Sex and the real girl

It’s not quite as exciting as the titillating title, sorry. But I’m exploring the concept of what a “normal” girl is, and I’m not sure that I’m one. Either that or certain portrayals don’t speak for all women.

I’m talking about the show Sex and the City, which by now is super old. I’ll admit that I’ve tried to watch it before and didn’t like it, but I never watched it all the way through. Now I have.

So first off, if I’m like any character, it would be Miranda. DUH. I’m not nearly as career-oriented as she is, but I also wouldn’t be as man-crazy as the other characters. Frankly, I still can’t tell how she was friends with all the others, because I’d think they would have driven her nuts and they would’ve thought she was boring.

She always seemed like she had better things to do than obsess about men, and that’s totally me. I was never the kind of little girl who dreamed about my wedding or even had big crushes on celebrities. Sure, I thought the bassist for Duran Duran was “cute” but I never put up posters of him or pretended he was my boyfriend. I definitely wasn’t boy crazy. The fact that I didn’t do any of those things often makes me feel like less of a normal woman. I don’t enjoy “chick flicks” or romance novels either.

So back to the show. Aside from not having the kind of money or social climbing aspirations of Charlotte, she seemed a little less slutty and a little more like she believed in true love. She seemed to have more composure and decorum than Samantha or Carrie.

Samantha and Carrie are both train wrecks and it’s hard to watch them. Samantha just seems like a caricature. Her sex scenes are so fake and over the top. Despite her supposedly being the libertine one, her life seems quite UNsexy. Her character seemed very campy but I don’t know if that was intended for laughs.

Carrie is incredibly immature and seems like she gets away with being irresponsible because she expects someone to bail her out–which someone eventually always does. I think Aidan was too good for her and it was really unfair how she kept casting him aside for Big. I’m really surprised they continued going back and forth, each still pining for her so that she could pick back up with them at different times.

But all of this brings me back to my biggest problem with the show (aside from its stereotypical treatment of gay men and that Samantha was very transphobic.) My biggest problem with the show is that I don’t see how women could maintain that level of intensity in friendships with other women. I’ve never had a squad of friends that I saw that regularly, which may be because I’m married or just because I’m an introvert.

Maybe it’s just because I wasn’t single into my 30s like the characters, but I’ve never had friendships that were that intense. Maybe if you were single that long, you’d need a support network of female friends who could fulfill the role a spouse normally would.

None of that is to gloat about being married or anything. It’s just that having friendships that intense and all-consuming seems totally incompatible with being married. I would never dream of expecting a friend to drop absolutely everything to come see me when I was sad. If I screwed up my neck and fell down, for example (as Miranda did in one episode), I wouldn’t call a friend to come over and help, I would call my husband instead.

Did the show give women unrealistic expectations of the role of friendships? Or did I rob myself of having a squad of extremely close friends by getting married so young? All I know is that I would not be able to have such all-consuming friendships and still have time for my husband and kids.

I don’t know anyone who has a group of friends who spends that much time together in their 30s and 40s–but is the reason I don’t know them because I’ve been so wrapped up with my husband and kids for so long? Maybe those kinds of really involved friendships do exist and I’m just not enough of a normal woman to have them.

As for the sex thing, maybe that’s also different because I’ve been married for so long. But if I were single, I can’t imagine that I would have so many one-night stands and short-term hookups. I don’t think I’d ever be so driven by the need to get laid that I’d go out in search of some random partner.

Does that mean I have a lower sex drive than the average woman? Or are my standards just impossibly high? Note that I’m not judging them per se, just comparing them to myself, and wondering about the discrepancy. Was the show in any way realistic (which I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been single in so long) or was it intended to be exaggerated and silly?

Overall, now that I’ve watched the entire series, I think I’m qualified to make a judgment about it. Carrie’s standard of living was so ridiculously high I can’t imagine anyone ever being able to provide it. She just seemed to think she should have whatever she wanted without working for it or waiting. She also seemed to demand nearly constant attention and didn’t seem like she could handle being alone.

Samantha might have been a product of an earlier time. I can’t imagine that anyone could be that slutty for that long and still keep getting a steady supply of new partners today. She wasn’t as sexy as she seemed to think she was. She seemed to completely lack class and tact.

Charlotte was a social climber and WASPy and I just don’t understand that world, one way or the other.

Miranda seemed like she was too serious and successful for the rest of them. Maybe she was an introvert who just got adopted by them…I could relate to that.

Mostly it just seemed like the show depicted a very crass and tacky version of being female. And it seemed to promote the idea that friends should be there for you 24/7, taking priority over even the needs of your boyfriend or spouse.

If that’s what normal womanhood is all about (and I’m not sure I’ll ever know if it is) I definitely don’t fit in. But I’m pretty sure I don’t want to anyway.

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