Episode Nine. And Manhattan is wondering if we can truly have it all.
The people who look appear euphoric are miserable. The smiles are false, and they’re marrying for convenience rather than love. The singles are outcasts. The divorcees appear scared. And the gays face continual isolation from their nearest and dearest.
We’re in a time when wanting more is in fashion. It’s all about Monolo and more. When settling is something we question rather than blindly accept.
But are these still the times we’re living in now?
Are We Watching Outdated Cliches?
“It’s always better to marry someone who loves you more than you love them.”
I became bothered by the cliches in the last episode (insert link), and I’m bothered once again. “Investment bankers and the women who hate them”. And “The Manhattan Legend” of the turtle with good investments and bad breath.
And then it’s the single ladies at a wedding, all dressed in black. Single women can’t be happy. They have to dress like they’re mourning their youth. They need banishment to the back of the party where they can live out their single fantasies.
Then there is the divorced man who doesn’t want to get married again. He doesn’t want children. He’s scorned, unavailable, yet completely perfect in every other way. We then add in the brilliant woman who marries to fuel her ego, rather than for love.
It’s the makings of a bad romance novel.
These concepts wouldn’t stack up in 2021. We wouldn’t accept these ideas to be modern in any way, nor would we agree with their archaic perception.
Modern television wouldn’t present these ideas. We wouldn’t want an accusation that society still thought like this. We would be far more hopeful about the idea, with the ambition of changing the world’s point of view.
Who Is Seated At The Single Table In 2021?
It’s been a long time since I’ve been at a wedding without a date. But I have been married, and I’ve sat there with the guest list and plotted out everyone’ seat. And at my wedding, there wasn’t a singles table.
The singles were sporadically placed across every table. My husband and I designed it so that people were surrounded by others they knew. Rather than lumping people together who don’t fit conveniently into a partnership.
We broke the stereotype. Not all singles want to sit together at a wedding, nor is being single a commonality that bonds people. That’s how we treated them, as people, not labels.
Yet, from a few hours spent on Reddit, I found that the ‘single table’ is very much a staple of the modern wedding. So many people confirmed the reality and misery of sitting at the ‘single table’.
Banished to the back of the room, yet the people who responded had better humour than the women of the show. It seemed to be the ‘life of the party’ singles who felt the greater sting than anyone else. The louder you are, the further back you’re banished.
The Idea Of Having It All
Can we have it all? That is the question this episode asks, for the singles, the gays, and the sceptics. Is it possible to have everything you want?
A romance for the ages is what Carrie is hunting for. Great sex with guaranteed orgasms is Charlotte’s mission, which is temporarily settled with a vibrator. The money without the marriage is Stanford’s hope when he recruits Carrie for his inheritance scheme. And for Samantha, she’s wondering if it’s possible to improve a man and to have him change. To have the ultimate relationship fixer up and still find love.
The idea of having it all isn’t old. The concept hasn’t aged in the slightest.
Though our version of what having it all means has changed, the idea of searching for it hasn't. We’re searching for balance. We’re searching for growth, in the hope of improving our situation. We’re trying to find the balance between what we want and what we have.
Is This The Modern Woman, And Women, We Should Admire?
“Could I date a man who didn’t want to get married?”
Would thirty-something Carrie think like this in 2021? If they made the episode now, I struggle to think the writers would have Carrie think like this. It goes against the female empowerment they are trying so desperately to convey.
At this moment we need to put Carrie’s dating future aside, as we know she becomes someone resistant to marriage with Aiden. We know she is about to mature, grow past these confining female cliches. But at the moment, Carrie seems like the quintessential female stereotype. On the hunt for marriage and kids, and those who want it too.
And the women’s perspective only confuses this perception.
When she discusses the issue with the three girls, the game of dating also doesn’t sit well with me. Samantha conveys her theory of duping the man into marriage desires.
“Just be cool. You don’t care. Then he’ll wonder why you don’t, which will make him realize he does, and then it’s a whole new ball game.”
And Miranda chastises her for her adolescent view. “So in your world, it’s always sixth grade.”
Charlotte quips with her approach to dating.
“I think that a relationship has to be based on honesty and communication if it has any chance of succeeding.”
And then Samantha flips her point of view, accusing Charlotte of being the adolescence dater.
“Okay. If you were 25, that would be adorable. But you’re 32 now, so that’s just stupid.”
It’s such a backward exchange that it’s impossible to keep up. Is dating a game or not? Should we play it? What about marriage? The questions keep coming and yet we aren’t any closer to a perception of females that is endearing.
And Then The Liberation
“I know where my next orgasm is coming from. Who here can say as much?”
From the confines of female disempowerment comes the conversation of sex at its rawest form. Vibrators. Sex stores. Normalising the conversation about sex, pleasure and orgasms. How joyous for a generation of women, who can openly discuss their sexual desires.
After watching this episode, it seems normal to visit a sex shop with your friends. It’s normal to discuss the problems with orgasms and not having them. It’s normalising sex and the discussion of it. Women don’t have to hide their desires, nor do they need to be bashful about what they want in the bedroom.
Though this topic isn’t as liberating as it was back in 1998, it’s more in line with today’s cinema than ever before. It’s evident from storylines like this how ahead of the times the show was. Yet, it also indicates how far we’ve come in our standards.
How Well Has This Episode Aged?
The conversation about balance and desire hasn’t changed. It remains our human prerogative to find balance in our life, juggling our wants with reality. Though the women possess differing views than that of today’s standards, it doesn’t make their struggles irrelevant. It makes them kind of unique.
Would some of the cliches need changing for 2021? Absolutely. Does it still help to create a conversation about what we want? Abso-f*ing-lutely.
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.
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