I used to love to watch Sex & the City. My ex and I watched it almost every week for a couple of years. We lived in New Jersey at the time, and everything New York felt close to us. I loved Carrie's quirkiness, her inability to be pinned down to anything despite her desperation to be loved, I loved Miranda's inability to take a back seat to anyone, Charlotte's naivete about everything and everyone, Samantha's unabashed sexuality. I loved that show.
The other night I put on my Netflix copy of Sex & the City 2, thinking I'd watch it while I folded laundry. I haven't seen an episode of Sex & the City in such a long time, so I thought it would be enjoyable.
I turned it off about halfway through and stuck it back in the Netflix envelope.
Its not that the movie was bad, per se, its that...I just couldn't relate. I could not, for the life of me relate to these women.
Do people actually wander around their houses in their time off with perfectly done hair and makeup, in highly stylish clothes and six inch high heels that probably cost $400? Are there really women in New York City, or anywhere else, for that matter, who frost cupcakes for their kid's birthday party in white vintage dresses, white heels, full on makeup and pristine aprons? And who dresses their kids in white dresses with pink waistbands every single day of their lives? Even in a scene at Miranda's house, where Steve is slouched back comfortably in a white t-shirt and jeans, and Magda is baking and cleaning in her usual gray-everything, Miranda's wearing a beautiful, bright sheath. Her hair is shining, perfect. Her makeup is perfect.
In the cupcake scene, one of Charlotte's daughters puts paint-covered hands on her white skirt, and Charlotte shrieks at her. The toddler starts to have a royal screaming fit. Charlotte hides in the pantry and cries, and then is grateful when the nanny comes and rescues her from her children. I looked for any sense of humourous irony being conveyed, and if it was there, I couldn't see it. Were we really supposed to see Charlotte as some tragic figure? Feel sorry for her?
I shut the movie off, and I looked at myself in my rumpled t-shirt, jeans that are a size too big, pink flip-flops, no makeup, and I wondered how I could have ever related to that show, those women. Not once in my entire life have I lived that way. Maybe for about 5 minutes when I first moved to New Jersey and didn't have a house in the suburbs and a new baby and an extra 75 pounds wrapped around my middle, but certainly for no longer than that. Perhaps by not finishing the movie I missed some really poignant moment where all of the characters realized how fake and plastic their lives were and moved out to a farm in the country and tossed their children into a mud puddle? Not bloody likely.
Sweet Jesus in heaven, if Charlotte or Carrier or any one of those characters got a look at the piles of dog hair I'm about three days behind in vacuuming or the puddles of puppy pee on my kitchen floor, if they saw the toy box that masquerades as my living room, if they got a gander at messy, food-covered me when I'm deep in the middle of cooking or baking something, I swear they'd drop dead of horror. There's no Irish nanny to rescue me from a tantrum, no housekeeper or cook to make my life easier. My God, if they lived in my house they'd have to do EVERYTHING for themselves. Imagine that!
Years ago I would have looked at this situation and felt that I somehow was not measuring up to this glamorous standard of fashion and female beauty. Back when I wanted to be someone I wasn't, back when I didn't love my life.
Today, though, I look at the characters and their lives, and I don't envy them one little bit. I'd take my life over theirs any day of the week, grimy jeans and all. I couldn't imagine living my life in a pristine little box high up in the city, tapping my long fingernails and buying shoes that cost hundreds of dollars and handing my children off to the nanny when they misbehaved, not for one second could I imagine living like that. I never have, I never will, but the best part is that I never want to. I love my messy, noisy, chaotic and most decidedly un-hip life.