Advice

Did “Sex and the City” Ruin Your Life, Too?

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Quite an interesting op-ed in the NY Post today from Julia Allison and Julia Price, two women who moved to New York in search of a “Sex and the City” life style and left somewhat disillusioned, and completely single.

Julia and Julia learned that the glamorous, rich lifestyle portrayed on Sex and the City is not as easy to obtain as the show might have it seem. And it’s really hard to get a rich, yet  normal boyfriend.

“Less talked about is the way the city eats at your soul. At 22, the world is your oyster. At 25, the 40-year-old investment banker is looking over your shoulder at the next 22-year-old.”

To which Kate Spencer at The Frisky wrote in response:

“At no point in my life has the world being my oyster ever involved a man, much less a 40-year-old investment banker.”

Exactly.

Still, Julia and Julia weren’t completely wrong in supposing that Sex and the City might give young, impressionable girls the wrong ideas about things. Like all my female friends, I watched the show in high school, turning the volume way down so my parents wouldn’t hear Samantha Jones’ wails of ecstasy and insist I change the channel to TLC or something.

Even as a teenager, I understood that the lifestyle the women lead — the clothes, apartments, dinners and parties — were opulent. I knew that when I went to NYU, I wouldn’t even be taking cabs, let alone eating in the kinds of restaurants the four (much older) women on Sex and the City seemed to exclusively dine in.

But what did work its way into my psyche, even at the age of 17, was a sort of underlying panic about dating. I saw Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte as my inevitable future: not that someday I would be as rich and successful as they were, but that at some point down the line I would be single and this would be an all-consuming problem. That I would spend hours with my friends, not discussing art or politics or work, but rather, lamenting my relationships. That by the age of 35, dating would become the single focus of my life. That I would someday be reduced to tears at brunch from sheer dating-exhaustion.

It disgusted my youthful, strong-willed, 17 year-old self.  And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

Because, having grown up on Sex and the City, and moved to New York at the age of 18, I’ve become so obsessed with not being Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda, and especially Carrie, that I’ve had a ticking clock in my head for the past 8 years. “How much time do I get here before I turn into them?” If I find a guy by the time I’m 32, do I narrowly avoid their fate? If I’m single and miserable about it at 36, should I leave New York? I’d like to think I could be a Kate Bolick, but where’s her TV show?

I like Sex and the City, I think it’s a funny show, and I liked the fantastical New York that was showcased throughout its six seasons. But sometimes I wish I had never seen so much male-related anxiety at such a, let’s face it, impressionable young age.

[Don’t Let Sex and the City Ruin Your Life]

[A Response to Julia Allison’s Op-Ed About Moving to New York]

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