[EDITOR’s NOTE: TheGrio’s Senior Editor, Demetria Irwin, will be popping in to Dustin’s Sex and the City reflections because, well…some things just need a woman’s touch.]
My straight, Black male ass was never supposed to fall for Sex and the City.
The Sopranos wasn’t around yet, so the only two reasons I regularly tuned into HBO were for the prison shankings on Oz and to see what was up with any programming with “sex” in the title (as I’d been doing since I was 10).
But I got sucked into the worlds of Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, Charlotte and their seemingly countless loves and paramours. I’ve revisited the show numerous times since it hit the air 20 years ago and still own the DVD box set, which the existence of HBO GO dictates I’ll probably never touch again.
My latest binge – of all six seasons and both films – happened last year; it was the first time watching from the perspective of a single man who’s the same age as the women on the show. While I’ll never be able to fully relate to 30-something upper-middle-class white women living and dating in a cosmopolitan city, there’s a surprisingly amount of connective tissue to being a 30-something middle-class Black man living and dating in a cosmopolitan city. My current life offered a whole new perspective on the show.
Here are some of my most recent takeaways:
1. Carrie embodies a shiny, white trashbag
If you’ve not had the occasion to watch the hilarious Funny or Die program Zack Morris is Trash, get thee to YouTube. One could easily make a version for Carrie. She is a bubbling cauldron of bad-decision-making – we’re talking seasons of white-woman entitlement, poor financial decisions and even worse romantic ones. [DI: Agreed. Say it again for the cheap seats!] The most trash-ass-trash decision Carrie made is in season 4 when she invites Big to Aidan’s cabin in the woods because Big was lonely. All parties involved knew that she cheated on Aidan with Big, but she thought that shit was a good idea even as she was in the process of earning back his trust. And Aidan allowed it! Which leads me to…
2. Sorry…Aidan is a chump
Women fawned over Aidan because he’s ruggedly handsome and loved the shit out of Carrie. But dude has so little self-respect that he allowed that love to keep him taking the biggest, brightest Ls. As someone in his late 30s and on the other side of a marriage, I could tell that their relationship had the grim reaper hovering it from the beginning.
3. Samantha is my spirit animal
Samantha is the oldest and most sexually liberated of the four women – she’s basically a lecherous dude in designer couture getting away with things lecherous dudes can’t. Like her, I have a penchant for saying wild shit around my friends in earshot of other people. Of course, Samantha isn’t allowed to be overtly sexual in a manner that a black woman on television likely couldn’t get away with at the time, but the character was nevertheless groundbreaking.
4. Ain’t no muthaf—n way Carrie could afford her lifestyle
Sure, Carrie exhibits financial issues during the show’s run. But they were mostly related to her affinity for expensive couture, not the fact that she lived in a Manhattan apartment in an expensive zipcode by herself on the salary of a freelance newspaper columnist. She was the only one without a real job – that chick couldn’t make rent in small-town Iowa. [DI: Listen. I have years of freelance writing experience in Manhattan. This chick lives in a fantasy world. A newspaper column now, much less 20 years ago, would barely cover a monthly student loan payment.)
5. Steve is all of us, man
Steve is a good guy who exercised Zen-like patience to finally land the woman he loved (Miranda). He’s a great dad, endured testicular cancer and still manages to cheat in the first film (and confess his sins!). His boyishness never gets obnoxious when it should have. Steve is the version of Aidan who doesn’t suck.
6. A Post-it breakup seems quaint by today’s standards
Jack Berger breaking up with Carrie with a Post-It Note was certainly a shitheel move in 2003. But in the smartphone-driven swipe-and-bounce era where a n—- will ghost you for life in the middle of wedding planning, it doesn’t seem as bad. At least Berger put words on a piece of paper…
7. Certain episodes didn’t age well
The season 3 episode “Cock-a-Doodle-Do” that makes trans women of color antagonists of Samantha and employs liberal use of the T-word pejorative would’ve died in committee. Neither would “No Ifs, Ands or Butts,” which features Samantha fetishizing a black music executive with a “big black cock,” and which pits his Black sister as the enemy because she doesn’t want her brother dating a white woman. Black Twitter would go nuts. [DI: Definitely. Would have launched a thousand think pieces and a slow, tortuous drag on Twitter.]
8. Miranda has the best storylines
The season 2 story arc in which she (reluctantly) falls in love with Steve is among the show’s best. She also has the most grounded, relatable existence of all the main characters: busy as shit with a law firm gig, bloated and gassy with a baby; and dealing with her man being broke. Miranda basically has the polar opposite of Carrie’s fairy tale-ass existence.
9. I wanna buy Charlotte and Harry, but…
I get that Charlotte was perpetually unlucky in love in her search for the rich, handsome, blue-blooded stereotype (pour out a glass for Trey and his defunct peen). But as much as I like schlubby lawyer Harry Goldenblatt, I have a hard time buying the fact that Charlotte goes damn near completely against her type to find happiness. I believe shit like that only happens on television. But I’m also not a woman… [DI: Women go against type all the time to find that ever elusive thing known as everlasting love or even just a decent date.]
10. They should’ve never made a second movie
I was so excited about 2008’s Sex and the City: The Movie that I went opening night on a double date with my girlfriend at the time. But I’d heard the 2010 sequel to that film was such a cinematic abortion that I avoided it for seven years. Sure enough, everything that made the show work so well was dismissed in lieu of racial insensitivity and overall wackness. Thank god the third film was killed. [DI: Both movies were awful. They could have saved everyone time and just put on a Sex and the City fashion show.]
11. I’m glad it was Big
Mr. Big always loved Carrie, but he had to find himself before he could give himself over to marriage. I’ll bet a lot of ladies are giving me dagger eyes [DI: Correct.], but I’m convinced now more than ever that the most fully-realized husbands are older men who have been over the river and through the woods. If they’d gotten married in season 3, they wouldn’t have made it. But now, I’m sure, Carrie is getting her happily ever after. [DI: Mr. Big is trash. Full stop. He’s a controlling, manipulative douche who left her at the altar, then made her have a sad courthouse wedding he convinced her she should have.]
Dustin J. Seibert is a native Detroiter living in Chicago. Miraculously, people have paid him to be aggressively light-skinned via a computer keyboard for nearly two decades. He loves his own mama slightly more than he loves music and exercises every day only so his French fry intake doesn’t catch up to him. Find him at his own site, wafflecolored.com.