The "Sex and the City" Experience

I started rewatching “Sex and the City” thinking this would be good background noise in my single-girl apartment, allowing me to seriously multitask without missing a beat. As it turns out, I found myself sucked right in again because now, I’m coming at it from a different perspective. I’m still multitasking, mind you, but I’m a master at it and can manage to effectively watch my shows and movies.

But, back to “Sex and the City,” the very first episode came out in 1998. That, however, is not when I saw it because I didn’t have HBO. It wasn’t until I moved to Florida in 2003 that I got to experience the show, and “experience” is a good word for it as I don’t recall ever seeing anything like it. I was in my 40s when I first watched it and it has been 26 years since the show first came out. Watching it now in my 60s and single is very different than being in my 40s and married, so my perspective is certainly not the same. But what I find interesting is that so much holds true no matter what age you are when it comes to being single and dating and whether you’re looking for a serious relationship or you just want to have some fun, or if married people see single people as a threat, or more specifically, if married women see single women as a threat, and I can tell you firsthand that many do. But the quandaries and questions are the same no matter what age decade you’re in when you’re dating. He’s too young, he’s too old, he’s not financially stable, he’s not trustworthy, does he like me, do I like him, am I pretty enough, can I imagine having sex with this person forever, is he condescending, does he like pets, are his feelings for me as strong as mine for him . . . it doesn’t change. At least it hasn’t for me.

When I was younger, I didn’t frequent many bars or clubs because I hated the whole scene. It was bad for my already low self-esteem since I felt as if we were at a butcher shop and the guys were shopping for their choice cut of meat. A humiliating experience, in my opinion. As a man, you can turn that around and say women were doing the same thing, and you wouldn’t be wrong because if you were a skirt steak instead of a filet mignon, you might not have been chosen for dinner that night.

From a writer’s perspective, the show is genius and Candace Bushnell was courageous and groundbreaking in her honest depiction of women and their sexual needs and desires, as well as showing us that it was not the wish of all women to get married and have babies. But the struggle of these decisions is examined throughout the series and, just as in real life, confusing at times as you think you know the characters (or yourself), but they’re not sure they know themselves.

Truthfully, I didn’t enjoy the ensuing movies after the series ended anywhere near as much as the show itself which was based upon Candace’s own experiences and those of her friends which she wrote about in her newspaper column in the “New York Observer” entitled “Sex and the City.” But the series was awesome as it allowed many women to break free of their demure, often fake behavior and enjoy their lives just like, or at least similar to, many men. There is nothing wrong with women enjoying sex and not every encounter has to lead to a relationship unless, of course, that’s your personal goal.

I really was born at the right time for the person I am. I got to experience free love during the hippy era, women’s lib (yay, no bras!), women becoming prevalent in the workforce, a sexual revolution, and more. I never would have survived as the perfect female in a repressed society. Instead, I survive as an imperfect female in an imperfect society.

I’m looking forward to seeing comments on this one from men as well as women.