sex and the city…
Signs in ticket booths across the City announced that all matinees and evening shows for Sex and the City were sold out. But I waited in line with a friend until it paid off and the 86th St. theater ran an extra showtime. I stood for the extra 4:00 show with a mass of women and a few men, most of whom were native New Yorkers excited to welcome their girls home after a long vacation. I listened to conversations around me as friends prattled about each the women. They speculated on what each might be up to as if they had just bumped into them in line for coffee. Some laughed about “old memories” as if they had repeatedly held broken stall doors for Samantha or Miranda in a bar’s bathroom or had brunch at a UES diner every Sunday afternoon with Carrie and Charlotte. I couldn’t help but be swept up in the chatter, wondering if my Carrie would marry Big. Because after years of watching the show on DVD and later on TBS (even syndicated, it’s still good), I felt like she and I were old friends. Now while I’m not one to be completely swept up by TV characters (books however are another story), I, along with many others, am fascinated by Ms. Bradshaw.
In true SATC fashion, Carrie narrated the film, offering witty quips to the plot of her life. But missing from the movie was the one constant: a blank computer screen filling with that perfect question that impacts each of the four women on the show and all of the viewers. And of course as the familiar *bing*bing*bing and New York City images flashed across the screen, I found myself wondering in typical corny, cliché Carrie fashion:
If all of these women had followed Carrie through the six seasons of her life, though obviously at different points, did they each take away a lesson about sex and the city? Will the re-runs now teach a new generation those same lessons?
In 1998, when the show first aired, I was 13. I was not thinking about sex and I lived in rural Pennsylvania, a far stretch from the city. I was in seventh grade and the only thing I knew about relationships and love were from those my sister had already been through. Sarah was twenty-five, in the realworld and in reallove. She’d gone to the prom, been heartbroken and re-bounded. She’d found her girls, her core who shared those secrets in a language only their group truly understood. They couched together each week and sipped wine as they were introduced to sex and the city on HBO. Together, they experienced Carrie’s big successes and bigger failures, until she finally made it Big.
I grew up literally years behind my sister…so while never in her shadow, I instead got to grow up seeing her learn and reflect from her mistakes (there weren’t too many…) until she found her Big. But I still had a long way to go from 13 to 25 and now from 23 to 35.
At 13, I spent Friday nights at Warrior Stadium, where the lights from high school football games switched on at dusk. I met friends just inside the entrance and circled the track again and again, never paying much attention to the game, worrying more about who was holding hands with whom, who opted to sit on the main hill and on whose blanket they chose. We endlessly chattered about which boys names filled the margins of our 5* notebooks. For me at the time, AJ scripted over notes in my Pre-Algebra and Social Studies notebooks.
I met AJ at one of the first football games, when the weather was still warm. He was the new kid. And I liked him. It took me four laps around the track for to say “hi.” The next three were spent whispering with my friends that I thought he was cute. We walked by the bleachers and the high school band trumpeting “The Hey Song,” by the visitor stands, by the hill where all high schoolers pretended to watch, and the food shack where parents spooned cheese on nachos later. And 10 full loops later we were boyfriend/girlfriend.
Today at 23, I realize I’ve scratched through a lot of different names on my notebooks. And I guess what I’ve discovered is that even when I buy a new notebook, those faint traces from where I wrote too hard are still etched in. Their names still on the tip of my tongue; and believe it or not, I think if pressed I could probably recite each of their phone numbers by heart. So in 1998 when AJ and I broke up after two months of middle school bliss, and I thought my world was shattering around me, it wasn’t. And I had my sister to fall back on…Sarah told me the world was not destroyed (I was a tad over-dramatic then, some might say I still am…) and wouldn’t end with him (“Look at him…” she said, “would the world really end over him?”). She repeated this in varying phrases when I was being a silly college girl, and now when I’m an adult in New York City.
It’s been ten years since AJ, ten years since the first premier of SATC and while I still am not sure of the ingredients to a cosmo (Niamh knows, so it’s close enough), I can tell you a few things a bit more surely than I could at 13:
I don’t need a cosmo when I can have a good beer (thanks Rick), I don’t need designer when I can have Kohl’s, and I don’t need a guy when I have New York (but…clearly everything goes topsy-turvy if your name happens to be Mr. Big…).
That’s my lesson and if you are a fan of the show, you should know the episode…
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