The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays

The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays

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by Cindy Chupack

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The Between Boyfriends Book is an honest, hilarious look at the world of dating--and not dating--that will have fans rushing back for multiple copies to press on the psychic wounds of their afflicted friends. Chupack not only puts voice to the cheerful brutality that shapes young women's love lives, but creates bonus coinages to describe instantly

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The Between Boyfriends Book is an honest, hilarious look at the world of dating--and not dating--that will have fans rushing back for multiple copies to press on the psychic wounds of their afflicted friends. Chupack not only puts voice to the cheerful brutality that shapes young women's love lives, but creates bonus coinages to describe instantly recognizable dating tropes, such as:
* "sexual sorbet": the first person you sleep with after a breakup to remove the taste of a bad relationship
* "lone rangered": to have had a relationship end with no goodbye, no answers, just the vague feelings you have no idea who that man was
* "premature 'we'jaculation": a common dating dysfunction where one member of the couple starts using "we" before the other is ready.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Chupack (Sex and the City; Everybody Loves Raymond) gathers columns that appeared in Glamour and other magazines in this funny and occasionally poignant first book. Reading Chupack's meditations on such modern mysteries as dating, therapy and male behavior, fans of Sex and the City may hear echoes of Carrie Bradshaw's wry voice. Standout chapters include "The Breakup," in which men dump their girlfriends through a proxy ("a doorman informed me that my date was not coming down. Ever") or simple desertion ("They'll say they're going to the rest room and never return. Then they'll meet friends for drinks and say,..."What do I have to do, spell it out for her?" ). In "Seventeen Dates," Chupack endures that many terrible dates ("Date #13 was a plastic surgeon ...[who] asked if I was 'swimsuit ready'), positing that she must go through that many stinkers after a break-up before she meets an eligible guy. She learns a painful lesson: "there are no shortcuts, because it's not only time and distance you need after you lose a love, it's reflection." The book is padded with magazine-style pieces that stray far afield of the single women and relationships theme: there's a chapter on adjusting to L.A. after growing up in Oklahoma and one on father/daughter communication. Enough of Chupack's material, though, is clever and original enough to make this a good beach book, and the cover reminds readers that "if you read it in public, men will know you're available." (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this collection of essays, Chupack, a television writer, executive producer (Sex and the City), and single girl extraordinaire, gives the gals without guys advice from the front lines of the dating scene. She has been known to write for Sex character Carrie Bradshaw, the columnist, fashionista, and swinging single city girl played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and here she echoes Carrie's voice. With chapters running no longer than three pages, Chupack keeps her message short and funny-single women are not sad but sexy. Stories from the dating history of Chupack and her friends are highlighted by terms such as holloweenies, "people who break up around Halloween because it's the last stop before family filled...high pressure holidays," and cupidity, "the faulty logic that leads a well-meaning but clueless third party to believe that two random singles are perfect for each other." Not an intellectual discourse on male/female mating rituals, this is instead a look at today's scary dating scene from the perspective of someone whose humor and insight gave single women everywhere a hero in Carrie; now they have a cohort in Chupack herself. For larger libraries or where there is demand.-Rachel Collins, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Emmy Award-winner Chupack (Everybody Loves Raymond, Sex and the City) conducts a wry, upbeat tour of the dating scene for women currently considering reentry. The author herself is in her 30s and between boyfriends-a condition that isn't all bad, Chupack asserts: there is much to celebrate in that daunting territory where relationships are formed or broken over a cup of coffee. She shares her opinions and experiences in 36 essays based on years of "research" (read: dating) and divided into thematic sections. One piece in "The Breakup" observes that men, congenitally unable to break up with a woman, think it humane to disappear like the Lone Ranger, offering no explanations. Another offers a "relationship equivalency exam," which would allow women to earn credit for past dating experiences when they begin a new relationship. "The Year Ahead" includes a gloomy astrology chart to moderate expectations, a rant about Valentine's day (it makes more people unhappy than happy), and an explanation of why people breakup at Halloween ("It's the last stop before the gift-mandated, high-pressure holidays"). The section on therapy addresses the awkward question of how to deal with the actual number of sexual partners-"not to be confused with the number you give when asked," when men exaggerate and women minimize. In other sections Chupack discusses the pros and cons of acquiring a male harem, the number of bad dates to be endured before a good one, and the old "Visa-defense" ("I paid for everything") used by men to excuse bad behavior. She deals with men who take women on sports dates, examines the late-30s panic attacks that lead to pressured dating, and warns readers never to revive a deadrelationship. The last section, "Your New Boyfriend," wittily addresses the problems of finally having a new man in your life. A positive spin on a state usually considered a downer. Author tour. Agent: Dan Strone/Trident Media Group
From the Publisher

“Self-deprecating and smart, Chupack's essays read like mini monologues from the hilarious friend you wish you had.” —People

“Cindy truly knows how to capture the horror and humor of single womanhood. This book demonstrates her gift for spinning heartbreak into gold.” —Sarah Jessica Parker

“Cindy Chupack has the credentials to comment on the single life: she's an Emmy-winning writer for Sex and the City. Like that show, her witty first book...captures the sometimes angst-ridden world of single women. Chupack has created a smart vocabulary that describes the indignities of dating.” —Time

“I laughed out loud and recognized myself and a million people I know...honest, unself-pitying, and hilariously rich with detail. Cindy Chupack makes you laugh about the things that most of us keep to ourselves: bad boyfriends, disappearing boyfriends, retro-boyfriends, no boyfriends.” —Besty Carter, author of Nothing to Fall Back On: The Life and Times of a Perpetual Optimist

“With stiletto wit, the author...has crafted slim volume of dating-themed essays that goes down like a zingy cosmo.” —People

“Chupack writes with the candor and gallows humor of a woman who's seen it all, but with just enough poignancy to make it clear she believes in true love. You will laugh out loud and you won't lose hope.” —Amy Sohn, author of Run Catch Kiss

“...her book is more than funny: it's brave and touching and deeply wise.” —Joyce Maynard, author of The Usual Rules

“A look at today's scary dating scene from the perspective of someone whose humor and insight gave single women everywhere a hero in Carrie (Bradshaw).” —Library Journal

“Whatever the state of your love life, The Between Boyfriends Book offers keen insight into the relationships we've endured and been entertained by.” —Grace Magazine

The Between Boyfriends Book is that rarest of 'chick books'-written by a chick who actually likes men and can tell you something useful about women.” —Gary Belsky, coauthor of Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes and How to Correct Them

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The Between Boyfriends Book

A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays

By Cindy Chupack

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Chupack
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7202-4


LONE RANGERED: To have had a relationship end in a mysterious and annoying way — with no good-bye, no answers, just the vague feeling that you have no idea who that man was.

Men are good at a lot of things. Breaking up is not one of them. When a woman wants to break up with a man, she invites him over for dinner, cooks his favorite dish, and tells him she's seeing his best friend. It's all very straightforward and diplomatic. But men have this weird aversion to endings. They prefer to take the passive mode, allowing the relationship to end itself. Men can't be bothered with dramatic farewells, the questioning of motives, discussions. They are bored. They want out. Good-bye.

I remember the first time a boy broke up with me. We were in the seventh grade. He invited me over after school, said he just wanted to be friends, then had his mother drive me home. It was all downhill from there. In more recent years, a doorman informed me that my date was not coming down. Ever. A friend called her boyfriend and found out he had moved to a new city. A coworker happened upon a personal ad placed by the man she was dating.

Every woman, with the possible exception of Cindy Crawford, has a story like this. She may have dated the man a few weeks or a few years. They may have shared a cab or an apartment. It doesn't matter. For some reason, the man thinks that the decision to break up is none of her business. (Of course, some women do the same thing. But then again, some women mud wrestle.)

Often a woman senses a breakup brewing and tries to get the man to sit down and fess up. This is futile. The average male gets this beam-me-up-Scotty look on his face as soon as you mention the word "discussion." He avoids subsequent contact as if you were trying to serve him a subpoena. Then, when you finally work up the nerve to ask him what the heck is going on, he pretends you're imagining the whole thing. It's all part of the game, and evidently the winner is the one who can quit the game without ever talking about it.

Some men admit they avoid confrontation because they're afraid we'll cry. Of course we'll cry; we cry at Hallmark commercials. What they don't understand is that we're not crying because of them, we're crying because now we have to get naked in front of someone else. It's enough already.

It's a rare and brave man who breaks up in person. Most likely he has sisters and does volunteer work. He'll say things you've heard before: "I'm unable to make a commitment. I don't have time to be the kind of boyfriend you deserve." Then he'll add, "I hope we can eventually be friends. I'd really miss your company." It doesn't matter if he's lying, telling the truth, or quoting something he read in a woman's magazine. At least he's trying.

Most men, however, think that even making a phone call to end a relationship is excessive. "What's the point?" they want to know. The humane thing, they've decided, is not to call, but instead to disappear like the Lone Ranger. These men believe in "Close your eyes and make it go away." They believe in the Fifth Amendment. They believe in absentee ballots. They may ski black diamonds, walk barefoot on hot asphalt, skydive for fun, but measured on their fear of confrontation, these guys are wimps.

They'll say they're going to the rest room and never return. Then they'll meet friends for drinks and say, "She just doesn't get it," or "What do I have to do, spell it out for her?" It's not that we don't get it. After about three weeks of shampooing with the water off — just in case he calls — we get the picture. But we'd like to feel like more than simply a notch in somebody's bedpost. Stranded without an explanation, we sound like the neighbors of a murderer. "He seemed nice. Kind of kept to himself. This came as a complete surprise." Underneath, of course, we know.

You can spot a woman whose relationship is disintegrating because her answering machine gives hourly updates of her whereabouts. "I'm at work now, but I'll be home by seven." "I'm at aerobics." "I'm in the shower." Meanwhile, his machine has the same message as always: "I'm not home. Later."

So what happens is this: you refuse to bow out gracefully, and he refuses to confront. His only option is to make you so miserable that you break up with him. We're talking emotional terrorism. It's fun, easy, and gets results.

During this period he won't laugh at your jokes. He'll ask you out, then act like you're imposing. He'll shred what's left of your confidence by saying, "You're wearing that?" He may even tell you he'd like to end the relationship, but continue sleeping with you. Then he'll act surprised when you bash in his headlights, stuff his favorite tie down the disposal, and ignite his baseball card collection.

So what's the right way for a man to break up? I suggest the following steps:

Step One: Choose a reason. Inevitably your girlfriend will ask why you're leaving, and you should be prepared to explain. If you know that your reason is petty and immature (I know a woman who broke up with a man because his nose looked like a penis), make up a nicer reason.

Step Two: Select a date that doesn't conflict with birthdays or major holidays. "I didn't plan to break up with her on Valentine's Day," a male friend once explained. "It just happened to coincide."

Step Three: Talk to her. You're both adults. It might go surprisingly smoothly.

Step Four: Hide your baseball cards.


SEXUAL SORBET: The first person you sleep with after a breakup; a palate cleanser to remove the taste of a failed relationship

Every time I go through a breakup (my average is approximately one every two years, although I'm trying to improve my time — get in and get out in under a year) I think my vast experience should make it easier. This is, of course naive, like expecting swimsuit shopping to get easier because you've been through it before. The reality is that breakups (like swimsuit shopping) get harder as we get older, maybe because we're not dating wildly inappropriate men ... as often. Instead, we're dating men we genuinely thought could be The One, and when they turn out to be just the twenty-fifth, it's understandably depressing and annoying. To make matters worse, everybody has advice to dole out as you cry over your chicken Caesar salad: "These things take time. This is a loss. You're mourning the loss of the life you thought you'd have. You should go back to therapy or to that yoga class where they turn up the heat and people either feel amazing or pass out."

Well, I have advice also. I say sleep with someone else. Sexualsorbet cleanses the palate and prepares you for your next course. After all, you don't want your ex to be the last guy you slept with. You need to put some distance between the two of you, and five to seven inches ought to do it.

Now bear in mind I'm not talking about a rebound relationship. You're not ready for a relationship. This is strictly sex, and that fact should be communicated clearly to your choice of sorbet. My friend Kate sees the same guy every time she breaks up. She calls him "Interstitial Bob." (Although the last time she called Bob a woman answered the phone and Kate felt it was the end of an era.) I recommend old fling–flavored sorbet because that way you know what you're getting, plus it's a good use of those wildly inappropriate men who were great lovers but not much else.

Note: Men will most likely be wary and disbelieving when you tell them you're only interested in sex. They've fallen for that line before from women, and let's face it — casual sex is not our strong suit. But these are extraordinary circumstances and once you prove that your intentions are purely impure, you'll be surprised how many men are willing to rise to the occasion. Remember, every breakup is an opportunity to do it right the next time. And in the meantime, it's an opportunity to do it.


"HEY BABY" WEIGHT: The weight you have to be at in order to date again and to have random men on the street call out, "Hey Baby..."

I am going on a ten-day fast. In preparation for this fast I have eaten most of the contents of my refrigerator, including leftover spare ribs (which I don't even particularly like) and the not insignificant remains of a small birthday cake. I now feel sick enough to abstain from eating for at least a day if not longer.

This fast is called the Master Cleanser, a.k.a. the Lemonade Diet because you drink six to twelve glasses of "lemonade" a day, the lemonade being a mixture of spring water, fresh organic lemon juice, maple syrup and a little cayenne pepper.

I believe this fast is medically sound because I know people who have done it. Well, okay, I know one person who has done it, but he knows other people who have done it and he himself does it every year for seven days. And there is a booklet. I realize that "booklet" does not sound very substantial. Most diets, however far-fetched, at least merit a book. But the Master Cleanser is written and advocated by a man who, when he is not fasting, survives on fruits, vegetables, seeds, and berries, so this is not a man who sends in a book to do a booklet's job, if you know what I mean.

The other thing I tell myself (and concerned others) is that this is Not About Weight Loss. I know I can't expect to keep off the pounds I shed while on a fast. I just want to cleanse my system and get rid of the toxins, plus I think after eating nothing for ten days, it will be easy to make smaller changes to my diet like eliminating those Magnolia Bakery cupcakes.

DAY #1

I have read the booklet so many times in preparation for this fast that by 10 A.M., I am already feeling most of the possible side effects, which are, of course, psychosomatic because I have yet to even make the lemonade. I prepare a big pitcher, while thinking that if I were going to pick a drink to live on for ten days, it would probably be something more along the lines of a banana daiquiri, but I suppose that would be considered a "problem" rather than a fast.

By late afternoon I'm a little hungry, and I notice the place where I really have a Pavlovian response is my kitchen. I make a mental note that I'm not sure whether I go to the kitchen when I'm hungry, or whether being in the kitchen makes me hungry. This is the kind of possibly profound thought you have when you are on a ten-day fast.

That night I go to see Nick Lowe at Joe's Pub in the Village, and I find that instead of watching him, I am watching the guy at a table in front of Nick Lowe, who has ordered a large bowl of penne and has only eaten half. He pushes the pasta to one side of the bowl and can't seem to finish it. I can't bear it. I don't understand why the waitress doesn't take it away so we can all go back to enjoying the concert.

DAY #2

You know how if you used to drink a lot at parties, and then you stop, you suddenly realize how stupid drunk people sound at parties? That's how I am about food today. I can't believe how many people say, "I'm starving!"

The truth is, we are not actually starving when we say we are starving. I know this because I'm not starving and I am essentially "starving." The downside of this new enlightened me is that I am right on the verge of becoming one of those women I hate — the ones who forget to eat and say food is not that important to them and begin their sentences with, "The truth is ..."

I am reminded of an ex-roommate who had a big box of Neuhaus chocolates in her room that she must have received as a gift. She never ate one. And it was the assortment, so there had to be something in there that she liked. It became my ritual to beat her home from work, sneak into her room and check for missing chocolates, and as the days wore on and the chocolates remained I got increasingly upset at her restraint and/or disinterest. I knew we could never be friends if her psychotic eating disorder was going to continue. And now it seems I am her — for at least eight more days.

I did pass an important test tonight. I successfully had my first dinner out without having dinner. I had hot mint tea (which is sanctioned) while my friends/co-workers ate Italian. My profound thought for the evening was this: Maybe conversation is like food. Maybe it can be just as satisfying. But then the food came, and I remembered: Conversation is not like food. Food is like food. Food is like an eggplant parmigiana.

DAY #3

Okay, it's not about weight loss, but I have lost six pounds! I drink my lemonade proudly. I carry it in a water bottle knowing people will wonder what's in the bottle, happy to explain. I have plenty of energy. I am somehow getting through this. My only complaint is that despite how much time not having and planning and traveling to meals frees up, I am not being very productive. I spend the afternoon seeing a movie because that's two hours less I'll have to think about not eating, and then I discover my new favorite pastime — trying on clothes that didn't fit the day before.

DAY #4

I lost another pound! I must now figure out how to see the maximum number of people at this present and probably unsustainable weight. My friend Mark invites me to a Yankees game. Perfect. Yankee Stadium. Sold-out game. 56,000 people. Maybe I'll get on the Jumbotron.

By the second inning I realize that baseball games are not about baseball, they are about hot dogs, soft pretzels, peanuts, pizza, and beer. I didn't bring any of my lemonade, mainly because post–September 11th games have very tight security, and I didn't want to explain to some humorless guard that I had a special drink in my water bottle because I was fasting. I'm sure they know all about "special drinks," and Mark reminds me that fasting might be associated with Ramadan, which, in this political climate, is a red flag issue unto itself. So I reasoned that I would just drink water for the duration of the game, which was fine for the first nine innings, but by the eighth extra inning (Oakland A's, 8/9/02, look it up if you want) I was wondering, "What would one Cracker Jack do?" Mark bought a box and gave me his free prize. I thought: Maybe prizes are like food. ... But this prize was not like food. It was just a stupid sticker. I was disappointed, almost depressed. I deeply wanted something three-dimensional, like a ring. Or a Cracker Jack.

DAY #5

I am not only surviving this fast, today I made it through a spin class. One happy thing is that I am not breaking out or having pains or cramps as warned by the booklet. At dinnertime I go out for sushi without having sushi, and sushi is my favorite. I am extremely impressed with myself. I also discover the recipe for frozen lemonade (blend with ice!), which almost approximates solid food and becomes the highlight of my existence.

DAY #6

I've lost nine pounds! I decide to hit another important benchmark — trying to entertain without food. This came about because last week I started a tradition of having friends over to watch the Sex and the City episode, and for that I put out a great spread, so this week I ask people to bring whatever they want, which for a notoriously over-the-top hostess is almost harder than not eating, and at 8:30 they show up and nobody has brought anything.

It is important to note that I am Jewish. Jews know it is not a social gathering without food. Jews feel downright uncomfortable with people in the house and no food displayed. Turns out my friends ate before coming in deference to my fast, but Mark, the same Mark who ate a whole box of Cracker Jacks in front of me at 1:30 in the morning at Yankee Stadium, did not eat first or bring anything, so he decides to order out for pizza. I generally haven't been too hungry, but his pizza looked awfully good. In any case, people didn't stay long after the episode. Apparently the rest of the world still needs food in order to have a good time.

DAY #7

Today, continuing on my path of seeing as many people as possible at this weight, I went to Madison Square Garden for the Bruce Springsteen concert. Not only did I make it through the concert (which was lousy with soft pretzels), plus a four-tiered tower of shellfish afterward at Balthazar, I made it through running into an ex-boyfriend over whom I've been known to exercise very bad judgment. The kicker: I didn't sleep with him! We went back to my place and we just ... caught up. Profound discovery of the evening: If I can sit in a restaurant with three desserts on the table and not eat, I can sit in my apartment with my ex and not have sex.

DAY #8

I am down to my "Hey Baby" weight. I know this because I was walking down the street in a little skirt and blouse, and a construction worker looked me over and said, "Hey Baby ..." Apparently, for women there's baby weight and then there's "Hey Baby" weight. The only side effect I'm suffering from is trouble getting to sleep. And I need sleep tonight, because tomorrow I am beaming my skinny self across the United States. Yes, it was an amazing coincidence of timing, but because of a trend I wrote about, I was asked to do an appearance on the Early Show.


Excerpted from The Between Boyfriends Book by Cindy Chupack. Copyright © 2003 Cindy Chupack. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Cindy Chupack has written for a number of television shows, including Everybody Loves Raymond, and her work on Sex and the City has earned her Emmy and Golden Globe awards. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

Cindy Chupack has written for a number of television shows, including Everybody Loves Raymond, and her work on Sex and the City has earned her Emmy and Golden Globe awards. She is the author of The Between Boyfriends Book and Dispatches from the Dating Front Lines. She lives in New York and Los Angeles.

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Between Boyfriends Book 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with delightful wit and just downright real-life humor! I received this book from my sister for Christmas (2004) and I read the entire book, cover-to-cover all on Christmas Day. I couldn't put it down. I was also having troubles of the male nature and this clever collection cheered me up 100%. It is hilarious!! A definite must-read for any girl, single or attached. Thank you, Cindy Chupack!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read for every woman, single or not. There is a lot of comedy, and some good advice for anyone who is single.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved He's Just Not That Into You & Sex In The City. I wanted another book along those lines which brought me to this. I enjoyed it; it was a funny quick read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
... and that's saying alot. As soon as I finished reading this book from the library, I went online and bought a copy for 6 of my friends and of course myself. I've read it twice and still laugh out loud when reading it. Even now between my friends (boyfriend-less or attached) we use phrases like 'Taffeta Envy', 'Your Number', 'Seventeen Dates', etc. If you love Sex and the City, you'll love this book even more. Definately worth buying several copies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! It so nice to read a book that you could relate to :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read that would be perfect for anyone who has enjoyed the show Sex and the City. Or if you are single, looking, and often frustrated yet afflicted with hope. Chupack's insight and constant humor buoy this easy-to-like and hard to put down book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could it get any better although a short book I read it on a Saturday evening laugh out loud it made my no-date for the night better than having what would have been a bad one I have thrown it at all my single gal-pals and they say the same thing 'its nice to know were not alone.' CINDY CHUPACK ROCKS
Guest More than 1 year ago
every chapter is like an episode of sex and the city. ms. chupack is witty, intelligent, hopelessly hopeful and her writing is as absolutely hilarious as it is insightful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very fun, sometimes insightful, often witty and always entertaining read. I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so funny. I could relate to almost everything the author was saying. Cindy's style of writing & use of words made the book what it is a absolutly histerical reality of single women everywhere. I highly recommend this book to everyone....and pass it along to your friends.!!!