Two Old Broads: Stuff You Need to Know That You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know
Dr. Hecht, a woman in her nineties at the time of writing this book, and her friend, Whoopi Goldberg, in her sixties, co-authored this book through a getting-older lens that is very much colored in Goldberg’s case by also seeing things through a COVID-19 lens.
With a few exceptions Hecht’s contributions to the brief chapters are more significant and substantive than those of Goldberg who does contribute, as appropriate, several memorable jokes.
The book is by Broads and for Broads—Broad primarily being defined as 60-plus, though anyone with the great advantage of Broad-dom insight—naturally all female—is welcomed to join the party.
The Broad wisdom is presented in very short chapters grouped into six parts focussing inter alia on how to dress and date (Sex Over Sixty; Is There Life After Jimmy Choo; Girdles); basic Broad Well-being (Don’t Get Out of Bed So Soon; Senior Skin Care); aches, pains and surgery, and mental health under the title Broad Shoulders (Am I losing My Mind; Nodding Off); and a final cheery wrap up under Broad Insights (Lists Are Your Friends, Who are You Calling Eccentric, Vale Dicta).
Dr. M.E. Hecht, 93 at the time of the book’s completion, died shortly before its publication. She was from a well-to-do family “in the department store business” (she mentions that she had a personal account at Saks Fifth Avenue), and had a previous career in theatre (off-off-Broadway and off-Broadway . . . was this intended as a pun?), but writes here primarily as a former orthopedic surgeon.
She and Goldberg (no further introduction necessary) met at the fashion show of one of their favorite designers, Ralph Rucci, and began “hanging out” thereafter. Goldberg thanks her friend for allowing her to “chime in on her book” and notes her gratitude to Hecht for her strengths and advice: “she gave the best advice on being a human being. She believed in the fun of getting older and always wanted you to make sure that you understood that getting older was not for sissies.”
Goldberg’s wise words raise the issue of who precisely this book is for. Perhaps sissies should be encouraged if they are in more need of some personal uplift and advice on the subject of ageing, and don’t know where else to find it. Hecht in particular writes well, fluently and amusingly, and especially in the chapters on physical and mental well-being and self-care provides sufficient, practical introduction to point sissies and others in the direction of finding more technical information and assistance.
On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine that the middle-aged, elderly, female, reading public are not aware of the advisability of examination and self-examination of breasts and other physical components—whether they do this or not. Perhaps this book will drive them toward taking examination more seriously and involving professionals such as Hecht.
However, it is equally or more likely that browsers in bookstores or online are attracted by Goldberg’s name on the cover and will have to do with “Whoopi’s Two Cents” on exercise, weight loss, and siesta among other topics, which often partially contradict the more stringent professional advice of her friend.