her type. How she was able to look past his surface and see the man inside and how all this was why she would tell those who wrote to her for advice to give that new interest another chance. Really, so wise of her. I remember reading that advice several times- she forgot to mention making sure they had A Name and lots of money but maybe she was protecting her claim.
Anyway more about how perfect is Dr Perfect and he does sound, and probably is, a very nice man. Who fell into a tiger trap.
Howard talks about the difference in love at different stages of life and how love with the doctor was different and good but I had a hard time with this because her writing, her descriptions of life with the doctor seem detached from emotion. They might be a good match and enjoy each other’s company but love? Not seeing it. He seems to appreciate her and she certainly appreciates what he brings to the table but there isn’t any more feeling here than in her writing about #1 and #2.
They met each other’s friends and Howard took him home to meet mom. After about a year together Howard goes back to work for a few years before being fired in a staff change. Then she finally, reluctantly follows in Ann Landers’ footprints and become Dear Prudence, then Dear Margo, from which she retired in 2013.
They have a good life, know a lot of important people, decide to marry before her mother dies, the doctor retires but works on in various advisory capacities for several years, they have some fairly elaborate birthday trips and then stop after their seventieths.
She continues to say in her detached way how wonderful life is and gets in a parting shot at her three previous husbands then talks briefly about aging and how lucky they are to have avoided the more serious physical problems of growing older. The doctor was worth the wait except that she really didn’t wait, she drifted rather aimlessly through life and now is trying to alter history.
Review to come.