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 dead relationship. 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.