No Sex in My City: Sex and the City

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Season 1, Episode 1: Sex and the City

The year is 1998. Sarah Jessica Parker's hair is brown. And Carrie is talking directly to the camera. Sex and the City has begun.

In this inaugural episode, Carrie, the "sexual anthropologist" is researching the idea of women who have sex like men. No, not with dildos. Carrie, and her friends, are under the impression that all men are capable of having casual sex, one-night stands, and fuck buddies because they can have sex without feelings. And only a few rare women, like Samantha, are capable of, or want, the same.

Carrie tests this theory for herself when she bumps into an ex while out to lunch with her GBF, Stanford. Instead of making the mistake of falling for Kurt a fourth time, she will have sex with him without attaching any emotions to him, or the act. After their sex date, Carrie feels “powerful, potent, and incredibly alive” but that night when she bumps into him at a club, and he reveals his delight that she understands the kind of relationship he wants, her face falls.

Meanwhile, at the same club, Samantha is putting the moves on Mr. Big. He doesn’t go for it, but don’t worry, Samantha finds someone to go home with. Cynical Miranda is fending off young, sweet Skipper. He tries to compliment her, but accidentally insults her, creating the intriguing conundrum of women falling into one of two categories; beautiful & stupid or homely & interesting.

Despite Charlotte’s perfect evening, as she leaves in her cab her date joins her, confessing that he’s going to a club because he really needs to have sex tonight. While Carrie ends her evening in Mr. Big’s car, discussing her research, to which his response is “Oh, I get it. You’ve never been in love.”
“Have you ever been in love?”
“Abso-fucking-lutely.”

My Favorite Outfit

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This episode is filled with horrible 1998 fashion, so I have to go with Carrie's adorable (and timeless) outfit she sports in the opening credits. And, unlike the episode, she has her trademark curly blonde hair.

Character I Identify with Most: Miranda

I wish we could have had more discussion about this beautiful and stupid vs. homely and interesting conversation. Women are praised for their outer beauty and (not often enough, but still) their brains/talent/contributions. When a woman is both (in the eyes of the beholder), she's considered a precious anomaly. It's often a joke in movies for a pretty girl to reveal that she's actually a grad student or something, shocking the male protagonist. On the reverse side, women who aren't conventionally attractive are forgiven that if they are doing something interesting. I think the bottom line here is that we need to stop defining qualities that are undefinable like physical beauty, inner beauty, personality, and intelligence. People are a beautiful mess of those qualities and it's everyone's unique combination of traits that makes them amazing in someone's eyes.

“Welcome to the age of un-innocence. No one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember."

I agree with Samantha that women should explore the concept of having feelings-detached sex, if they so desire. I think it only becomes a problem when both people are not on the same page. People give sex different values, or conditions. For some people, sex on the first date might be their way of starting a relationship, while for others it may be all they want out of the date. I think perhaps some women still have this old-fashioned sensibility ingrained in them not to speak about topics like sex on a first date. Women must remain demure, hold back, keep some mystery. They might like the romantic notion of just “letting things happen”, but when things don’t happen the way they imagined, they get upset. When the easy solution would have been to be upfront about feelings and values before beginning a sexual relationship with someone. We hear a lot about safe sex, but I think safe sex isn’t just about making sure everyone’s physically protected. I think we should all practice emotionally safe sex; going into and coming out of a sexual experience with the same intentions. But, I think we all know that just like some people who would rather have unsafe sex than no sex at all, there will always be people more than willing to lie about their intentions for the future in order to have sex in the present.

In this episode the men are pretty forthcoming with their feelings about sex. Charlotte’s date plainly states that, although he respects Charlotte’s choice, he wants to have sex tonight. Kurt is open with Carrie about the kind of relationship he wants with her; fuck-buddies. The men are straight-forward about what they want while Charlotte is trying to remain a lady, but clearly sending mixed singles. But, that’s always Charlotte’s M.O.; playing games to get what she wants out of a man/relationship.

Apparently, we have experienced the end of romance. Although Charlotte is clearly a believer, the rest of the women are not so sure it exists anymore. I mean, this show took place 15 years ago and already people were living with the “I want it now” mentality. It’s exponentially worse now, with everything that the Internet and technology can offer us. We can get almost anything we want in a moment’s notice, including sex. So, why bother with romance? Isn’t romance just a way to get a woman into bed? Do we have to choose between romance and sex? If you want sex now, don’t bother with the romance. If you want romance, you’ll have to wait for the sex.

What do you think about Samantha’s “having sex like men” theory? Have we seen the end of romance?