Things I Learned From Sex & The City
by Selam Aster
It’s amazing how I never grow tired of Sex and The City reruns. Each time I watch an episode from the iconic HBO show about four thirty-somethings figuring out their romantic lives in the Big Apple, I either learn something new or a lesson will further resonate with me. In the early years of the show, the narratives spoke to the universal struggles of love and dating but once SATC hit the big screen, all truths went out the window in favor of movie fluff. Oh well, that’s why we have the show. Nothing can replace the clever and smart writing of the series and the way it integrated the Manhattan city landscape into so many of the scenes. Aside from heightening my appreciation for HBO, SATC also taught me a lot about dating, relationships, ageing and the universal struggles of city women everywhere. Here are just a few:
You can look hot and fabulous post 30
Sex and The City showed the world that the romantic lives of thirty-somethings are much more interesting than that of the 20-somethings, who have less at stake in the dating world. But, at the same time, Sex and The City illustrated just how fabulous women can look past 30. Mini skirts and hot designer dresses and Manolo Blahniks were all part of the “wow factor” attire. Personally, I think SATC sent a clear message to Hollywood execs and led to the proliferation of reality shows and television shows that portrayed the lives of fabulous thirty and forty somethings. Bravos’ Housewives franchise, Girlfriends, Basketball Wives, Desperate Housewives…yup, they all were inspired by SATC.
You Can’t Make Someone Love You
Ok, so this may not apply to the last season of SATC, but the first ones did depict something very real as manifested in the relationship between Big and Carrie. No matter how much Carrie loved Big, nothing could make him see her as anything but the girl of the moment. He cared for Carrie but not enough to marry her. We know what happened after he broke things off because “he couldn’t commit”: he went to Paris, came back and married a much younger woman by the name of Natasha. We think that if we just treat someone right and nurture the relationship, we can get back what we put in but as Bonnie Raitt sang “I can’t make you love me, if you don’t/ I can’t make your heart feel something it won’t.”
A Good Guy Is Not Always Enough
As much as we were rooting for Aiden, the nice guy just didn’t make the cut. He loved Carrie, he was devoted to Carrie, but Carrie was never satisfied with him. Her heart was with Big. The author of “Marry Him” would be appalled by Carrie’s decision to let a good guy go but we have to admit, Carrie wasn’t reckless with it – she just couldn’t force herself to feign love. But if SATC followed a more realistic storyline, do you think Carrie would’ve one day regretted her decision to not make it work?
He’s just not that into you
Who can forget this infamous lesson spewed by Jack Berger, the writer Carrie dated after the big Aiden break-up and before the big Big hookup. Berger’s advice not only set Miranda free in her wondering about a guy who had yet to call but also freed the minds of millions of viewers who have laboriously dissected the actions of a prospective boo. The phrase has sparked an awakening amongst dating-aged women worldwide and I think for that, we have to be grateful to SATC.
Getting pregnant is difficult
Ok, so maybe this is not something new but it was eye-opening for me to see Charlotte struggle to get pregnant. And what I’ve learned as I get older is that getting pregnant and staying pregnant is not easy as one would think. Today, I hear of so many stories from relatives and a few friends about the difficulty to conceive and realize just how much of a gift it is to have a healthy baby.
Friends are a true source of happiness
As much as SATC focused on the trials and tribulations of dating and relationships, it also highlighted the glories of friendship. We women may always be on the mission to find “the one” but we know just how important it is to our health and happiness to have strong bonds with other women. The fun of dating involves the fun of commiserating and sharing, and no one showed that better than the gals of SATC. Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte and Carrie did it big on the town and were always there for each other whether it was at a cocktail party or during a divorce.
Bonus Observation: White women in New York City automatically date wealthy guys
As a Black women, I don’t have the exact same experience as the girls of SATC but what me and a friend noted is that all the ladies exclusively date wealthy men. Okay, so aside from Miranda’s boo Steve, isn’t it interesting that being a white woman in Manhattan affords you the luxury of meeting many many wealthy men? I wish the same could be said about dating in Brooklyn.