As even Sarah Jessica Parker cowers to the juggernaut of gender fluidity and racial inclusivity that has rendered all pop culture offerings of the past utterly obsolete, one can’t deny that there are still many beacons of truth contained within the show that made daft white girls everywhere want to move to New York. And yes, Carrie Bradshaw (Parker) was the ultimate beacon of self-involved, woe is me white girlism that has made the archetype associated with nothing but materialism, whininess and vapidity. But she and her trio of allegedly Tyler Durden “it’s all in my mind” friends were still filled with many kernels of wisdom–gems of timeless truth, if you’d like. Below are some of the eternally applicable philosophies from each of the women (save for Charlotte, who was really only ever good for Pollyanna non sequiturs) that made Sex and the City the maligned but still beloved show it is today.
“You don’t need a man, but do you still want one?”: Carrie poses this question to perhaps the most jaded of all of her imagined posse, Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall, who does not want SJP’s phony condolences, thank you very much). This is the question that only perseveres in plaguing man-hating (a phrase I’m not afraid to use) straight women everywhere. Yes, there really isn’t a “need” for one–for, more often than not, they only end up stressing you with their eventual waning of ardor and therefore aging you at a more accelerated rate. But that want, that deeply ingrained want. Does it ever go away? Ask yourself that the next time you give yourself a better orgasm than any male you’ve allowed into your body over the past year.
“I’ve never been friends with men. Women are for friendships. Men are for fucking.”: As a long-time and staunch believer in the basic tenets of men and women’s inability to be “purely” friends (unless he is a straight man and she is a lesbian or he is a gay man and she a straight woman–but even then there are no guarantees), I will forever trust in Samantha’s declaration. Because, to be sure, there is always that lingering opportunity for sex between male and female friends whenever a window of singledom presents itself–or even when it doesn’t. For, what’s worse, is the unbreakable bond between male and female friends that inevitably makes the relationship thread between a girl and her boyfriend feel perpetually tenuous.
“Listen to me, the right guy is an illusion. Start living your lives!”: Once again, Samantha speaks her blunt truths by informing us all that every man we project our unreal film fantasies onto is only going to be an inevitable disappointment. His lack of existence is, in fact, quite possibly why some of us despise those with dicks so much. We’re taking our rage out onto someone who can’t help being totally lackluster in the face of all those Prince Charming stories.
“In New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.”: It is true, though now, one must replace “boyfriend” with “gender fluid occasionally consistent hookup.”
“Oh please! There’s always a contest with an ex. It’s called who will die miserable?”: Chances are, it’s going to be you. Especially if you were a woman scorned like Carrie. Because, in real life, your asshole Mr. Big isn’t going to come crawling back for seconds, thirds, fourths and fifths until he finally relents and marries you only after ghosting on your wedding.
“Even if it hurts, sometimes it’s better to be alone than fake it.”: Also forever accurate. Because the only thing worse than being alone in this Noah’s Ark world is forcing yourself to be with someone who is gross and/or likely intellectually inferior because all men would prefer to play their video games anyway, which certainly doesn’t enhance the average male’s already maladroit conversation skills.
“Why do four such smart women have nothing to talk about but boyfriends?”: Or lack thereof. In constant violation of the Bechdel Test, the only woman ever willing to call bullshit on the group’s conversation topics was Miranda (Cynthia Nixon, potential next governor of NY). And it seems to remain a constant that even through the lens of feminism, women must still make everything about men–which is, in fact, what the entire #MeToo movement is based upon.
“Men never think anything is their fault.”: When men hear such phrases as these, it is their natural inclination to eye roll, interpreting this form of blame as: Basically, women are batshit crazy, overemotional delusionoids and naturally think everything is a man’s fault being in possession of such an unhealthy brain. But women should look to themselves, according to men. Why are they the ones always disappointed when men are walking around with smug post-coital expressions all the time? To that point, maybe it’s because whatever god there is saw fit to create two such diametrically opposed genders. Which is probably why no one even wants to ascribe to a gender anymore.
“He’s just not that into you. So move on.”: While entire novels, films and TV shows have served as the basis for women analyzing in various scenes whether or not a man might be interested (My So-Called Life in particular comes to mind), this blunt Miranda-ism–ripped off from Carrie’s boyfriend of the moment, Jack Berger (Ron Livingston)–eradicates all false hopes and ill-advised notions of a girl wasting any of her time examining the object of her affection’s actions if he has not, in fact, directly come out and said, yes, I’m into you. And though this might only perpetuate a woman’s openness to the now illustrious stalker behavior of Say Anything… and Love Actually, it remains true nonetheless. But what a woman does with the information doesn’t have to remain the same. In past narratives, a man’s mere fancying of a woman would entail that she, too, should automatically be interested. But that simply isn’t the case anymore. Just ask The Weeknd.
“If you are single, after graduation, there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you.”: This is probably the most meaningful hymnal, of sorts, of all to the single women who obsessed over this show. Why does it continue to persist in verity that if you are “alone in the world,” you will not receive so much as a head nod as a form of recognition for your existence? Instead, you must get married, have a baby and then get vicariously celebrated through the life events of said baby in order to be commended or complimented in any way (birthdays don’t count–everyone gets that freebie). And yes, believe it or not, even the most staunchly “I don’t need anyone” of us needs some encouragement now and again.
So while the cringe-worthy quotes of Sex and the City that iterate how unevolved it was with regard to race and sexuality only seem to sound more out of touch and two-dimensional with each passing year (e.g. “Gay men understand what’s important: clothes, compliments and cocks” or “It’s midnight. He’s gay. He has to start his night.”), there are still so many undeniable trusims (at least for the last of the “straight” Mohicans). But like New York City itself, sometimes we hate that which we once loved and can’t recognize the fine line between the sentiments any longer.
Genna Rivieccio is the Editor-in-Chief of a literary quarterly called The Opiate. She has put out two books thus far, She’s Lost Control and You Into It? A Novella About Not Being Into It.