Last week I had the distinct honor and pleasure of emceeing Planned Parenthood of Illinois’ annual gala. This year’s was titled The Future of Choice and Dr. Ruth Westheimer was the keynote speaker. It was a wonderful program full of promise and courageous, articulate, accomplished speakers and honorees. After the speaking program and silent auction, Dr. Ruth and I signed copies of our new books – mine is Because It Feels Good and hers is called Dr. Ruth’s Top Ten Secrets for Great Sex.
What a pleasure it was to sit next to her (yes, her line was clearly longer!) and to get to listen in on all the wonderful things that people were saying to her. One woman noted that she had stood in line for the ladies room with Dr. Ruth years ago in NYC. Another had heard Dr. Ruth speak at her college, Duke University, twenty or more years earlier. Another guest had been at a wedding in Florida with her a year or two earlier.
When I posted pictures on my Facebook, friends came forward with their own stories. One friend had run into her at a Dunkin’ Donuts on 181st when he lived in NYC. Another had seen her at a Purim Party. Dr. Ruth, it seems, is everywhere! But it was the first time that I had met her or seen her in person. She was lovely and gracious; she even bought a copy of my book and asked me to sign it, which was so kind of her. We talked about the types of research our team at Indiana University is doing this day and what types of sex research are needed. In her public talk, she encouraged those with partners to go home and try a new position that very night – one they had never ever tried before – and to write and tell her about it the next day. Dr. Ruth also mentioned that she is the new Secretary of the Department of Love and Relationships in Washington! How fantastic. Is it any wonder I admire her spirit, her tenacity and her smarts? I will treasure these photos and the memories for ages. Thank you, Dr. Ruth.