Cover image for Today I am a ma'am : and other musings on life, beauty, and growing older
Today I am a ma'am : and other musings on life, beauty, and growing older
Harper, Valerie, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Cliff Street Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xii, 155 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN6231.W6 H35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN6231.W6 H35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Valerie Harper has a message for women of a certain age: "Work those laugh lines!" With the irreverence and wit that made her one of television's most beloved personalities, Harper (a.k.a. Rhoda Morgenstern) takes on those phony "fabulous at 50" books written by women whose skin is free of laugh lines and who wouldn't know a cellulite pocket if it bit them on the backside. With her trademark shoot-from-the-hip, call-'em-like-she-sees-'em style, she helps women celebrate, with humor and grace, what it means to be middle aged.

Harper's essays explore the treacherous terrain women must travel -- from the tyrannies of fashion to the unmentionables of menopause. She tackles the most perplexing questions of the day: If you wear a size zero, do you exist? Would menopause be revered if it happened to men? Do calories count if you eat standing up? Are dressing rooms fitted with fun house mirrors? Today I Am a Ma'am is the perfect antidote to the youth obsession of our culture, offered by America's most reliable girlfriend. It is Humor Replacement Therapy for midlife women, a book you can pick up when ever you need a laugh or a reminder that midriff drift is not the end of the world.

Author Notes

Valerie Harper played the memorable Rhoda Morgenstern first on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and then on her own spin-off series, Rhoda, for nine years.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Once readers get over the shock that Harper (who won four Emmy awards playing Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rhoda) is now in her 60s, her gently funny and age-positive ruminations will soothe the aftershock ("How old does that make me?"). This light, sincere, cartoon-filled guide for "women of a certain age" pokes fun at this age group's lack of representation in films (Jane Fonda responds, "What's the worst thing about being a beautiful, glamorous star over fifty? Watching each year as Bob Redford's leading ladies get younger and younger") and plastic surgery mania ("The transformation isn't from old to young. It's from old to scary"). Mainly, though, the book celebrates an age at which women can finally relax. Following advice from Ruth Gordon ("I decided to get older instead of getting old. Because old is a destination; older is a process and a path"), Harper embraces her "senior moments" and droopy upper arms and thighs that are "like dimpled twin dough boys, nestled together against the cold." Wry and wise, Harper dares women to be "real" and reminds us that those "fabulous at 50" women on magazine covers have a hidden crew of professionals and technicians who labor to produce that look. (On sale date: Apr. 10) Forecast: Thanks to Harper's high-profile name and the public's enduring affection for her TV persona, which comes through on paper, Harper's book will have a ready audience among baby boomers and other fans. To boost sales, Harper will go on a seven-city tour, appear on Today (Apr. 16) and Rosie (Apr. 17), and receive feature coverage in People and Parade. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Rhoda Morgenstern laughs off turning 50. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 Pardon Me, Ma'amp. 1
Little Old Ladiesp. 1
Shelf Lifep. 2
What a Greetingp. 6
If Life Imitated Television...p. 10
It's Our Turnp. 13
2 De'Mean Streetsp. 17
Just Chicksp. 17
Smoke and Mirrorsp. 20
The Friendly Skiesp. 21
Got Milk?p. 25
Edibles: Women as Snack Foodp. 28
Oh, Grow Up!p. 29
3 Tyrannies Old and Newp. 35
Barbie's War Chestp. 35
Sizing Downp. 37
Being and Nothingnessp. 38
Witches' Brewp. 41
Bad Hair Daysp. 48
Female Bondagep. 49
Then and Nowp. 54
4 Just Dessertsp. 61
Let Us Eat Cakep. 61
Favorite Diet Fibsp. 63
The Pounder in the Valleyp. 66
The Sliding Scalep. 68
Food Buddiesp. 72
Somebody Call the Copsp. 74
Bustedp. 75
Weighty Mattersp. 79
The Dieter's Dilemmap. 84
Eat Your Heart Outp. 88
5 The M Wordp. 89
Wait a Minutep. 89
If Men Had Menopause...p. 91
Crazy Ladiesp. 92
The New Face of Menopausep. 94
Hot Timesp. 97
A Senior Momentp. 100
Never Oldp. 101
6 Liftoff!p. 105
Face Itp. 105
Being Fabulousp. 108
Tough Toenailsp. 111
My Beautiful Draperiesp. 116
Need a Lift?p. 117
Badges of Honorp. 126
7 Humor Replacement Therapyp. 131
Let's Ventp. 131
Have More Fun in Bedp. 133
The Girlfriend Factorp. 133
Over the Topp. 137
Meno Funniesp. 139
Don't Cry for Mep. 141
8 Imagine That!p. 143
Wouldn't It Be Great?p. 143
Get Over Itp. 144
Mental Aerobicsp. 148
Valerie's Golden Rulesp. 149
WOACAs Unite!p. 154