15 Times SATC Set Us Up For Disappointment

Sometimes, I think we’d be better off without the ability to re-watch old television favorites. Sex and the City is one of those iconic shows that probably shaped your cultural palette during your formative years. Yet, you may find that revisiting the show on the 10-year anniversary of its finale reveals it to be something of a hollow shell.

But, we couldn’t leave well enough alone, could we? We couldn’t let SATC just be the revolutionary series that it was — part of the lineup that helped build HBO into the robust network it is now. No, no. We had to put it under the microscope to expose it for the imperfect fantasy that it is. Because Carrie is selfish, Samantha is a male fantasy, Charlotte would never be friends with any of these women, and okay, Miranda is pretty awesome. But, when we were 16, no one wanted to be the Miranda — which was clearly a mistake, because Miranda has the most fun.

In addition to the ladies' character flaws, SATC’s fifth main character — the City — represented a wildly distorted view of Manhattan. The show romanticizes New York City to such biblical proportions that the expectations it inspired in us were shattered when we finally found ourselves living in the Big Apple. Ahead, 15 examples of how SATC built up city life, and the harsh realities we uncovered beneath the fantasies.

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Expectation: That sales staff in New York would not only know your name, they'd treat you like a BFF.
This is the case in Season 6, Episode 5, when Carrie goes to Prada with Berger, and everyone in the store acts as though they are her best friends for life. She even sets Charlotte up on a date with the male sales assistant, in whose romantic history she also seems deeply invested.

Reality: No one cares about you in retail. Especially in New York, when there are hoards of people shopping at any given time.
You’re completely anonymous, even though you’re at the Soho Zara every payday, spending to the last dime. And, the only time folks in boutiques engage in conversation with you is if you shell out there on the regular. Regardless, sales staff are mostly too busy and strung out from being overworked and underpaid to care about your boyfriend drama, let alone remember you the next time you come into the store.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That you can walk around New York City all day in sky-high stilettos and be sweat-free and sassy.
You can even run in them without breaking an ankle! Carrie does it all the time. And, there’s nary an episode in which the four friends aren’t strolling around the city, doing completely innocuous things, like going to the movies, or the doctor, or to a farmers market, or to get an ice cream, wearing the tallest, most expensive heels on earth — and looking completely coordinated and just-stepped-out-of-the-salon put together while doing so.

Reality: You absolutely cannot do this. Your feet, heels, dignity, EVERYTHING will be destroyed if you even try.
If you don’t believe me, give it a shot: I dare you. Get up, put on the highest heels you have , and don’t take them off until you’ve had brunch with your friends, gone for a lengthy walk around the city, done some shopping, picked up the laundry, walked your boyfriend’s dog, run a bit to catch said dog or a cab, gone out to a cocktails-and-dinner date, and topped it all off with another romantic stroll around the city. If your feet and calves aren’t at least a bit sore, it means they’re so sore you can’t even feel them anymore. And your $800 shoes? Ruined, scuffed on the pavement, soles worn, covered in someone's accidental coffee-spill, stepped in dog pee, snagged in a subway grate. No, you: You are sneaker lady.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That a writer only needs to write one newspaper column to be able to live in a lovely apartment alone in New York City, dine out for three meals a day in Manhattan, catch cabs everywhere, and buy clothes and shoes on a weekly basis.
In the beginning, Carrie manages this lifestyle by writing just one column a week for the newspaper. Later she gets a book deal and some work for Vogue, too — all of which allows her to be wistfully decadent.

Reality: A writer (even a good one!) needs to write hundreds of articles just to scrape by.
One newspaper column (now, more likely a blog entry) might nab you $150 a piece when you’re starting out if you’re lucky. Even considering that Carrie is a minor “celebrity” and probably made more like $300 a column (this is never addressed, so I’m being generous), that’s still not even enough to pay rent, given a monthly income of $1,200. Later, when her book comes along, she would have been making enough money to live comfortably. Note the use of the word comfortably, not luxuriously. One book does not a lifetime of Prada shoes make. Likewise, writing one Vogue article a month probably helped her live comfortably, but even a magazine column won’t keep you in fresh Manolos every week. You need to be writing those articles every single day if you want to pay your bills and eat, let alone buy a dress from the sale section of Nasty Gal.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That if you tell an old lady in the park you like her dog, she will give it to you.
This literally happens in Season 6, Episode 16, when Charlotte meets an elderly woman with a purebred, show-quality dog in the park. The woman later tracks Charlotte down and sends her the dog in a giant basket with a big pink bow wrapped around it as a gift.

Reality: I’ve cooed at over 100 dogs (estimation) in New York and still no one has given me a dog.
People don’t just give away their dogs, no matter how much you like the furry monsters. You can keep trying, though.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That you can have sex with your ex-boyfriend at your current boyfriend’s party, and your current boyfriend will totally understand and still be there for you.
In fact, he will be patiently waiting for you to finish having sex with your ex, and will carry your raggedy-ass home at the end. In Season 6, Episode 13, Samantha sleeps with Richard while Smith waits for her, then accepts her with open arms.

Reality: You’re getting dumped.
So hard.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That you can write candidly about your friends' sex lives without consulting them first, and they’ll love it.
Carrie writes her column based on her sex life and those of her friends, who happen to be a high-powered partner in a law firm, a high-powered, art-world and society princess, and a high-powered, company-owning PR executive. And, everyone just clinks their glasses and throws their heads back laughing, because isn’t New York glorious?!

Reality: People aren’t so keen to have their dirty laundry aired.
At the beginning of my career, I quoted a friend — note, quoted, not explained how she was dating someone with a micro-penis — on what I thought was a fairly innocent exchange, and changed her name to make her anonymous. She still called me out on it. Now, I ask my friends if I’m even going to make the slightest mention of them in an article, even if it’s just to say “I was hanging out with my friend.” In reality, I’d never dream of giving a running commentary of my friends’ private lives for a column, because I’d mostly likely wind up friendless with nothing to write about.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That when you’re down-and-out broke, your friends will be there to bail you out, big time.
In Season 4, Episode 16, a divorced Charlotte gives Carrie the wedding ring she received from Trey, so Carrie can buy her own apartment — because she spent 40k on shoes, poor dear.

Reality: Your friends are mostly broke too, and the majority of them don’t have giant diamond rings they’re willing to give you.
And if they did have such rings, they’d most likely be pawning them off to pay their own gas bills this winter. Even if you’re lucky enough to have super-rich friends, you might be fortunate enough to get a couple hundred dollars on loan or a pity brunch on them — but, no one is funding your apartment purchase. You’re on your own, kid.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: You can eat an entire giant cookie and not throw up.
In Season 6, Episode 12, Robert, Miranda's hot neighbor and doctor boyfriend, gives Miranda a huge cookie that says “I Love You.” Miranda panics and scarfs the whole thing.

Reality: I’ve eaten a lot of cookies. I’ve never eaten as much cookie in one sitting as Miranda does, but that’s only because I stopped when I felt terribly nauseous and sick.
I can tell you the sickness threshold of cookie-eating is far less than how much Miranda consumes. Meaning that in reality, she would have been face-first in the toilet bowl, throwing up half-digested giant-cookie faster than you can say, “A handsome doctor loves you.”
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That you can “marry yourself,” and in doing so, register for expensive shoes, whereupon your friends will humor you and buy you said shoes.
In Season 6, Episode 9, a pair of Carrie’s ridiculously priced Manolo’s go missing from her friend Kyra’s party. And, Kyra (played by Tatum O’Neal) refuses to pay for a new pair. So Carrie decides to marry herself and invite her miserly, shoe-hating friend to purchase them from a registry.

Reality: Your friends' refusal to pay hundreds of dollars to replace your shoes is totally reasonable.
Tough titties: Sometimes shit happens, shoes go missing. Kyra offers to pay some money, which is courteous and the grown-up thing to do. But, in reality, everyone would just shrug their shoulders and ask, “What do you expect when you leave your shoes unattended at a rave in the McKibbin Lofts?” Secondly, approximately zero people are humoring you if you’re not only marrying yourself, but registering for gifts.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That you’ll fall in love in an unexpected but romantic meet-cute on a city street.
In Season 3, Episode 7, Charlotte meets Trey after she falls in front of a cab and he “rescues her.” It’s love at first sight, with a knight in shining armor on a New York City street!

Reality: Anyone hoping to randomly fall in love on the streets of New York should know right now that the closest you’re going to get is a creep showing you his boner on the subway.
Other than that, no one is going to leap from a moving vehicle and kneel at your feet. So if you do fall in front of a cab, expect to dust yourself off an move on.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That when you live in New York, everyone you know will have fabulous homes in the Hamptons, and you will always be invited.
In Season 2, Episode 17, the ladies head to the Hamptons for a luxurious summer getaway in the house of a friend, as so often happens over the course of the series.

Reality: You don’t know anyone who owns a house in the Hamptons.
It’s a Rockaways summer of Brooklyn hipsters for you. Or, maybe you do know someone who lives in the Hamptons. But, you’ve only been invited there once, and there were 17 other people staying as well, so most of you slept on the floor.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: The love of your life is working behind a bar somewhere, and he’s going to be the kindest man on earth.
When Miranda meets Steve in Season 2, Episode 8, he’s tending bar, and it’s obvious he’s much more than a one-night stand, being that he’s so lovely and considerate and sweet.

Reality: Bartenders are great. But, I have yet to hear of someone meeting one on the job, having his baby, and moving to Park Slope.
There are no Steves. Or, more likely, there are Steves out there, but you’re just not going to meet them working in a bar that’s frequented by the hot, young single women of New York City.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: Politicians are hot and available.
When Carrie meets politician Bill Kelley (played by John Slattery) in Season 3, Episode 1, he’s loose, friendly, fun, sexy, and totally DTF.

Reality: I think it’s safe to say that politicians are doing everything in their power not to be caught smoking and drinking with a sex columnist at a Staten Island bar.
Also, to revisit the point about Carrie mining other people’s sex lives for material: There’s no way writing about a politician wanting to pee on her wouldn’t incite a huge scandal.
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: That they’re just handing out invites to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week.
In Season 4 Episode 2, Carrie is invited to be a runway model and share the spotlight with Heidi Klum.

Reality: I mean, you could runway bomb, if you don’t mind getting arrested and/or pissing off a totally important designer.
If it’s good enough for Kanye...
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Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Expectation: The Rabbit vibrator is a spiritual experience and will change your life.
In Season 1, Episode 9, Charlotte becomes addicted to her Rabbit vibrator, as it sends to her to a new plain of orgasmic ecstasy. She’s so addicted to masturbating with the miracle vibrator that her friends have to stage an intervention!

Reality: Well, I have a Rabbit, and I can tell you it’s just kind of... eh.
Like it’s namesake, it’s fast and industrious. It’s definitely not some breathtaking sensual experience, but if you want to have an orgasm in under a minute, it’s going to get the job done.
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