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Why Sex and the City Would Never Work in Real Life

With the Sex and the City prequel in the making, I find myself revisiting that pink box-set that was a birthday gift from a true friend. The one that contains every single SATC episode. And of course I know them all by heart. Those of you who grew up with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda know where I’m coming from. If there was a fire in your house and all living beings were okay, you’d save your box set, wouldn’t you? Yeah. Me too.

One of the great things about TV is that, well, it’s not real life. Otherwise, some days it may not be called Sex and the City but Depressed, Lonely and Crying Down My Ben and Jerry’s in the City. Even a die-hard SATC girl like me has to come to terms with the fact that no, I’m not Carrie. If you’re reading this: you’re not Carrie. Yes, I know you love writing, Manolos, cigarettes (you should really stop, you know) and you’ve got your very own Mr. Big, but nevertheless, you’re not Carrie. And maybe that’s a good thing. Here’s why, while we love them on the big and small screen, the fabulous foursome could never be a NYC reality.

The Carrie lifestyle? Dream on!

I remember when a magazine did a one-page “Carrie math” article on how much it would cost to be Carrie Bradshaw in real life. They came to the conclusion that there was no way on Earth that any writer anywhere could afford Carrie’s super-extravagant, Cosmo-sipping, Jimmy Choo-wearing, party-hopping lifestyle. Even less so in New York: having spent only four days of my life in the Big Apple, I’m no expert, but penniless writers I know in The City laugh at the idea of a writer being able to pay Upper East Side rent (that “rent-controlled” thing appears to be as elusive as the Loch Ness monster), go out every single night for “research” and buy new shoes every time a guy doesn’t call – with one single column as her only source of income. Even when Carrie’s broke, she’s got “buddies” magically popping out of the woodwork to take her out to dinners, fabulous parties and yet another shoe-shopping trip (remember Amalita from season one?). In real life, writers rejoice when they earn enough to eat anything other than canned beans from the 99 cent store and save up to buy shoes at Zara. Trust me, I’ve been there. As for living accommodations, well, let’s just say that there’s more chance you’ll run into a dinosaur in NYC or any other major city than a self-employed, self-supporting writer (once again, one column) with a walk-in closet. Real writers don’t spend their nights “wondering if we’re liberated women or just sluts”; they spend them sleeplessly wondering how the heck they’re going to pay the rent and bills for their crappy studio apartment. Once again, trust me, I’ve been there.

I wonder where all my BFFs went

Of course, the real reason why Sex and the City has managed to conquer every girl’s heart isn’t the shoes or the cocktails (although they sure did seem nice). It’s the friendship. The idea of having three super-close girlfriends and the token eccentric gay best friend to spend your Saturdays with (uhm, and most Mondays, it seems. Did any of them ever go to work?) is ever-appealing to chatty ladies like ourselves. The only hitch is that in real life, when BFFs grow up and marry their BFs, they may have less and less time for Sunday brunches and impromptu shopping trips. Yes, this was addressed when Miranda had Brady. However, it was addressed at…brunch. I don’t know about you, but since my married friends had babies, I only hear from them on my birthday. Or, more likely, the day after, when the guilt-ridden message appears on my Facebook wall: “I’m so sorry, I forgot! Little Petey’s teething and we’ve just got our hands full!” No Cosmopolitans there. Sure, it’s a show about female friendships and without the girls’ funny and sometimes raunchy dialogue, we would never laugh at the famous Carrie quotes or use one of Samantha’s snappy one-liners when a clueless guy tries to chat us up at a bar. However, I can’t help but feel sorry for all the girls out there feeling bad about the lack of a tight-knit group of girlfriends who come running with vodka and cookies in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon to discuss whether their latest date has mother issues. Those of you that are lucky enough to have that kind of never-faltering friendship in your lives, can I be your BFF?

Weird is the new socialite, fashion-wise.

I’m all for outrageous, out-there styles (heck, I work in fashion! If I’m not going to back creativity, who will?) but seeing a woman wearing a flower bigger than her head around her neck sitting down at a table full of NYC socialites makes me laugh out loud, because no one says anything. Or even looks at her funny. Carrie’s outfits are that “pink elephant in the room” that Miranda refers to in season five. I get it that New Yorkers are extravagant with their fashions, but trust me, a girl wearing peacock feathers in her hair, pajamas with pearls and a fur coat, or a ballerina skirt would have to endure staring and pointing in any city, town or countryside. Don’t get me wrong, I love Carrie’s style. She’s one of my all-time fashion icons (except for the furs, and what about when she wore a pearl necklace to bed in the first movie? What was up with that?). It’s just that I have a hard time believing that you can show up wearing a ridiculous tiny little hat or a pink tutu and green leggings to an uptight Manhattan dinner party without anyone commenting. Especially when the rest of the party dresses like Big’s immaculate, minimalist, Ralph Lauren-esque ex-wife Natasha. And don’t get me started on the bare-midriff thing. Not in a million years. That’s unforgiveable even if you’ve got Sarah Jessica’s abs.

And now for the big one…

Mr Big is kind of a jerk (and Aiden was probably The One)

Have you read He’s Just Not That Into You? If not, run to the nearest bookstore and get your hands on this must-read (yes, the book, not the movie!) that will open your eyes and make you realize that there are no excuses for a guy treating you like a doormat. What’s really weird about this is that He’s Just Not That Into You was penned by SATC staffers Greg and Liz, the very same writers that told us for six seasons that if you only put up with his flakiness, his commitment-phobia and his generally crappy behavior, then he’ll magically morph into the man who pops down on one knee with a blue Manolo in one hand and asks you to marry him. The whole Big and Carrie story is so unrealistic it could have been about unicorns. In the real world, Carrie would just get hurt over and over again. Then she’d meet Aiden, marry him and look back on her days with Big as a “what-on- Earth-was-I-thinking” phase. Which brings us to the never ending debate: was Aiden The One who got away? My answer is yes. In the second movie (which I liked, so sue me) when Carrie runs into Aiden in Abu Dhabi, I was so hoping they’d get back together. Aiden brought out the best in Carrie, while Big brought out the worst: smoking, cheating and blowing off her friends (friends that, as we’ve established in paragraph 2, she was extremely lucky to have). Once again, this is television and none of it is real. Still, I find it somewhat misleading to make women believe that the flaky guy who acts like he’s “not that into you” virtually all of the time is miraculously going to change because deep down you’re “soulmates”. Even more so in a show about strong, independent women.

So when the prequel hits the movie theatres, by all means check it out and laugh at how the new actresses are nowhere near as fab as the original ones. Just remember, after the credits roll. to go back to your very real and very fabulous life as non-Carrie.

Read more from Sascha Mejeritcher here.

Featured image via.

  • Sujana Regmi

    I loved the fantasy world of sex and the city!! Its good to come out of your regular life to be in those (but of course just for time being then back to reality.) I have to 100% agree with everything you wrote especially about Mr. Big since I happened to go through one recently. Mr Big who was unavailable for most of the significant events in Carries’ life, who kept Carries as his last option for years!! And when any argument happened, it was all Carries’ mistakes how Carrie pushed him away not realizing what action of his might have caused Carrie to react that way. Carrie had to feel guilty for the mistakes she didn’t commit and smilingly take blame for it as well. ughghg….It is so annoying!! and so stupid that Aiden was left broken hearted and Mr. Big got the girl! I would toss Mr. Big away anytime to have such Aiden in my life!!

    • Larah McKay

      Damm right! It was always alluded to in the series that Carrie wanted to someday have kids then in the first movie it’s played up like she didn’t want an anyway, ‘just us’. It’s because Big wasted all her best years being indecisive that’s what!! SATC is exactly the same as real life in that way, I see that happening with a few of my girlfriends. Aiden didn’t hang about, next time she saw him he had a bambino hanging off him= REAL GROWN UP MAN!

  • Manda Alley

    I’m so glad someone else views Carrie & Big’s relationship the way I do. That kind of behavior isn’t how a real man should treat a woman. Period.

  • Katerina Pat

    I totally agree with you. And the fur. Oh, disgusting!!! And I think that Aidan was so nice, I mean I wonder what some people are thinking when it comes to love. I didn’t see number 2 yet but I will very soon :)

  • Amanda Maisonnave

    Everything in this article is right, but it’s no big news. If you read any interview from the actors and show staff they’d say that the show is made to make girls dream and that everything in it is overexaggerated. Any girl who’d be unable to make the distinction between the show and reality is either still in Junior High or incredibly naive.
    Now if there’s something this show taught me right from the first time I watched it – when I was about 12 – it’s that by the time I hit 30, not being married and not having a kid is not going to make me any less of a woman no matter what people say, and this is something girls can realistically hope for.

  • Danielle Berger

    I’m going to stick up for Big here. Yeah, he wasn’t perfect, but neither was Carrie! Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Carrie and SATC – but so often she would run off and over analyse everything, blowing everything way out of proportion. It’s easier to simply blame Big as being an unavailable jerk rather than admit that Carrie is often a hysterical, well, GIRL about things!

    We rarely hear his side of the story and often when we do it makes perfect sense (remember when Carrie completely freaked out that he was embarrassed of her and ‘hiding’ at the Chinese restaurant, when really he just liked their food??) And actually he didn’t leave her at the altar in the movie – he was right there, and he wanted to know she was too and it wasn’t just all about the big fanfare of the wedding (actually quite mature if you ask me, and something that would have easily been overcome had Carrie answered her phone).

    As for Big ‘wasting her best years’ – not all women want babies, and in fact Carrie rarely even thought about it until the end of Season 6 (when Aleksandr told her he couldn’t have any) and even then she still wasn’t sure about it. I don’t think a ‘real’ man = family man, and I hate that attitude that the ‘good guy’ is good enough. Besides, I very much doubt Big was deliberately leading her on *just* until she hit her forties, and if she REALLY wanted children she would have found someone and had them (case in point: Charlotte, with both Trey and Harry).

    Also: Big didn’t ‘bring out the worst’ in Carrie. He simply let her be herself. He never encouraged her to smoke (like Aleksandr did), nor did he try to change her (like Aiden did). When he moved to Paris for work, he didn’t want her to just follow along like a little lost puppy, he wanted her to do it for herself. She blew off her friends (big time!) with Aleksandr as well, and again – that’s not something Big made her do, its something she did herself.

    I think it would be unrealistic and frankly quite boring for the stereotypical sunshine and lollipops fairytale outcome to happen, ie. she finds and marries the ‘good guy’ Aiden and runs off to have babies and live happily ever after. She wasn’t happy with him. She didn’t feel sure about him deep down. It wasn’t that ‘big’ love which is the whole underlying point of the whole freaking show! Big love might be difficult, but it gives you those overwhelming butterflies she never seemed to get from Aiden or anyone else.

    Financially though I’m with you – TOTALLY unrealistic (but incredibly fabulous!)

    • Maria Lopez

      You know, I always hated Big but now that I read this, I totally see your point! It’s so true. Aiden will always have my heart but now I have a soft spot for Big too! lol

    • Starla Trotter

      YES to all of this. I have always felt this way. I am a big fan of BIG.

  • Brit Sammy

    Why break what isn’t broken?

  • Bart Laube

    I am glad you called this series out … it’s all fantasy,

    no one can sleep with someone else and have no emotional connection, they call that person a sociopath. NO one gets accidentally pregnant on these shows. NO std’s EVER. No one cries themselves to sleep in the middle of the night.. No one goes crazy when they get dumped and starts cutting themselves. Carrie would be a seen as a nut job and fired for having brunch on a monday and replaced with another kid fresh out of school, so the system could grind the new girl to powder.

    fantasy has it’s place, just as long as you don’t make decisions based on fantasy….

    Have a nice day

    • Maria Lopez

      Actually Miranda gets accidentally pregnant AND she gets an STD. It’s curable but STDs were addressed in the show. I remember Samantha having an STD scare at one point too.
      Also no one SHOULD cut themselves or harm themselves in any way after a break up. That’s not normal and it’s alarming that you’re throwing that in there.

  • Libby Uglesich

    I am really wondering what prequel is coming out because from what I can see there is no such prequel. I am just seeing things about the TV show the Carrie Diaries which is going into it’s 2nd season this fall. So can you give me a link to the article that says there’s a prequel movie coming. Thank you!

    • Sascha Alexandra

      No, you’re right, I was talking about The Carrie Diaries – except at the time I wrote this, we didn’t even know it was going to be called that. I wrote and submitted this AGES ago, when there was still only “talk” about a prequel (I remember someone mentioning talk of Blake Lively as Carrie), whereas now The Carrie Diaries has been around for a while (and I must say I quite like it).

      • Libby Uglesich

        Ok I got all excited… I thought you might be talking about The Carrie Diaries but it didn’t sound like it :)

  • Betsy Hendry

    what prequel are you even talking about?

  • Nicole Brant

    Great article!

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