Imagine three divorced fairy godmothers wearing red hats feeding you yellow cake, laying out your new life, and getting you ready for the charity ball by teaching you how to play bridge. There you have it. The almost penniless newly divorced matron with good manners sets up a home decorating business, stops crying, and learns to negotiate and win.
The spunky wife of a floor licking, scum sucking, receptionist-nailing hack accountant discovers her husband’s infidelity and writes up the dastardly deed in his monthly newsletter which she emails to kith and kin and customers. She accumulates notoriety (“SCORNED LOCAL WIFE SUED FOR SCATHING E-MAIL”) , attracts the appreciation of a geek girl with a business in female revenge communications, takes inventory, takes a lover, eats.
Funny afterscenes include the interview with her mother, published in the local Gazette,
Unable to return to her marital home, Mrs Terwilliger is reportedly staying with her parents… When contacted by the Gazette, Mrs Terwilliger’s mother, Deb Vernon, insisted that many wronged wives would follow in her daughter’s footstops if they thought of it.
“Everybody thinks Lacy’s gone crazy but that’s not true. She knew what she was doing… She was just pushed too far. And yes she overreacted a little bit, it happens to the best of us, but I don’t want to comment. Of course, if Mike didn’t want to be publicly embarrassed he shouldn’t have run around town chasing some hussy like his pants were on fire, but I don’t want to comment. I just wish people would mind their own business, but really I have nothing to say.”
Although I didn’t see her face, I knew that the woman in the coloring chair was beautiful. It wasn’t just because she had long, lush, gorgeous hair, but because she was tearing out a page of WWD, where she had eyed another beautiful woman with long hair. And beautiful women look at beautiful women.
“Can I see?” I asked. And then she turned in the chair and I saw a Vogue model, circa 1976, sans huge hat and cigarette holder. But she was still beautiful, sitting there having her hair colored and pointing to the woman in the ad with the big sunglasses and the thick brown hair, saying: “that’s not Jackie Kennedy but it looks like Jackie Kennedy. I’ve always loved that look.”
And then she told me that not only was Jackie Kennedy beautiful but she was a nice person. She knew this because she sat across from Jackie Kennedy’s chair at Kenneth’s in the city, which is where Jackie had her hair done when Jackie had her hair done. The beautiful woman in the coloring chair had worked for Glamour and Vogue for 25 years, and if we were still in NYC and one of us had been Nora Ephron then one of us might have discovered that her husband was having an affair…. But we neither of us were Nora, and this was not NY, and Jackie was dead.
Nora Ephron is writing about just this generation of women, who lived and worked and counted in NYC, and who are now oldish, or dead. Nora Ephron is not dead. But she is forgetting things, and what she remembers is not obvious. She remembers going to an anti-Vietnam protest but not getting to it because she spent the weekend in the hotel room having sex, she remembers trying to find the New York Post building, and getting lost on the George Washington Bridge, and not deciding to get a divorce, and not going to the front during the 1973 war in Israel, and not knowing anything, and believing in print. She remembers consciousness-raising meetings in the 60s and 70s with women who took themselves much too seriously, and she remembers writing scripts that she thought were funny that weren’t funny enough.
Frank has the waves, which is why he doesn’t need much of anything else. Nevertheless he has an ex-wife, a girlfriend, 4 jobs and a routine, about which he is frankly religious.
He has the “Gentleman’s Hour” which is when other guys who don’t need to be at work at 9 or 10 AM ride the waves, lovingly, respectfully, uncompetitively.
Frankie thinks that priests should know what Italian husbands have always known: Italian wives will always find a way to punish you, and its usually in the wallet. You piss her off, and she’ll still do a job in the bedroom, but then she’ll go out and buy a new dinette set.
It is truly comforting to hear good old Tony Roberts playing good old Stone Barrington sitting at good old Elaine’s on 88th and Second, looking at the girls again, working another case. Stone is hungry. Hungrier than usual, for a rare hamburger, cooked for lawyers, not by lawyers. And for the kind of money that can only be milked from a very good divorce.