“Are Men In Their Twenties The New Designer Drug?”

How relevant is Sex and The City? S1, Ep.4: “Valley of the Twenty-Something Guys”

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“As I walked away, I had a thought: Maybe all men are a drug. Sometimes they bring you down… and sometimes, like now, they get you so high.”

— Carrie

It’s age.

Pure and simple numbers. Twenties. Thirties. Forties. And the stereotypes of the men and women in these age brackets. Our heroines have firm beliefs about the ages of the men in their life. Every one of them is dating younger and older. And none of them has it quite figured it out.

Do these beliefs remain true in 2021? And would this episode conceptually pass our rigid political correctness?

Belief #1: Men In Their Forties Confuse The Four

“Men in their 40s are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated… and you’re never really sure you’ve got the right answer.”

— Carrie

You need a second opinion from your girlfriends to figure them out. You don’t know if you’re dating, flirting or what you mean to them. They are impossible.

With the people I speak to about this topic, single men in their forties are still an enigma. Females are wondering why they aren’t married. It can be only two reasons. They the eternal bachelor, or they’re divorced. For some reason, other reasoning doesn’t factor.

There’s one man I know who fits this stereotype, James. He’s a stockbroker, with ladies lined up to sleep with him. He’s deep into his forties, and it’s impossible to keep up with his romantic life.

Within our group of friends, James has become the running joke. He’s the premonition, the warning to single females. ‘Don’t date a man like him’, we say. And for the men, ‘don’t turn into James’.

Belief #2: Twenty-something Men Are Good For Cheap Thrills

“Twenty-something guys always know the really important “B” people. Busboys, bouncers. Plus, they have cute butts.”

— Carrie

Twenties somethings don’t fare well in this episode. They’re good for one thing; the good sex.

Having once dated twenty-somethings, whilst in my twenties, I never quite saw them with such anti-rose coloured glasses. Perhaps it was because our lives aligned, or there was always toilet paper.

Yet, I was always attracted to the men years older than me. When I was twenty, I enjoyed men closer to thirty. I’ve never dated someone younger than me, longer than a night.

Belief #3: No One Understands What Twenty-something Men See In Women In Their Thirties

“Okay, we were attracted to younger men for various reasons. But I couldn’t help but wonder: What do they see in us?”

— Carrie

And this becomes a theme throughout all Sex and The City. Versus. Married versus single. Men versus women. Young versus old. Good looking versus ugly. It’s a battlefield, always, between two sides of the dating world.

As I sip my glass of wine, analysing this, having watched the episode for the third time in a row, I wonder if the battles with ever end. We’re always going to have battles with something in dating. Even the battle between how we see ourselves versus how others do will rage on.

Though we pretend that we’re all in it together, dating can be all for one. When we have to wrestle with every part of the process, we end up protecting ourselves.

The women protect themselves in this episode. Charlotte defends her lack of wanting anal sex. Samantha quits dating younger men. And Carrie admits she hasn’t quite got it figured out in the age department.

How Well Has This Episode Aged?

What would happen if we switched the gender roles in this episode?

I’m not sure we could get away with the episode if this was from the male perspective. What would happen if it were four men analysing twenty-something and forty-something women. Would it come across so light-hearted, or whimsical? Or would the women revolt at abhorrent stereotypes we’ve fought so hard to reject?

I think the latter.

I’m having a Carrie Bradshaw moment. I’m sitting at my desk, in heels and a sweatshirt, contemplating the latest encounter I had with one of my friends. I turn to my computer, scribble down my musings on relationship and life.

As the thoughts run through my head, I contemplate what Carrie would think. How would she have perceived life? How relevant is ‘Sex and The City’ in 2021?

I’m Ellen McRae, writer by trade and passionate storyteller by nature. I write about figuring about love and relationships through fictional-reality.

Relationships. Drama. Gossip. Innuendo. Bad Dates. Failures. Learning about life/business/love the hard way. // instagram.com/ellenjellymcrae/

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