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So, How’s It Really: I Wore A Bird On My Head Like Carrie Bradshaw

Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack.
Remember in early quar-quar when that 5000 character personality test came out and everyone was shook at their results? I spent most of early quarantine reckoning with the fact that, according to that test, I am a Carrie Bradshaw, albeit a very reluctant one.
As a Black, single, fashionable, self-absorbed, gorgeous, thin, obnoxiously vain writer in New York City, you can see why I ran from this label like the plague. I made it even worse when I shared my results with a casting agent for a reality show whose eyes lit up at that label — so as you can see, I had a lot to overcome. And I think I have, but I’ve also accepted that when I tell people I’m a writer in New York, people tend to say, “Oh, like Carrie Bradshaw,” as if New York has never given the world any other writers, ever. Joan Didion and Nora Ephron, who?
I never really had a connection to Sex and the City growing up, mostly because my mother, to quote her, couldn’t “stand those white women.” My friends, however, were ride-or-die for the series despite us all being far too young to be watching it, but this was the time when people bought full series of shows on DVD, so it was always around. Controversially, I saw the first movie in the cinema before ever watching a single episode of the show and still understood what was going on, and that led me directly to finally sitting through the series for the first time. But every complaint I had about the show has already been reported and covered extensively for years and years — how is a show in New York City so white, why is Carrie such a bad friend, the eroticization-cum-bastardization of Samantha, how some segments of the show have aged incredibly poorly— it goes on and on and on. But there was always one thing that stuck out to me: The Bird.
In the first Sex and the City movie, Carrie is left at the altar by Big because he was melting down and instead of, I don’t know, taking a deep breath or something, decided to humiliate his fiancée and skip their big wedding at the New York Public Library. Carrie, justifiably and understandably so, beats him with her bouquet because this man literally humiliated her, yet again. (One way I know I am not Carrie Bradshaw is that if a man did this to me for the nth time, I would sue him for an “inconvenience fee” of no less than $1 million, like Mariah Carey. I would not reward this man by marrying him in an ivory pantsuit at a courthouse!) Later on, the gang accompanies Carrie on her honeymoon, and when she finally opens up about her abandonment, she exasperatedly says “I wore a bird on my head,” to which Miranda asks the perfect question: “Is that what that was?”

"The Bird is a subconscious representation of the inconvenience fees women and female-presenting people pay daily that go unappreciated — the tweezing and the plucking and the perfectly applied eyeliner and manicured fingers and toes. Big could never understand that, because he has never had to."

And they all dissolve into the type of giggles you have when you’re just tired of feeling feelings. It’s so absurd, and so ridiculous, but it’s also such an indicator of the efforts and labor women go through that often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Nearly a year ago, my former editor Arianna Davis rewatched the movie and posted about The Bird on Instagram Stories, and I lost my mind in her DMs: 
Like I said, The Bird represents a bigger, deeper idea, something that Sex and the City should have delved deeper into, but this show, as well as the movies and …And Just Like That, the reboot, have always struggled with anything beyond surface level. Carrie was wearing a heavy-ass wedding dress, a full face of makeup, sky-high heels, and a FUCKING bird on her head, and Mr. Big literally just needed to put on a tuxedo and stand there. She was given a spread in Vogue over their wedding, and he could only focus on himself and his needs. The Bird is a subconscious representation of the inconvenience fees women and female-presenting people pay daily that go unappreciated — the tweezing and the plucking and the perfectly applied eyeliner and manicured fingers and toes. Big could never understand that, because he has never had to. All he needed to do was take one moment for self-examination and deep introspection about the consequences of his actions, and he, as per usual, took the coward’s way out.
So yeah, The Bird pissed me off then, now, and since allegedly audiences should be subjected to The Bird 2, Electric Boogaloo if Instagram spoilers are any indication in this week’s ...AJLT season finale, I decided I will take on Carrie’s emotional labor for myself and wear a bird on my head. I bopped on over to Etsy, googled “bird headband,” and was astonished that the aviary fascinator industry isn’t wildly abundant with options. I did find one store that fit my brief, and her work is truly stunning. When my bird, henceforth known as Feather Locklear (f/k/a Carrie Birdshaw, f/k/a Feather Gay) arrived, I felt like I had been bestowed a child. As in this item was so delicate and gentle, I truly felt like I was going to break it if I mishandled it. But I popped her on my head and went to run my errands.
My beloved roommate, Alex, opened the door to see me and Feather and promptly burst out laughing. The woman doing my laundry drop-off asked to see my headband, to notice the handiwork. When I called my mother to introduce her to the newest member of her family, she actually said, “Child, a BIRD?” Argan Oil Queen Josie Maran, however, liked Feather, so there’s that. Let’s just say that Feather invoked very passionate feelings in people. I fully planned to take Feather out and about and have her explore the city like Babe, and then the entirety of New York City came down with Covid. I’m not saying Feather is the cause of the Omicron variant, but, like, I’m not not saying that, you know?
Photo: The Author
Just a girl and her bird, taking on the city.
When I returned to Feather after the holiday season, I decided to give her another chance, because how bad could it be? January lasted for about 8,000 years. It's the coldest it’s been in New York in a very long time. I got some horrific news via a public platform, and I nearly lit my apartment on fire because one of my candles shattered spontaneously. But I did allow her to be seen and witnessed. Again, Feather didn’t do these things directly, but it’s either a curse, bad luck, or a foreign agent operating against my best goals. Literally: On my last wear, the ribbon keeping Feather attached to her headband began to unravel and the metal dug into the space behind my ears. I thought that was too much of an obvious metaphor, honestly. If I wrote that in one of my playwriting courses, my professor would say, “Show, Amanda. Don’t tell.” 
So, how is wearing a bird on my head, really? I would give it 4 out of 10 peacock feathers: Every time this bird hit my head, it seemed like a curse was bestowed upon my surrounding environment. However, I did not get left at the altar, and I was not gifted a hideous Louis Vuitton bag like Jennifer Hudson. (Come on, the acting there, pretending like that bag isn’t the ugliest thing she’d ever seen? That's what she should have won the Oscar for.)
But by comparison, the bird on my head wasn’t that bad. After a while, I forgot about her until I got a perplexed look or a double take from a stranger on the street, but it could have been so much worse. It's not like Feather Locklear was a Venus Flytrap named after my crush with a taste for human flesh and blood. We’re saving that for the next edition of So, How’s It Really. 

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