Cover image for Unzipped : what happens when friends talk about sex--a true story
Unzipped : what happens when friends talk about sex--a true story
Weaver, Courtney, 1965-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [1999]

Physical Description:
341 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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HQ801 .W5 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The dark and dirty secrets of the mating and dating scene are exposed as Courtney Weaver hears all from her friends--and tells a few secrets of her own--in this true-lifeBridget JonesmeetsTales of the City. Sexuality in the '90s is a different animal: While men and women have been given the tools to communicate, they haven't been given the instructions.  With audacious, witty, and sometimes scandalous writing, Courtney Weaver'sUnzippedfollows her life and those of her friends as they attempt to navigate the waters of intimate relationships without paddles. Weaver, whose column "Unzipped" wasSalonmagazine's most popular feature, lends an indulgent ear to her friends as they wrestle with the lure of having sex with exes, predict bedroom prowess from kisses, and search for the most tactful way to reclaim favorite pieces of clothing left behind after messy breakups. Harriet is convinced that a concrete set of '50s-era rules is the only way to catch a mate, while Jemma turns to her own shocking set of rules in order to fulfill her desires.  Meanwhile, Weaver's single-mom hairstylist Marie lends a sympathetic ear and an acerbic tongue when she too uncovers a sexual scandal in her own backyard. In the tradition ofTales of the City, but peopled with characters you might actually meet,Unzippedis a work of narrative nonfiction that explores all the complexities of sex in the '90s.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Salon Web site columnist Weaver brings her "Unzipped" column into print with this eponymous work, which chronicles her own and her well-educated, 30-something friends' search for love and the perfect mate (and the occasional one-night stand along the way). Surprisingly, this San Francisco-based cast is entirely heterosexual, although their stories are anything but traditional. From a not-quite-divorced, postpunk mother who rediscovers the thrills and pitfalls of sleeping around, to a nanny who finds satisfaction in S&M clubs, to men who are desperately searching for a woman willing to commit, the characters endure a slew of intriguing sexual misadventures. Weaver also offers a peek into her own often lonely life as a successful freelance writer, portraying herself in her darker moments as that most solitary of creatures: the Internet addict. As she examines the reasons why she has not found a partner and wonders what her life would be like if she did, the writing occasionally gets bogged down in maudlin self-analysis. Still, the bulk of this humorous narrative is well spun and will appeal to Gen-X readers with even the slightest of voyeuristic tendencies. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book eavesdrops play by play on the sex-and-love lives of the author and her friends as they share gossip, stories, laughter, and tears. By turns hilarious, banal, and rather sad, her chronicle shows women and men working valiantly at mating in a culture without universal consensus or rituals, where bottles, beds, and bodies are shared but rules and expectations are not. Her portraits are vivid, and the book is an entertaining read rather in the style of a nonfiction American Bridget Jones's Diary. Weaver, a journalist, wrote the column "Unzipped" for Salon magazine for several years. For libraries in large, cosmopolitan citiesÄespecially New York and San FranciscoÄand with collections specializing in contemporary culture and sexuality.ÄMartha Cornog, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



A year later I came in from a run on that Jeep Cherokee route and was just gathering up a pile of smelly, dirty clothes to lug, Santa-like, to the corner laundry when I glanced in the bathroom mirror and nearly screamed. The sight was horrible: frizzy curls sticking out at odd angles, little nascent gray hairs pricking through my cowlick, a red face, last night's mascara in a streak down my left cheek. The face could be washed, and for that matter, the hair--but it was clear that a visit to Marie was in order. Quickly. I looked at my ugly sports watch. It was six o'clock in the evening--if I left the apartment right this second and ran all eleven blocks down to Hayes Valley, I might just catch her at her salon before she left for the day. If I called first, it would be easier for her to postpone the haircut to a later date, by which time the sense of urgency would be gone, as well as the conviction that all I needed was a trim to make my entire life more manageable, interesting and indeed fulfilling. I dumped all the dirty laundry back into the hamper and grabbed my wallet and keys, but not before dabbing on some lipstick--MAC Pecan Tone. One couldn't look completely bedraggled in front of one's hairstylist, if only as a remark of respect. "Good God," Marie said when I burst into the salon some fifteen minutes later. Despite my optimistic canter down the hill, I hadn't really expected that she would take me--more often than not, two or three women in white-toweled turbans sat around the perimeter of the cavernous space poring over Elle or In Style, patiently waiting their turn--but when I came in, breathless and sweating, Marie was alone and leafing through her heavily marked appointment book, writing in names and crossing things out. Even Eve, the violet-coiffed shampooist/receptionist, had left for the day. "I really appreciate this, Marie," I said after a few minutes of wheedling and cajoling. I hopped up into the bright purple leatherette chair that was the shape of a hand. "You know how it is when your hair gets to that point and you just can't take it anymore." She eyed me in the mirror with some doubt. "Okay, well, maybe not you," I allowed. Marie inspected the ends of my hair as distastefully as possible. "Hmmm. You girls with long hair. Why wait this long? I hope your life is looking better than your ends." "As a matter of fact, I don't mind my split ends, as a concept," I said. "They remind me that I get a free therapy session and a haircut." Marie waved that compliment away as if she were shooing away a fruit fly. Marie and I had known each other a long time, so there was no need for useless preamble. "Just the usual," I said happily. "You know--a quarter-inch trim that still allows it to be long while transforming it into something shiny, swinging, trendy and completely fabulous every hour of the day." As it happens, I was speaking to her rump at that point--she'd bent down and was rummaging through her little trolley, collecting aluminum clips and sliding them into her thick red hair, which was tied on top of her head, giving her the appearance of a rather hip pineapple. "The miracle cut," she said. "Always a favorite. But as long as no one asks for the Jennifer Aniston hairdo, I'm happy. Thank God that fad passed. Now, where is that damn clarifier? This is great stuff, by the way--gets out all that goo and products so you can really have a nice clean scalp." She straightened up and eyed my head. "You like products, right?" "Same as the next gal," I said. "That last stuff you gave me--what was it, the orange syrupy gel in the black tube? Well, it seriously changed my life." "Potion Number Nine," she said confidently. "Yup. They've discontinued it." I nodded. "That figures." Marie fingered a lock and let it drop unceremoniously. "It has been almost three months, according to your card." She stood behind me and untwisted my hair band, trying to work her fingers through. "Well, how are you doing anyway, besides trimming your hair with manicure scissors?" "I'm pretty good," I said. "And I don't do that anymore." A vision of Harriet, counseling frugality, as she snipped her bangs in her credit-card-size mirror in her closet-size bathroom popped into my head. Obviously it had been a mistake to tell Marie last time of Harriet's helpful economic tips. Marie never seemed to forget anything. "I think the last time I saw you, you were dating some guy who made pastry?" she prodded. "Flowers," I said. "He was a florist." "Pastry, flowers, I knew it was something girlie." She hitched up her black jeans and began to secure a towel under the neck of my orange smock. Some atmospheric humming began to waft out of nowhere. "Is that the pygmy music I've been reading about?" I asked. Marie ignored me and settled right into business. It was penitent/confessor time, which of course was 99 percent of the reason why most women enjoyed getting their hair cut. "Now, who was the one who hated Valentine's Day?" "That would be the florist," I said. "That was never going to last," she said. She stopped fussing with my hair and looked at me. "You aren't going out with him anymore, I take it?" "Uh-uh," I said. "Actually, it ended fairly recently." She met my eyes in the mirror and I hastily added, "No, it's okay. It was one of those Duty-Free Relationships, as my friend Harriet calls them." I'd had a few of these involvements since Sean but nothing that merited too many tears or self-esteem plummets. I took it as a good sign that I remained friends with most of these men, although it did occur to me that that might be because the relationships never should have been anything but friendships in the first place. "Okay, say no more. One of my clients calls them the Acapulco Relationships. Warm, relatively cheap, a little tacky, and then you gotta go home and face reality. Anyway, he didn't understand your needs," Marie said. "Also, never trust a straight man who sells flowers." She began flattening my hair against my scalp, pulling it down on either side of my head in that unflattering way that hairstylists do for no apparent reason. "I could have saved you a lot of time and heartache." "I know," I said. "Money too, probably. It's expensive to date somebody nowadays. I don't know how you single people do it. All those dinners, movies, vacations . . . God." Excerpted from Unzipped: What Happens When Friends Talk about Sex - A True Story by Courtney Weaver All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.