By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: September 29, 2009
In the list of conversations you really didn't need to be privy to, add the mental image of Maureen Dowd discussing ladies' undergarments with the late William Safire:
Maureen also waxes nostalgic over the good times she had with the former Agnew speech writer. She admired his way with words, even the four-letter kind.
“There’s a word here [in the Starr Report] I don’t know,” said The Times’s wordsmith. “What is a thong?”
I flushed and stammered that it was a scanty panty with a string for the back. His hazel eyes glinted with curiosity.
Trying to elucidate, I blurted: “Maybe you’re thinking of thong sandals, where thong is an adjective. With Monica, it’s used as a noun.”He smiled. “It’s like a G-string,” he said. “That brings back memories of some clubs I went to as a young man in Union City, N.J.”
Married to the gorgeous English rose Helene, he was a man who loved women; his novels, even the one about the founding fathers, were full of zesty sex scenes.And if those two quotes weren't enough to make you reach for the brain bleach, try not to picture Baba Wawa in a negligee after reading this:
He told me the story of how when Barbara Walters worked for him at the famous New York P.R. company of Tex McCrary, back in the “Mad Men” era, he wanted to loosen up Barbara, who was very serious. So one Christmas he gave her a sheer black shorty nightgown with matching panties.And now we know where she gets her affinity for alliteration and bad puns as she adds just one more TMI moment about the toilet arrangements on Murderers' Row.
When I became his “colleague in columny,” as he called me, we shared a bathroom, and I teased him for being the one who kept hair spray there.William Safire was a wit and wordsmith who will be missed. Especially by Maureen who has done as much to abuse the English language as he did to illuminate it.