I'm 24, I Just Watched Sex & The City For The First Time & I Have Thoughts

Illustrated by Isabella DiMarzio.
Sex and the City aired on HBO for six seasons from 1998 to 2004. During that timeframe, I was only between the ages of 6 — 12. SATC was something that I was aware of as a pop culture-obsessed kid, but was not allowed to watch, naturally. My parents loved it and watched it every Sunday night. Every weekend when we’d go see my grandma, she’d inevitably say, “Did ya watch Sex this week?!”

I could only wonder what the Sex was all about.

Now, I am 24 years old. I live in New York City with my best girlfriends, I write for a living, and I am single. I just watched all of Sex and the City for the very first time, and I’ve attempted to collect my thoughts as succinctly as possible to share the SATC experience with my current dating generation.

Spoilers ahead.

Let’s begin our journey, starting all the way back in 1998 New York City. Lose your cell phones, and grab your cab fare (seriously, no character in the entire series ever takes the subway. It is insane.)

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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
Print Journalism Is Dead

Every writer I know lives in a four-room dilapidated basement in Bed-Stuy that they are THANKFUL for. Also, they don’t have health insurance.

Repeat this to yourself every night and every morning, too, if the message just isn’t getting through: WRITERS MAKE NO MONEY. WRITERS MAKE NO MONEY. WRITERS MAKE NO MONEY.

These days, a bus-side ad would go to a YouTube star. Perhaps our modern Carrie Bradshaw is a YouTube star. (And Charlotte York Goldenblatt is a Pinterest queen).
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
The Bechdel Test

I presume that it was not the showrunner’s intention for SATC to regularly pass the Bechdel test, given the show’s title. Consider that intention fulfilled! There are only a total of 22 exchanges in the entire six seasons that pass the Bechdel test — the content of which include discussions between the four women about breast-feeding, bridesmaids’ dresses, Weight Watchers, Carrie’s diaphragm (This really threw me. WHAT?! A diaphragm?? Wasn’t this the 90’s?! Not the 50’s??), and how none of them are good drivers.
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Photo: CHARLES SYKES/REX/Shutterstock.

Everything is so direct in Sex and the City. People physically go to each other’s apartments to ask them on a second date or support them during a hard time or share some news. Gal pals meet up in a park to vent about a guy. In modern New York, it is impossible to make plans that four people you know can attend at all — much less on a daily basis.

For my age group in New York in 2016, we are lucky if we physically see our closest friends all in the same place about six times a year. Until then, every single exchange is via text or social media. News is shared on newsfeeds, not on phone calls. We don’t hang out the day after a bad date and tell each other how it went over a meal or a walk in Central Park. Nope. It’s a text with an ‘angry face’ or ‘eye roll’ Emoji.

And if you were to ever actually call someone after a date, they would call you a “stage 5 clinger.” I dare not even fathom the act of showing up at someone’s apartment...
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
First Dates

In nearly every single episode of Sex and the City, either Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, or Samantha get asked out (in person!) by a man they’ve just met. Every time, he asks her ‘to dinner on Friday’ or to a big fancy party happening that weekend.

This. Does. Not. Happen. In. 2016.

I knew I was in for a ride when, in the pilot episode of the series, Charlotte is on a first date and is wearing a FLOOR-LENGTH GOWN. Can you imagine, fellow ladies who traverse the obstacle course of Tinder and Bumble in modern New York?

A ‘first date’ in your 20’s in NYC in 2016 is a hardscrabble competition of who cares less. Any time put into looking anything close to stellar for the occasion will cue the guy to let you know just how casual of a thing he’s looking for right now. It’s always just a coffee somewhere mutually convenient at 3pm and the guy makes sure to let you know ahead of time that he ‘squeezed this in’ because he ‘has a ton of errands’ to run. He might text you a few weekends later at 2 a.m. with a dick pic.

I do fully ally with the concept of the women often dating older men. I am 24 and my current biggest crush obsession is 41. I have finally been able to recognize that my age group is a huge part of the problem. These days, 24-year-old men still have mommy
do their laundry for them and pay for their improv classes.
I need a real man.

Romance is dead. Most men are cowards. I may not like many of the men on the show, but at least they were man enough to ask a woman out on a real date.
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Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
Real Love

I was struck to the floor by the relationship between Steve Brady, the bartender, and Miranda Hobbes.

I think that Steve is the most irresistible, heart-stopping man in the entire series. He loves puppies, he reads, he is constantly working on inner self-improvement, he’s not afraid to cry, and he’s incredibly romantic with Miranda. Their chemistry is perfect.

And you fucking bet I bawled alone in front of my laptop when their little family is doing snow angels near the end of season six.
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Photo: Charles Sykes/REX/Shutterstock.
Non-Judgmental Discussion of Women’s Issues

The show really came into a stride (for my taste, at least) in season four. When the show works, it really works, and the season four episode entitled “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” (originally aired August 5, 2001) is the apex for me. Miranda plans on getting an abortion, sparking casual admittances from Samantha and Carrie about their respective previous abortions, and thus sparking Charlotte to fully emotionally express her sadness about her infertility. These are issues that are still avoided and stigmatized in entertainment in 2016.

Multiple parts of this episode made me cry, including Carrie’s stalwart support of Miranda in the waiting room, and Miranda walking the entire way home a few feet behind an emotionally charged Charlotte who has just yelled at her, just in case Charlotte needs her.
The show tackles breast-feeding, STDs, menopause, and breast cancer in honest, brutal, realistic ways. Again, this all happens in later seasons, when the show really got into a sweet spot for me.
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Photo: Hbo/Darren Star Productions/REX/Shutterstock.
Miscellaneous Highlights

Cameos! From Kyle MacLachlan in the hilarious role of Trey MacDougal, to an adorable appearance by a baby-faced Michael Showalter, to Julia Sweeney knocking it out of the park as a nun who befriends Samantha, to Blair Underwood as a hot doctor boyfriend of Miranda’s, I loved the guest appearances that SATC was able to lock down.

The Girls: Miranda is by far my favorite character. Samantha is the most brave and inspiring. I feel strongly that Kristin Davis’s performance as Charlotte is the funniest part of the show. Her timing and delivery is a masterclass in comedic acting, and I was upset to learn that she had the least award nominations of any of the main actresses for the run of the show. I find her hilarious, nuanced performance to be a glowing, consistent highlight. Samantha is the only character who could handle the dating app generation. Charlotte would throw her phone across the room at 90% of messages from the guys on OkCupid, Carrie wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional vagueness of it, and Miranda doesn’t have time for that bullshit.

Also, can we just take a moment to cherish the sexiest moment of the entire series? Steve and his puppy, Scout.
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Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO/Darren Star Productions/REX/Shutterstock.
Final Thoughts. “Later that day, I got to thinking…”

The show has a very real race and LGBTQA problem. The four women laughingly talk about how bisexuality isn’t real or valid (“When did this happen?! When did the sexes get all confused?!”, “It’s not hot! It’s greedy! He’s double-dipping!”), call transgendered women “trannies”, and only date two men of color over all 94 episodes of the entire series. Which New York City are they living in?

The glue that held this viewing experience together for me is the friendship between the women, and the love between Miranda and Steve. I was deeply moved multiple times in the final seasons by their complex, three-dimensional, human connections with one another.
Though my generation has the privilege of being encouraged to be a bit more liberated and independent than our '90s "have it all" ladies who I’ve just spent six seasons with, I must recognize that Sex and the City was vitally important for a lot of women.

On Sunday night, every week, for 6 years, there was a space that was just for them. I cannot deny the power of that. Their territory. Theirs to claim, look forward to, and to take ownership of.


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