Lock up your wives and daughters, Sarah Jessica Parker is coming to town!
In case you haven’t picked up a magazine or turned on a television in the past few weeks, the long-awaited Sex and the City movie is due to be released this Friday. Touted as “the women’s alternative to Indy,” (because clearly women never watch movies like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), it’s gotten more than its fair share of puff pieces in print, televised and web media. The once-edgy, now kind of lame Entertainment Weekly dedicated a mind-blowing 63 pages to it in a recent issue, recycling much of the same material used when the show went off the air four years ago, followed in the next issue by a review of the film that was so gushing and fluffy one wonders if it was printed on strawberry-scented paper and dusted with glitter.
Sex and the City…is 2 hours and 22 minutes of love, tears, fashion, depression, lavish vacation, good sex, bad sex, and supreme tenderness. It’s as long as five series episodes, a big sweet tasty layer cake stuffed with zingers and soul and dirty-down verve…
Just reading those couple of sentences makes me feel like I’m about to break out in hives, but what can I say, I never got into Sex and the City. For me it was similar to Seinfeld and Friends, a wildly popular show with an appeal utterly lost on me, even after a few attempts at watching it. Yet like its predecessors I was constantly reminded of how “important” the show was culturally. My failure to embrace its “importance” made me continue to wonder if perhaps I exist in some sort of secret society, and if I shouldn’t try to create a special language and handshake for the other four or five people who exist in it with me. Bonk bonk on the head.
Nevertheless, with those who come to praise Carrie Bradshaw, there are also those who would bury her. This article reports on the growing trend of young women, under the influence of Sex and the City, embracing the perceived glamor of a promiscuous lifestyle. Given the chiding, alarmist tone of the article, you might think it was written for Focus on the Family, but no, it’s affiliated with ABC News. The article focuses mostly on “Lisa” (not her real name), who at the tender young age of 14 was so taken with the program and its sophisticated, sexually confident characters that she set about fully emulating them, but only, as is carefully pointed out, their negative behavior, namely drinking heavily and sleeping around.
She soon graduated to ordering cosmopolitans at bars she snuck into and cheating on her boyfriend with up to seven other guys — in one week. “When you’re that age you try to emulate people on TV. Carrie smoked, so I smoked, Samantha looked at hooking up with random people as not a big deal, so that’s what I did too,” said Lisa, now 22.
The article then ratchets up its simultaneously titillating and judgmental “what a naughty, dirty girl” tone by implying that everything “Lisa” (not her real name) learned about sex came from Sex and the City, and she wasn’t afraid to use that knowledge.
Lisa remembers re-enacting one particular Samantha scene in her own life…in which the bachelorette-for-life scrunches her face up at her latest suitor and tells him she doesn’t like the way he tastes. “That was something that happened to me. I used her exact words: ‘You have funky spunk,'” she said. “I knew from watching the show that it had to do with something he was eating,” so she took a cue from the script and took an ax to a certain item in his diet.
I don’t know what’s more amusing, the word “spunk” being used in what’s meant to be a legitimate news story, or the idea that the reader is supposed to be shocked that “Lisa” (not her real name) would take what is actually a valid sex tip from a TV show and incorporate it into her own life. Sex and the City is in no way a reflection of most women’s real lives, but it is common knowledge that men, wonderful snowflakes that they are, do tend to have their own unique, ahem, flavor. I can only assume that the supposed negative behavior is “Lisa” (not her real name) being so self-centered and sexually aggressive that she would insist on her partner doing something to make his effluvia more palatable for her. Thankfully, “Lisa” (not her real name) was saved from a life obsessed with Cosmos and cocksucking when she married a Mormon, who was so concerned with the possibility that she would eventually return to her old ways that he forced her to sell her DVD collection of her favorite program. Luckily, she’s feeling much better now.
Then come the requisite psychiatry experts who basically say, using only slightly different terminology, that women are mindless lumps of clay who accept everything they see on TV and in the movies at face value, and that programs like Sex and the City are irresponsible for not spelling out the possible consequences of serial dating and promiscuity in easy to read type with no big words.
“You watch ‘Sex and the City,’ you see these women go out for dinner, come back, and wake up in satin sheets with a gorgeous guy. Who wouldn’t like that? But it doesn’t show what goes on under the surface in real sexual relations. Sex is an extraordinarily complex, emotional process. No one wants to talk about that. They’re not going to see the reality.”
HEAR THAT, GIRLS? SEX CAN BE COMPLICATED SOMETIMES. Thank god we have psychiatrists and ABC News to point this out, up till just before I read this article I thought it was all about mutual orgasms and my partner bringing me breakfast in bed the next morning.
I look at people like “Lisa” (not her real name) with the same amount of sympathy, or lack thereof, as all those kids who supposedly committed suicide in the 80s after listening to too many Ozzy Osbourne albums. If you are that void of any free will or personality that you need to rely entirely on a television show to guide you in your social and sexual development, no amount of religion or controlling husbands are going to save you, your brain is made of oatmeal and you’d be better off confined to a padded room where you can’t hurt yourself. The same goes for the other raving twit interviewed for the article, Angela, who claims that she and her friends constantly compare their respective boyfriends and partners to Carrie and the girls’ partners on the show. Folks, if you are measuring yourself up, let alone real life people, against fictitious characters on a TV show, that’s a clear sign that some fresh air and perhaps a good book, not written by Candace Bushnell or Lauren Weisberger preferably, are required STAT. Take two copies of To Kill a Mockingbird and call me in the morning. Bringing me breakfast in bed is optional.
One wonders what exactly is supposed to be taken away from this article. Is Sex and the City to blame for this supposed new era of materialistic, shallow young sluts, or are women so innately gullible and impressionable that whatever behavior is promoted by the media as trendy will soon be emulated? If that’s the case, why hasn’t there been a rash of women running to embrace the trappings of suburban married life after watching Desperate Housewives? Or trying to join the Mafia, after watching The Sopranos? Or attempting to get stuck on a mysterious deserted island, after watching Lost? After all, these programs have also been shoved down the throats of Americans as “culturally important” events that are changing the face of society. One thing is certain: the author manages to play both sides of the table by making the behavior profiled in her article sound both repugnant and tantalizing. This is a pretty remarkable feat, like going to a strip club and complaining about those nasty girls who just insisted on giving you a lap dance.