“Was Miranda right? Were we enemies?
Is there a secret cold war between marrieds and singles?” — Carrie
Episode three and Sex and The City is maturing rapidly. They’re drilling the stereotypes of singletons and married people. And the perilous encounters singles face with the married couples.
There is a war in Manhattan, and it’s the ‘content’ couples versus the ‘unpredictable’ singles. It’s a game of survival, a game I’m unsure if we’re still playing.
“Hampton houseguests are always required to sing for their supper. Brokers give investment advice. Architects, design advice. Single people give married friends tidbits from their sexual escapades.”
Are Singles Entertaining The Couples?
In the opening scene, Carrie describes the role of Hampton Houseguests. For their free rent, they sing for their supper. That’s how it works in New York, something this Melbournian can’t dispute.
Yet, the New York commentary is what contextualises these women’s point of view. It’s what makes the city the elusive beacon to the rest of the world. It’s what puts the ‘City’ in Sex and The City.
This idea of singing houseguests doesn’t automatically translate outside of New York. But what does translate is the idea of entertaining married people. Do single people still give tidbits from their married escapades? Is this their role in married relationships?
As a married woman, I don’t rely on my single friends to amuse me, or my husband. I don’t pry into their single behaviours, hoping to recapture my youthful single days through their sordid stories. In reality, I don’t ask for stories at all. I’m more concerned about maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships, that aren’t based on gossip.
But if they happen to have a juicy story or two, I will listen. But I’m not approaching every encounter with the hope of entertainment. Married life is entertaining enough. And I don’t expect anything from my single friends.
“How big was it?”
Should You Ask About Their Unmentionables?
The peppermill moment, where the girls find out how big Peter is downstairs. Do you remember when the waiter offers them fresh pepper from the oversized grinder, and Carrie raises her eyebrows? What a moment for the female ‘look’. Every woman knows those eyes. The confirmation look, that in the case cemented Peter’s admirable appendage. I enjoyed this exchange. No words needed.
Are we still asking?
To the single people, with the loose tongues about their escapades, yes we still ask. But there is always context we need to respect.
The singletons revealing this information are willing to share. We have a relationship with them where we can ask. And a relationship where they are willing to answer.
But we’ve discovered where the line is. We don’t ask people in relationships how big their partner is. Or how soft their woman’s curves are. When the relationship turns serious, we stop asking.
“She said I couldn’t understand it. I’m single.” — Carrie
Single Versus Married
The wife of Peter, Patience, put a divide between herself and Carrie. It became her married situation versus the singles. And the assumption that women like Carrie couldn’t imagine what it’s like to face married problems.
Despite the show’s age, this divide between the marriage have and have not’s continues to exist.
Couples are still doing ‘couple things’ together. The singles are still sticking together. As we age, those who have children, mortgages and a legal spouse in their bed feel misunderstood. They think if you don’t know what it’s like to be in the position, you can’t pass judgment.
Well, according to the people I know, anyway.
And the singles are wondering what’s so hard about married life. What could be so challenging, and why do we view marriage as an exclusive club?
The problem is that you don’t know it’s a club until you enter it. Until you feel the shift in your approach to the others around you. Until you’re making decisions as a unit, rather than two people sharing a room.
I didn’t know this until I was married. Yet, I don’t see it as I’m winning and the singles are losing.
“They become married, we become the enemy” — Miranda
Single Versus Married, Part Two
Married women become threatened by single women, an idea confirmed by this episode. If you’re still single, you’re not to be trusted, according to these four courageous women. In 2021, I’m not sure the married woman is still looking over her shoulder.
Well, the confident ones aren’t.
Married people, who love each other, and who haven’t settled for the first person who asks, don’t feel threatened by single people.
As a married woman, there’s no threat to my marriage outside of the two of us. My husband and I can inflict more damage to our relationship than any attractive single person can. We could fight, cause doubt, belittle each other if we wanted to. And this behaviour could wreak more damage than any random singleton.
Other people, singles specifically, don’t exist in our relationship. They aren’t a factor in our marriage. I’ve never looked over my shoulder wondering when they will be. But that’s a happy marriage for you.
“The ones who don’t fear you pity you.”
Do Married People Pity Singles?
The two modes of married people; they either fear you or look at you with pitiful eyes. It’s this assumption that what married people have is so desirable, that those who don’t have it should want it. It’s like owning a Chanel bag. You’re either a have or have not.
Despite the ideas shows such as Sex and The City perpetuate about married life, married people don’t care. There isn’t the time, energy or want to focus on what single people are doing. Or to feel this pity for them. We’re too busy having our life and hoping you’re doing the same.
It’s been said a million times but marriage is hard work. It takes effort to build and sustain a relationship. To have the energy to fixate on other people’s non-existent relationship is time we don’t have.
How Well Has This Episode Aged?
A 2021 version of this episode might address the issue of technology and threat. Married people might feel more threatened by dating apps or online anonymity. It might be less about single versus married. It might be an opportunity versus want.
The concept remains an interesting concept, one that may not ever leave dating.
But someday marriage may no longer exist, and we may find ourselves wondering what the squabble was all about.
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.
“Were Women Really Giving Up On Love And Throttling Up On Power?”
How relevant is Sex and The City? S1, Ep.1: “Sex and the City”