Photo: Allison Cane
In her latest memoir, The Longest Date, screenwriter Cindy Chupack reveals the messy truth about marriage because, well, somebody had to! Here, she shares a few gems.
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, 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. Yes, some names were lost along the way. The point is not my incomplete sexual history, okay? It's 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 attitude toward sex or my delusions of love, but one lead 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 (where I was a writer and executive producer), at age 38 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 attractive, interesting, smart, funny guy who had so many red flags—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'd drunk the Kool-Aid. Hell, we were making the Kool-Aid. So it was hilariously predictable that, like every other rom-com heroine, I found my happy ending when I least expected it—music up, wedding montage, cue credits!
Or not. Turns out "happily ever after" is the epitome of lazy writing. Maybe fictional characters get to ride off into the sunset, 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 about 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 to my surprise I was wholly unprepared for this job.
Want more from Cindy? Tune into our Google+ Hangout with the writer this Wednesday, January 15, at 12: 30 p.m. EST where Chupack will talk about her new book The Longest Date: Life as a Wife (in which, she divulges about the "honest, horrible, hysterical truth about the early years of marriage") and give real relationship advice.