“She didn’t actually work for a living, yet possessed a dazzling sexual power… that she exploited to her full advantage. Which presented a certain conundrum. Where’s the line between professional girlfriend and just plain professional?“
Episode five. Women and their power. Women using their sexual prowess to exploit the hip pockets of men around them.
For an infant television show at the time, SATC wasn’t afraid to delve into controversial content. It was episodes like these that established every facet of sex was on the table. If it happened in Manhatten, it happened on the show.
Charlotte’s private parts are on show for the world to analyse. Beautifully painted, of course, as she wouldn’t have it any other way. Samantha is arguing with the power of another woman. And Carrie becomes mistaken for a hooker.
There is something unbelievable about the storyline of this episode.
Yet, it’s unbelievably perfect.
Are We All Kind Of A Somebody?
The power struggle in Manhattan brings me much delight. It’s the power of the reservation book, the one who seats and greets. In Melbourne, it’s kind of the same. Restaurants are hot, bookings are hotter, and food is king.
And it’s appropriate that Samantha becomes fixated on what’s hot. She’s the PR queen after all.
So it’s little surprise when she argues with the hostess. Samantha demands that she and Carrie get a table at Balzac. The hot new restaurant has as many people waiting for a table as people dining. But they shouldn’t be waiting, as they are both ‘somebody’. As people with city notoriety, waiting is the ultimate insult of their social status.
Reliving this moment, it was like I watching the denounced influencers of today. Demanding luxuries because of their micro fame. It would seem this movement of demanding quasi celebrities isn’t new. It’s inbred into society for as long as fame existed.
Why are we so surprised by it now? Why do we keep make commentary of long-standing ‘tradition’?
Do People Like Amalita Still Exist?
Euro-trash. Travellers of the world. Travellers of the bedroom. A citizen of the world. Dressed head to toe in designer threads, she keeps reminders of her dalliances on her body. Diamonds and labels
Amalita isn’t quite a woman of the night, for that would be below her. She is fun, as Carrie describes her. But never anything more.
Who is the Amalita of 2021? Would a Louis Vuitton face mask cover her perfect smile? Or would she find all her connections fade into oblivion as the men find themselves forced into lockdown with their wives and children?
It’s hard to know, not being someone who understands Amalita’s life. It’s been over a year since I’ve laid a finger to couture, let alone step onto a private jet.
Someone like Amalita may not have transcended social media either. Her lifestyle may unravel under the scrutiny of social media commentary and trolling. Someone like her may choose to flash her assumed wealth or conceal it from prying eyes. It would be an interesting dilemma for Amalita, one I would enjoy seeing playing out on the show.
Do Women Still Use Their Power?
“So you advocate a double standard. Women can use their sexuality to get ahead whenever possible, but men should not be allowed to take advantage of it?”
If they held this conversation today, the conversation would inevitably lead to ‘Me Too’. How this type of behaviour becomes the blame for unwanted advances. But’s what Samantha says that becomes quintessential Sex and The City. She draws the argument back to women empowerment.
“I’m just saying that men and women are equal opportunity exploiters.”
What Samantha wisely highlights is the equalling of men and women. The way women use their femininity in the same way men use their masculinity. We’re both at fault for using our genetics to get what we want. We both do it. We both shouldn’t face criticism, we should embrace our reality.
Samantha represents the ultimate in levelling the power between men and women.
“Where’s the line between professional girlfriend and just plain professional?” — Carrie
And So We Keep Asking
I enjoy this conundrum because everyone considers it completely differently. The women who ‘work’ like this would see it as fun, not work. But others, perhaps those who are disapproving or a little more conservative, may find Amalita a ‘professional’.
It’s hard; can you claim these experiences on your tax return? Are you treated like a lady of the night?
My doctor once said if you have all the symptoms of a broken leg, you have a broken leg. Amalita enjoyed the symptoms of a professional prostitute, so does the diagnosis fit?
But does it matter? What this episode does is allow Amalita to be herself, whatever she wants to be. At the same time, it allows Carrie to discover who she is too. The two types of women can survive harmoniously without judgement.
How Well Has This Episode Aged?
There’s something about this episode that makes me laugh in 2021. Not only do the micro-celebrities come into the fray, but the idea of them lining up in a crowded restaurant is now non-existent. Let alone being able to attend a restaurant.
It isn’t the woman behind the desk with power. It’s the pandemic controlling us. It’s hard to have a power struggle in restaurants when you can’t attend one.
Amalita’s lifestyle is very much fantasised by a generation of men and women now. The idea of living a glamorous life without lifting a finger. It’s the influencer lifestyle we see on Instagram. Yet, we all want what Amalita has, without the obligation to be a good time girl. We want it all without lifting a finger.
Can we have it all?
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.