Nora Ephron: Every Woman’s Woman

The late, great, and fabulous Nora Ephron

By now you’ve heard that Nora Ephron has passed away at the age of 71 from pneumonia, after a long, six-year battle with leukemia. Her professional credentials may read as follows: essayist, novelist, director, and screenwriter of arguably the greatest romantic comedy ever, When Harry Met Sally, among other famous love stories that we’ve all bawled our eyes out to (Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail being two of them). However, I believe Nora’s best title, and what made her so glorious, was being every woman’s woman.

In both her professional and personal life, she spoke to women as only a woman could. In When Harry Met Sally, Nora’s character creation, Sally Albright, voiced every confused, emotional, and honest thought that, as women, we have wondered, thought, or asked concerning the male species. And Nora herself, in all her most genius quotes and personal reflections, touched on subjects and issues that only her fellow women could fully understand. Here, a few of my favorites, most of them one-line zingers that the great Nora was known for:

-“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

-“I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted
most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.”

-“The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

-“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.”

-“I don’t think any day is worth living without thinking about what you’re going to eat next at all times.”

-“Summer bachelors like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be.”

-“In my sex fantasy, nobody ever loves me for my mind. ”

-“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”

-“If pregnancy were a book they would cut the last two chapters.”

-“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

And here, Nora’s brilliant lists of what she “will and won’t miss,” courtesy of Lists of Note (one of the coolest websites):

One of Nora’s most famous lines from When Harry Met Sally is spoken during the scene when, while eating in public with Harry, Sally demonstrates just how easily a woman can fake an orgasm, and after her thoroughly convincing act, the woman at the next table says, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Well, Nora, your life, the way you carried yourself, and your brilliant words gave women someone to admire and look up to. It seems throughout your life you’ve always had us saying, “We’ll have what Nora’s having.”