B: Well, I’ll tell ya, I was going to a wedding up in Boston, and I was on the train and this very attractive woman came and sat down next to me. She was Asian [oohs and ahhhs all around], which I love.
But fantasies aside, in real life, married guys bump up against people they find sexually alluring. That’s what I’m talking about.
P: Then it makes sense that you married a Pole. [Laughs]
B: She was from Singapore, she was just here for a few days for some jewelry conference, she was going to be in Boston overnight, she knew absolutely no one in town, and she started asking me if I knew where the fun was.
DW: Wait, this is a Red Shoe Diary. I’ve seen this one. [Laughs]
B: She’s getting all close and asking me about what to do, and I was thinking, You have to be fucking kidding me. My family owns pubs there and I gave her some spots to go to, and she asked for my phone number. And I went to the wedding, and I got back home and saw that she had called me at 1:30 in the morning. I just thought to myself, This is bad, I’m not calling this girl back. This was nothing I would jeopardize my marriage over, but if I wanted to do something, it couldn’t have been more beautifully set up. But I stepped back and was like: family, kid. I was actually very proud of myself.
JC: Sometimes I kick myself because I’m like, what’s the harm in flirting? My wife’s fine with that, and she knows I’d never do anything about it. But I’ve suppressed flirtation with women so much that I actually think that I’ve forgotten how to do it.
JC: You guys saw that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Cheryl David says to Larry that for their tenth anniversary he could have sex with anyone he wanted. Well, I was watching that with my wife, and she turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t you like something like that?” And I just stopped myself and thought, This is probably a test. So I told her that I don’t think I would. I told her that not only because I think it’s the right answer but also because I don’t think I could pull it off. I think I’d be better at it than Larry David, but …
Are there times when you’re jealous of your wife?
P: No. Well, okay, check this out. About three months before we got married, my wife was working for this company and she had a huge project working with this whole team of people, ten hours a day for a year, and at the end there was a big party. And there was this one programmer, this Romanian guy, he leaned over and planted one right on her lips. She said she backed away, but y’know, maybe she didn’t, but anyway, she says, “Hey, I’m engaged,” and points to her ring, and he points to his and says, “That’s okay, I’m married.” I met the guy a month later—
CJC: You could have creamed him, right?
P: Sure, he was some fucking douche, but we start having this conversation, and I go, “So are you married, too?” and this is what he did, literally, he puts on this world-weary face and goes [holds up hand and points to ring with contempt]. As if to say, “What do you think, man, come on. Look at my hand.” Like he wasn’t too happy about it. But that was the last time it happened. If someone was really coveting my wife, I’d get angry at him, not so much jealous but like, “I’m gonna kill this guy.” But I think she’s sexy, other people are going to think she’s sexy, and a few of those people are going to make those feelings known to her, and, well, so long as it’s just that, you have to take it as a compliment.
Despite being in an open relationship, you’d get jealous of another guy’s being around your wife, right?
CJC: Yeah, I mean, any open relationship, so much of that is all about managing jealousy, understanding where the jealousy kicks in and where it doesn’t, what’s cool and what isn’t. I put my wife naked on the Internet all the time, and I have no jealousy in that regard whatsoever. On the other hand, if a real-life dude tried something with her, it’d be throwdown time. But the steam valve for that is the celebrity five. She can have sex with anyone on a list of five celebrities if she gets a chance to. Well, I was taking a picture of one of these five dudes on her list for a magazine, and to prove I’d put my money where my mouth is, I brought her along as my assistant. But she sort of blew the opportunity in spite of my efforts. We always think of it like this: A monogamous relationship is very rigid and it can break, whereas an open relationship is more flexible and can bend. So with that bending, we’re able to weather some storms that other relationships might break in.
“If we weren’t romantically involved, we probably wouldn’t even be friends.”
M: I know a lot of people who are in open relationships, to varying degrees. I know a couple that finds guys for three-ways—that’s sort of what they do for fun, but otherwise they’re monogamous. The other extreme is the “don’t ask, don’t tell” version. It’s understood it’s going on, but not necessarily spoken about with any specificity. I don’t think it would work for me, but God bless people it does work for. It would just get too complicated and weird for me. I’m a simple guy—relationships are complicated enough without throwing one or more other people into it.
How many of you have looked to your own parents’ marriages to compare with your own?
B: Well, my mother died, but if she hadn’t, they’d still be together. My wife’s parents are divorced, and it’s entirely because this one time he cheated. And my mother-in-law was like, that’s it, and my wife I know for a fact would be exactly the same way.
M: My parents hate each other. I mean, actually hate each other. They live together still, but they sleep in separate rooms. There are a lot of excuses for that: My dad snores, my mom’s bad back. But they’ll never get divorced.
P: I think that it’d be impossible for your parents’ marriage to not inform your own. I mean, in most cases, it’s the first marriage you’re exposed to, so it must be ingrained. But I also think that if you grew up with a bad example of marriage and you have your head screwed on straight, that can be of equal value in forging a healthy one of your own.
JC: I am slowly but surely becoming my father. It’s just bizarre, the similarities. And my mother actually left my father about four years ago, and I’ve seen the progression and I’m very aware of that. I’m making tweaks to ensure that I accentuate the best aspects of him.
CJC: For us, there is no prototype to model our relationship off of. Every day, we are figuring shit out. We feel like nobody’s ever done what we’re doing.
JC: Hugh Hefner.
Do you wish you’d married earlier or later?
DW: I could have been married sooner. I was totally kicking around not doing anything very special for two years before I met my wife. I would have liked to have those two years spent with her.
K: My advice as a twice-divorced man is never to get married in your twenties. If you can hold it till 30, you’ll be in way better shape. Your twenties are for fucking a lot of women.
Marriage: Can you sell it to me?
K: Great for the comforts. It brings bonding with another person. It should also be feared as a scary institution. It can really, really suck. It’s not a joke. It’s not something that kids should get into lightly. God, I feel like I’m talking about crack. It’s serious business.
DW: I would never try to sell anyone on marriage.
JC: I think what I found is a lifelong best friend who I happen to think is hot. It’s as simple as that.
P: I love my wife, but I never want to think of her as being my best friend. My wife and I don’t have a lot in common. We just don’t. But we get along incredibly well because for some reason, the way we are wired, we don’t get on each other’s nerves.
M: I never thought about whether we are friends or lovers. I just think we get on great and we have really great sex with each other. We’re also totally different from each other. If we weren’t romantically involved, we probably wouldn’t even be friends, but we totally get along really well.
P: Two steps forward, two steps back, we come together, because opposites attract. Abdul—