We’ve all walked by the corner bistro (*ahem* Bartini) with conversations of tampons and vibrators wafting down the street. Cocktails, fancy dresses, irreverent chatter, all of it smacks of Sex & The City. And after years of resistance, I caved and watched the show.
I’ve had my objections to S&TC over the years. As an RA my junior year, I lived in a corridor brimming with frosh girls–dressed to the nines regardless of the hour or day–who fawned over one of the only gay men in the hall. Although I had seen little of S&TC at the time, it was clear their first thought was they had found their own gay mascot, something I found rather degrading. Stanny, is my lip gloss too shiny?
But my verdict? The show grows. We all know Carrie couldn’t afford couture on her paycheck. Exaggerated smiles that wouldn’t have the same effects in the real world, all of these are the sugar-free icing on the cake. There are moments that seem unreal, but the thing is, while we’re off paving our careers, jet-setting the world, and denouncing the restraints of love and custom that plagued generations before us, at the end of the day, who doesn’t want the people who know you best to come home to?
Sure, it starts out all about sex and accessories. While I don’t enjoy such banter, it’s clear that the first few seasons addressed very real questions plaguing women in the late ’90s, something I haven’t had to face because I came of age in the mid-’00s.
However, with new admiration also comes new objections. As I watched each season, concepts leapt out at me. Passing thoughts on how real love is painful (read: emotional abuse), calculations for the time it takes to get over a breakup, shrinks as the therapy understudies for friendships… These were the bizarre premises and justifications other girls had shared with me throughout college, leaving me speechless. Only after these last couple of weeks did I realize they were lines lifted right out of the early seasons of S&TC.
And so, with all the fandom surrounding the show and the danger of falling into its clutches, I had to wonder, where is the reality?
In the first couple of seasons, Carrie isn’t even consistent in her weekly revelations, reflecting the confusion her character is faced with. Ultimately, the reality is even though S&TC represent much of the weirdness, desires, and strength women put up with and have, the growth of these four women ultimately depend on crafted experiences. In the real world, some of the issues and self-actualization S&TC characters work through during one episode or several might or might not take as long in the real world. Or, the events that spur these insights might not come along at all. That’s where we need to stop asking ourselves, which S&TC character am I?
Filed under: Storytelling, college, feminism, Sex and The City