The Schmooze

Author Blog: Dating and Doctors

Earlier this week, Francesca Segal wrote about recasting a classic novel and about being asked the question “Who are your characters REALLY?” Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


It was several years ago when my mother went for a flu shot to our family doctor, an avuncular, bearded South African whose medical practice comfortably services at least half of north-west London’s Jewry. It is a position that requires front-line heroism when one considers the demographic; the armchair physicians and proxy-hypochondriacs and tirelessly frantic Jewish mothers. His desk is a confusion of stuffed animals and rubber chew toys, brightly coloured and easily disinfected, the armoury of the family practitioner. Dr. Winter oversaw the removal of almost half the tonsils in my junior school classroom, and has attended to the food poisonings and holiday vaccinations and slipped discs of most of our synagogue. My family has been going to him since 1985. And so, a flu shot for Mrs. Segal. But the doctor was conscious of a far more serious threat to her well-being.

“Nu?” he demanded, settling back for a chat. “Why isn’t she married?”

At the time I was 27.

“Never mind, I have someone. Nice boy. Older. Westminster and Oxford, like Francesca. He’ll call her. Leave it with me.”

And so my mother left, inoculated against both flu and, it was hoped, social disgrace, clutching the prescription for a son-in-law.

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Author Blog: Dating and Doctors

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