Sex and the City didn’t air on Discovery

I often remark on here that rather too many women thought Sex and the City was a documentary. I’ve now found an article that shows I wasn’t exaggerating:

When the last episode of “Sex and the City” aired in February 2004, I hosted a viewing party for 200 guests. It was my swan song as well: Eight months later, I would move to New York, where, armed with my “Sex and the City” DVDs, my transformation really began.

Based on what I knew from “SATC,” I expected the city to sweep me off my feet. I envisioned nonstop brunching and shopping.

What always surprises me about these stories is the lack of friends and family who try to talk some sense into them.

I lived on food bought for me on dates and the occasional bodega tuna sandwich. For clothes, it was wrap dresses from Diane von Furstenberg sample sales combined with loans from designers who took pity on me — like Betsey Johnson, whom I’d interviewed at Fashion Week. Different men I dated gave me YSL shoes and status purses, just like Big did for Carrie on “SATC.”

She’s relying on “dates” for food and clothes. Yay for female empowerment!

I also subscribed to Carrie’s ethos when it came to men. There was no such thing as a bad date — only a good date or a good brunch story. In my writing, I gave my boyfriends nicknames (one was “Prom King”) just like Carrie and her friends did.

I went out with a prince: Lorenzo Borghese from “The Bachelor.” I even dated the British ex-boyfriend of “Sex and the City” creator Candace Bushnell — the original Carrie. He was one of a few men who comprised the composite character Mr. Big.

A common feature among women who spent a decade sleeping around is their belief that anyone is in the slightest bit interested in their exploits. Seriously, does anyone care who she was shagging in New York a decade ago? She didn’t even manage to screw a household name.

Between 2004 and 2011, I filmed nine TV pilots — many of which were reality shows, and all of which were a derivation of some kind of “SATC” role for me. I was always the Carrie. In one pilot, I hosted for Animal Planet; the premise was that your dog would choose whom you’d go out with.

One can’t honestly say at this point that getting the dog’s input is a bad idea.

Their core complaint about me was that I was a quote-unquote “fame whore.”

I suspect many of your female contemporaries thought that description contained one word too many.

Finally, I cut my ties to New York and moved to San Francisco full-time in 2013. I tried being a tech columnist and writing a personal-growth book called “Experiments in Happiness.”

Which sits on my shelf beside Paul Gascoigne’s book “Experiments in Sobriety”.

These days I work as a change activist, mounting summits for world leaders and serving as an adviser to startups and entrepreneurs looking to better the planet.

So she’s found religion. Sadly she’s not locked herself away in a convent.

I’m finally living a life of integrity, and I’m attuned to my values. I never heard about values on “Sex and the City.”

Well, no.

I dated a woman for a while, a beautiful entrepreneur who was also jilted by New York — that’s definitely not something you saw Carrie do.

How edgy. No sign of mental disorder here at all, oh no.

But dating is not front and center in my life anymore, although it was all I talked about in my 20s. That’s pretty one-dimensional.

You think?

Last year, I ended a two-year relationship with a man who ultimately couldn’t commit and wanted to be polyamorous.

Heh! I suspect he could commit, only not with someone who spent a decade shagging random men in New York in return for food and clothes. And why wait two years? Desperation much?

Again, “SATC” and the “lessons” it taught me is the culprit.

It wasn’t supposed to be a lifestyle manual. And as Daniel Ream often points out, the book was far more realistic in its portrayal of single life in New York than the TV series was, and ought to have served as a warning.

The show wasn’t a rubric on how to find a lifelong partnership.

You don’t say!

If I was more grounded and had honestly assessed whether this man was a good partner for me, I don’t think we ever would have dated.

So it’s the fault of a TV show which concluded in her early twenties that she dated an unsuitable man in her mid-thirties? For all the talk of female empowerment, a lot of these modern women don’t seem to have quite grasped the whole personal responsibility thing, have they? Nor do they seem to understand that the choices you make in your twenties stay with you for life.

Crushed and needing to regroup, I took a sabbatical and lived in Bali for eight months on a healing journey.

Heh.

I was also celibate during my time there.

Much to the disappointment of knuckle-dragging Australian youths in beer singlets.

I do wonder what my life would have looked like if “Sex and the City” had never come across my consciousness.

I don’t know, but I’m confident if you got lost in the Arctic wilderness you’d blame Ice Road Truckers.

Perhaps I’d be married with children now?

Given your appalling judgement, immaturity, and lack of impulse control I’d say that’s highly unlikely.

Who knows, but I can say for sure that, as clever and aesthetically pleasing as the show was — and, as much as I agree with its value of female friendships — it showed too much consumerism and fear of intimacy disguised as empowerment.

Modern feminism is rather good at disguising all manner of vices and self-destructive behaviour as empowerment.

Whom you’re dating, what you’re wearing, or how good you look at that premiere — none of that s–t matters unless you genuinely love yourself. Solid relationships are what really matter.

Who knew?

Truth be told, I wish I had never heard of “SATC.” I’m sure there are worse role models but, for me, it did permanent and measurable damage to my psyche that I’m still cleaning up.

As useful a description of the effects of modern feminism as you’re likely to find.

Two months ago, I started seeing someone I never would have dated 10 years earlier.

A whole two months? How long to you think she can hide the disgust?

Back then, I wasn’t looking to get married or seek a lifelong partner, and that was a mistake. This man is a very reasonable choice, and I’m at a place in my life where reasonable is very sexy.

Two. Months.

Now, I feel like genuine me — I’m no longer a Carrie Bradshaw knockoff.

No, you’re now Samantha. Congratulations!

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32 thoughts on “Sex and the City didn’t air on Discovery

  1. One can’t honestly say at this point that getting the dog’s input is a bad idea.

    This woman sounds sufficiently canine for the formula to be a wow!

  2. Her wiki entry is quite funny.

    The second sentence reveals the important life achievement of having lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

    She also wrote a book a whole decade ago titled The Panic Years, which supposedly “offers advice on how to change one’s relationship strategy to find a marriage partner.” Yet here she is. Ten years later. Heh, as Newman would say.

  3. I think you’re being a little too harsh on her at the end of your post.

    She made bad choices ten years ago, and you are quite correct to point this out. But by now she realizes this, and is admitting her errors. We’ve seen plenty of other women in these exact circumstances who choose to blame men instead (e.g. Jessica Valenti). She’s also trying to mend her ways, and make different choices now, in what time she has left. What more could you expect of her at this point? For all we know, she had her road-to-Damascus moment lurking on this blog.

    I saw, wish her luck. Ten years of bad habits will have left their mark on her character – she seems to be aware of this – and the road will not be easy for her.

  4. Different men I dated gave me YSL shoes and status purses

    Yeah… you were a hooker love. Compensated dating ain’t dating.

    I dated a woman for a while

    As a keen student of the idiocies of the heart, you might add ‘late onset lesbianism’ to your list of topics. I have noticed as a definite phenomenon. Some women go that way when the notches on their bedpost make the whole thing collapse, others because they never liked sex anyway and viewed it transactionally. Both in this case, I suspect.

  5. Mind you, reading about pointless stupid selfish women like this is enough to make a chap embrace late onset gayness.

  6. We’ve seen plenty of other women in these exact circumstances who choose to blame men instead

    Fair point Jonathan, but she’s blaming a damned TV show, not herself.

  7. The program was a comedy not a documentary. What next an article by a doctor saying that Carry on Doctor deceived him into becoming a doctor?

  8. Fair point Jonathan, but she’s blaming a damned TV show, not herself.

    I read it as a mea culpa for allowing herself to be too influenced by it.

    She is now consciously making choices which are at odds with the values the show represents. She acknowledges that imitating the show was a mistake. She explicitly says “I want to be a different role model from the one I got”.

    She is not, say, lobbying for a national committee to prevent such shows from being aired, or suing the TV station for ever having shown it in the first place, or blaming Carrie Bradshaw personally.

    She admits she followed fools into folly, and is warning others not to make her mistake. She has confessed, and seeks redemption. Let us show her mercy.

  9. FMD! Yet more evidence that Americans’ lives are affected by what is on their TV screen.

    Has anyone known of a fictional TV show, ever, that is a representation of what you could expect in real life? Especially if it is a comedy show?

    FMD, this is dumber than moving to some rural village and expecting life to be exactly like you see in “Midsomer Murders”.

    Or worse, moving to Florida and wondering why your lifestyle isn’t like that depicted in “CSI Miami”.

    Seriously, how stupid can people be?

  10. We do form a view of the world based on what we see on TV though. Most of the time it’s close enough; and it takes real-world experience to spot the flaws in the background. For example at the age of 16, when I first watched Friends, it never occurred to me that the characters couldn’t possibly afford such a nice apartment; and the fact that Rachel had slept with everything that moved didn’t seem to diminish her sex appeal one iota.

    But, and this is an important caveat, your writer moved to NYC aged 23 or so, so she should have been far more aware of these things. Perhaps she attended one of those mollycoddled “liberal arts colleges” which Americans seem to do, and which make no sense to the rest of us.

  11. Great Frankie Boyle joke:

    “I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and thought it would be great to get a group of gay friends so they could give me fashion tips. Instead, they fucked me.”

  12. Had this pegged as a future fisking from the moment I read it.

    How many women who try for the SATC lifestyle run face-first into reality, realize their naivete and move on with life? I would guess it’s approaching 100%. What’s most impressive about the author is how long she kept the sham going. Hopefully Mr. 2-Months reads this and quenches his thirst elsewhere.

  13. “The program was a comedy not a documentary. What next an article by a doctor saying that Carry on Doctor deceived him into becoming a doctor?”

    If she’s fat she could blame Hattie Jacques?

  14. On one hand it’s pretty dumb to use your own life to literally re-enact SATC. And this woman seems like kind of a dim bulb.

    On the other hand, popular culture does affect people’s behavior whether we like it or not, and a lot of the self-defeating behaviour that Tim talks about on this site are a result of pop culture setting people’s expectations in a more subtle way than happened with this woman. Stuff like SATC is basically lifestyle propaganda, and the lifestyle they’re pushing is sure to end badly for most who end up partaking in it.

  15. I’m in line with many of the other commenters who find it to be a regrettable story.

    Its sad that so much empowerment propaganda advocates for lifestyles that are transparently worse than traditional alternatives.

  16. G.K. Chesterton said “Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason why it was put up.”

    SATC, and culture in general, told women to knock down the fences of behavior that had been erected all through human history to protect the gender that gets pregnant and needs relationships for protection and sustenance.

    They were supposed to then have more fun and be freer and more independent. They forgot that with freedom and independence comes . . . freedom and independence, which they are beginning to see as less desirable than they thought. Sexist as it may sound, women still need relationships more than men do.

    Oops.

  17. Her Wiki entry is amusing, but her website more so: she describes herself as (among other things) as “A relationship expert”!
    Aged 37, looking for a sucker to impregnate her before the eggs run out, she’s a great danger to an unwary man – beware!

  18. I see Roissy has thoroughly fisked this piece too, in his trademark style.

    As JerryC and Bobby B point out, you can’t just dismiss SATC as “not a documentary”. Our culture is nothing more than the stories we tell ourselves.

    Different cultures have different stories. Brits learn the value of ignoring your parents’ advice (Romeo & Juliet) and respect for the poor (Dickens); the French learn to distrust figures of authority (Molière, Voltaire), and so on. Even primitive tribal societies had oral folk tales about battles with neighbouring tribes.

    In light of this lady’s poor cultural influences (of which SATC was just the most recent), her poor decisions aren’t all that surprising.

  19. others because they never liked sex anyway and viewed it transactionally.

    Since Tim beat me to my usual point about how Sex and the City became Sex and the City, I’ll dive into my next favorite topic, neurochemistry.

    There’s an actual biological basis for shagging around destroying your ability to form healthy relationships – it’s not purely psychological. The skin to skin contact during sex releases oxytocin – the “cuddle hormone” – into the brain. Oxytocin is a big component of pair bonding in humans, and it is always released during intimate physical contact.

    Women who have a lot of meaningless sex end up on an emotional rollercoaster as their neurochemistry keeps telling them to bond with the blokes they keep shagging, until they eventually condition themselves not to have that response. The problem there, of course, is you can’t exactly turn it back on later without tons of reconditioning.. And given how neuroplasticity works, the earlier one begins slutting about, the more likely it is that the inability to form healthy pair bonds will be permanently damaged.

  20. @Jonathan – I disagree that she has had a road to Damascus type conversion. I see it at a blame shifting exercise to present her version of “The Truth” as she sees it.

    From her Wikipedia entry:

    Julia through the use of attorneys, has been quite effective at rewriting her history and rebranding herself by having websites removed or taken down.

    Tim better watch out and sell any pet rabbits he may own. Just saying, is all …

    This is her view of her Truth and if you disagree, then you will be hit with the lawyers. Hardly an indication of any repentance and as pointed out, it is a justification that it wasn’t her fault.

    Now the sucker that she’s been dating for two months falls into the category of “He’ll do”. If men get condemned for the desperate “1-55AM grab a boiler” in the nightclubs of Britain, I see no particular reason why women like her should not be equally condemned for the equivalent biological clock ticking “grab a beta” activity at the biological 1-55AM time slot, particularly as marriage, pregnancy and financial rape of the man for the next 20 years by the woman is far more damaging than a one night stand.

    She’s as nutty as squirrel shit.

  21. I feel More inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt, like Jonathan, than I do to condemn out of hand. Writing that she made a mistake, or two, earlier in life is actually rare. Most seem to complain that the world, and men especially, don’t want them on their terms and how unfair that is.

    There’s a thread on Mumsnet (I know, it’s a distraction for me occasionally) that has someone saying just this. Paraphrasing somewhat “I shagged bad lads when younger, now I can’t commit to a relationship with current guy as he’s not nice. Where are the nice guys.” Cue lots of hugs and comments that it’s the men’s fault. I chime in with a Tim-esque comment that perhaps the nice guys married the girls who didn’t date bad-boys and get called a misogynist. Clearly intellectual poverty strikes everywhere.

    Decisions have consequences. My kids realise this better than many so-called adults. The woman here has realised this. Better a sinner who has repented etc.

  22. Daniel Ream
    I do like a bit of science with my morning coffee so thanks for that.

    My take on the sleep around settle down problem for women is that once they have internalised the idea that their honey is worth money (or “gifts”), normal relationships feel like giving away something valuable for free which inevitably rankles. One financially motivated lady of my acquaintance described regular relationships as “fucking for food” which sums it up quite succinctly.

  23. Phil B

    For what it’s worth, that entry in wikipedia is based on a CBS News article dated Jan 18 2011. Her eight-month visit to Bali – along with any hypothetical road-to-Damascus moment – was last year. So it’s possible the lawyer-bullying also reflects behavior she’s abandoned. In any case, the habit of controlling the narrative by-any-means-necessary does seem a bit at odds with a self-reflective confession.

    Of course, there is more to a man or woman’s character than can be gleaned from one article about themselves which they choose to publish. She could be blatantly misrepresenting herself; she could be but one step on a long path; she could be bouncing back and forth between two ways of thinking.

    We cannot know – but precisely because we cannot know, an expression of contrition should not be mocked.

    Andrew M

    Very true. Someone further up-thread asked what would have become of her if she hadn’t seen SATC, and suggested that she would have made equally foolish decisions. While that’s certainly possible – she does not seem to have had a very strong character at age 23 – it’s also possible she would have been led into a solid life by a level-headed friend, or guided there by a pastor, or by a strong father-figure. “Lead us not into temptation”, and all that.

  24. @Steve at the pub

    “Has anyone known of a fictional TV show, ever, that is a representation of what you could expect in real life? Especially if it is a comedy show?”

    Peep Show is as close to the crushing awkwardness of real life as it gets.

  25. I see Roissy has thoroughly fisked this piece too, in his trademark style.

    Blimey, yes.

  26. Let us show her mercy.

    Dear Lord, that’s not the purpose of a smart-arse fisking! Good grief, no!

    😉

  27. Dear Lord, that’s not the purpose of a smart-arse fisking! Good grief, no!

    Oh dear. I seem to have been the victim of an unfortunate misunderstanding 😀

  28. I tried to watch Sex And The City once but there was a woman on the screen whose face resembled a horse’s, so I stopped.

    If I had carried on, maybe I would have been wined, dined and er, ridden in NYC one day. Phew, that was a narrow escape.

  29. @Steve at the Pub
    “Has anyone known of a fictional TV show, ever, that is a representation of what you could expect in real life? Especially if it is a comedy show?”
    Yes minister. Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army was based on a real character allegedly i.e the writers said it but I think they embellished a bit.

  30. @Steve at the Pub

    Basil Fawlty was regarded as being a reconstruction of a real hotel manager the Python team once encountered.

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