Dr. Ruth


You know who I really miss? Dr. Ruth Westheimer, the famed sex therapist who ruled the 80s. If Dr. Ruth is still alive (she’s 81, according to Wikipedia), she needs to re-emerge from the abyss to save us all. Lord knows we need it.

This is gonna sound awfully peculiar, but as a kid Dr. Ruth was a major factor in my life. She used to host a show, “Sexually Speaking,” on the radio station 97, WYNY (“This is Doctor Ruth Vest-hi-mer, sexually speaking on Nine-tee-seven, W-Vy-N-Vy!”). The program aired Saturday nights, and my older brother David was hooked. I’d walk past his room and hear Dr. Ruth, a teeny-tiny woman with a thick German accent, talking about penises and masturbation and nipples and the clit. It was waaaaaay beyond me—I was probably 12, and all about Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey, Sr. (who, if I know ballplayers, were surely experts in such areas). Though it was probably a wee-bit inappropriate for my teenaged bro to be a die-hard, my folks never seemed to mind. Maybe they were hoping one of us would turn into some sort of Casanova—though it sure wasn’t me.

Dr. Ruth actually belonged to my Grandma Marta’s synagogue in Washington Heights. She was an enormous celebrity there, even though most of the congregants were off-the-boat German Jews, and off-the-boat German Jews considered any sort of sex talk to be utterly taboo. But they saw the doctor as a beacon of light—an immigrant who survived and thrived.

Personally, I just found her very entertaining.

Oh, well. Dead or alive, she–like everyone—has a website. That’ll have to do.

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