After having endured enough emotional wreckage in her search for true love to fill a book (the New York Times bestseller The Between Boyfriends Book), two magazine columns, and five seasons of scripts for Sex and the City, Cindy Chupack finally, mercifully, at the age of thirty-nine, met the Perfect Man.
He did not seem to Cindy like the Perfect Man. Ian, with his bad-boy ways, struck her as someone whom she absolutely did not want as a husband, but he soon proved his worth with wit, warmth, a series of spectacularly cooked meals, and a marriage proposal made on a beautiful beach, the prospective groom perched heroically on a white stallion.
Unable to resist the romance, Cindy married him and settled in contentedly for the long and gratifying happily ever after...or so she thought. Being a wife, Cindy discovers soon enough, is not so different from being a girlfriend, only now you have a permanent houseguest. Ian’s endearing quirks became impossible-to-ignore and slightly irksome habits; what was once charming adventurousness now seems like recklessness (just why was he rappelling down the side of a building on a garden hose?); and his impossibly big heart has space enough for an impossibly big dog, a St. Bernard that looks, as Cindy realizes once it has taken possession of her home, “like a person in a dog suit.” And then there’s all his stuff.
The Longest Date is the wonderfully funny, and ultimately, deeply moving story of a marriage, of the daily negotiations and accommodations about matters like cooking, holidays, space, money, and sex that every (newly or otherwise) wedded couple faces in the course of figuring out exactly who they are together and where they are headed. Cindy and Ian’s own ongoing courtship takes a surprising turn when they decide to have a baby—a plan that turns out to be far more complicated than they ever could have anticipated and that tests and strengthens their love for each other.
The perfect companion for anyone navigating a marriage (or even just contemplating one), The Longest Date marks the welcome return of one of our most gifted and captivating comic writers.
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Cindy Chupack has won three Golden Globes and two Emmys for her work as a writer/producer of HBO’s Sex and the City and ABC’s Modern Family. Several episodes she penned were individually nominated for Writers Guild and Emmy awards. Chupack’s other TV credits include Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach, and the hour-long romantic comedy anthology series she created for NBC, Love Bites (which can be viewed on Hulu.com). She has written about dating and relationships for many publications and had her own column in Glamour and O, The Oprah Magazine. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her St. Bernard, and . . . you’ll just have to read the book.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I’ve always been a romantic. When I was single, I slept only with men I believed I could marry.
That would be admirable except for one detail: I slept with a lot of men.
A lot a lot.
I’m not going to tell you the exact number because my parents might read this book, and they certainly don’t need to know the tally.
And also, I don’t know it. Don’t judge me.
I was single for a long time. Alcohol was often involved.
I didn’t keep a guest book by my bed, so, yes, some names were lost along the way.
The point is not my incomplete sexual history, okay? It’s the more troublesome issue that every time there was a man inside of me, there was also a voice inside of me saying This might be the man I marry!
Clearly, I knew nothing about the reality of marriage. Or hormones.
I’m not sure which was more dangerous—my casual atti- tude toward sex or my delusions of love—but one led to the other in a decade-long binge of salty and sweet, horny and hopeful.
Finally, after enough relationship wreckage to fill a book (The Between Boyfriends Book), two magazine columns, and five seasons of Sex and the City, at the age of thirty-eight I found a guy I absolutely did not want to marry, and, of course, he’s the guy I wound up marrying.
I’m not saying I settled. I’m saying I met a wildly attrac- tive, interesting, smart, funny guy who had so many red flags—many of which he voluntarily and repeatedly waved in my face—that I told my coworkers at Sex and the City, “Do not let me fall for this one,” and that’s when, they say, they knew that I would do precisely that.
We’d all seen the romantic comedies; we drank the Kool- Aid. Hell, we were making the Kool-Aid. So it was hilariously predicatable that, like every other rom-com heroine, I found my happy ending when I least expected it, music up, wedding montage, cue credits!
Turns out “happily ever after” is the epitome of lazy writing. Maybe fictional characters live happily ever after, but for the nonfictional rest of us, the story continues with a lot more complexity, and in a way, marriage winds up being the longest date ever.
And however much we think we know how to do dating, on this date, you can’t decide not to see him again because you’re tired of hearing him talk about cheese. For example.
You have to try to work things out, or at least appear to try, and as it turns out, I was completely unprepared for this job.
I got married at forty (despite my lobbying efforts to move the wedding up a month so I would still be thirty-nine). I re- member complaining to friends that, because of my age, my husband and I would have to start trying to have kids right away. I sincerely wished we were younger—that we had five years to be just a couple.
And I got my wish. We didn’t become magically younger, but we did get five years to ourselves, thanks to the myriad problems we encountered trying to have a child.
So what did I learn in those five years? And how can I help you prepare for that thing about your spouse that you must somehow embrace because he’s your spouse? (Wanna hear about cheese?) The fertility problems you might face because it took two decades to find a guy to face them with? Disagree- ments about pets, space, houseguests (I think I’m adverse to them because I still secretly feel my husband is one), couples therapy, entertaining together, cleanliness, vows (every anni- versary we rewrite ours and have the option to sign up for another year— so far so good), and sex? W hat about married sex?
Oh yes, I am an authority on sex. In fact, I was a sex col- umnist for O, The Oprah Magazine while we were going through IVF treatments, and I finally gave up my column because sex had become so fraught for me, so synonymous with failure, that I could no longer in good conscience advise women on how to “spice up their sex lives” with porn and lingerie. I felt like a fucking fraud, literally and figuratively.
So, in this book, I wanted to tell the honest, horrible, hys- terical truth about the early years of marriage. I certainly could have used some preparation, or at least some commis- eration.
I also noticed a lack of humor and hope in most of what’s been written about infertility. Women I know— and even women I don’t know—encouraged me to fill this void when they responded so enthusiastically to the first piece I ever pub- lished about the trying nature of trying: “We’re Having a Maybe!” (which is now a chapter of this book).
The one thing my husband, Ian, and I learned from this experience is, never say never. In fact, as I began writing this book, we found ourselves in a craft store buying construction paper for the scrapbook we’d been advised to make for pro- spective birth mothers. Yes, we now had to market ourselves as parents.
I never thought I would be in that position—not the adopt- ing part (we’d always been open to adoption) but construction paper? Really? But our adoption lawyer said our scrapbook should look homemade, so we spent a weekend gluing photos of ourselves (with friends, with family, on holidays, on vaca- tion) onto Easter egg–colored construction paper, which we hole punched and bound with ribbons.
And as we were doing this, as we were making this little Book of Us, I realized we had, somehow, amid the chaos and confusion of cohabitation, built a lovely life together. There we were, page after pastel page, two people (and one St. Ber- nard I didn’t think I wanted) who had shared five years of adventures (good and bad, large and small) that had strength- ened our bond as a couple.
So I’m grateful for those five years, hard earned as they were, and although “happily ever after” still strikes me as the romantic equivalent of the Rapture (sure, it might happen, but let’s not spend our lives waiting for it), I am writing this book for every woman who ever was or will be blindsided by the reality of marriage: to validate and celebrate life as a wife.
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