Spinster Candace Bushnell, the woman who wrote the original *Sex and the City* book and then created the famous TV show, is now in her 50s and has written a book about how being single and childless at that age sucks for chicks… most of you readers already know this, of course, because older women are competing for a pool of guys who would rather date women in their 20s or 30s, if possible.
Let’s not reiterate that again, instead I will observe that I am of the age in which pretty much every high school and college girl I knew watched the show when it came out and watched it again on DVD (before streaming was common, many movies and TV shows shipped on plastic discs that had to be purchased one-by-one, for you young guys reading). Chicks perceived SATC as very glamorous. I also read the *Sex and the City* book way back when and watched most of the show, here and there, usually w/ chicks. I think the key to a chick’s interpretation of either is how old the chick is. For teen girls and girls up to the late 20s (perhaps 28/29), the show reads as glamorous f**king around in the city and being serenaded/seduced by a wild variety of hot hot men who are going to pick up the tabs for fancy dinners, whisk them around to clubs, etc. The shiny fantasy rules, and the lifestyle seems very desirable, sort of like how the life of a male pr0n star can seem very desirable to a young guy who doesn’t know any better.
For women over age 28/29, *Sex and the City* starts to look like the “cock carousel” much-discussed online by men… older women see the guys in the show are getting copiously laid while offering the women a minimum of commitment, and female-female competition in NYC is fierce and relentless. NYC is expensive and, in the real world, it’s very hard for most women to make enough money to have a reasonable standard of living in the city without a guy to subsidize her. Most women in their 20s who appear to be living well in the city are either being subsidized by their fathers, or they’re sex workers. A lot of the guys in NYC want to play the field and will not subsidize some random chick. Older women detect underlying sadness in the show, but most younger women don’t detect the underlying sadness until it’s too late.
A lot of women feel like they have to viciously compete in NYC due to male/female ratios that favor men. That’s the thing the city still has most going for it, for players. Many women don’t read enough and don’t understand why NYC is a different market than most cities in the rest of the country.
Older women can accept that NYC is hard, choose a guy she perceives as “lesser,” or go poly, or just fuck around and accept that they’re not going to have kids, but that last one will make women bitter and alone when older, with the feeling getting worse the older she gets. Most women want kids, though, and can’t be happy without a family. Thus the neuroticism and deep unhappiness of single women over age 35. Such women are dangerous as bosses, I want to add.
The *Sex and the City* book’s undercurrent of hysteria is because most of the women are over 30 and know time is not on their side. The show is similar except that there is an unrealistic deus ex machina for Carrie at the very end. But if you watch the show carefully, you’ll be aware that most of the women in it are not very happy because they know they are living their lives poorly.
I also think many chicks have a dangerous precedent because they get enormous sexual market power (SMV) very early, as teens (provided they are not fat), and can fairly easily maintain that SMV power for fifteen years just by not being fat. Today, chicks using online dating can feel the incredible SMV power of their youth even more keenly than chicks before online dating. The decline in SMV can be rapid, however, leaving many women psychologically wounded because what was “easy” for them has suddenly become hard. The same thing happens to a few guys, like the high school athletes gone to seed who had high SMV and see it drop. More common is the guy who sees his SMV rise as he works on his body, mind, and income throughout his 20s and 30s.
Candace Bushnell was probably warned about her shelf life but decided that hot short-term sex is better than having a family, particularly a family with a low-status male.
The writer of the article that got me started on this piece is a feminist, yet she also notices, “Then I read some of the original Observer pieces, which were tough and unsentimental, even caustic.” That is also my reading, because even then Bushnell was in her 30s competing for cool guys who really want chicks in their 20s. Bushnell and her friends discover what lots of women do. The feminist writer says of the new Bushnell, “The book captures the buoyancy of the writer’s brand, but it also has a weather-beaten, mellow quality. If the women in ‘Sex and the City’ were living the dream, these characters are trailing after, reminiscing about, sometimes questioning it.” The women in *Sex and the City* were never living their dream, except for promiscuous Samantha, as their true dream is having a wealthy cool guy and having a family with that man… something none of them were on the path to doing because they were too busy f**king hot guys. Lesson for guys is simple, be the hotttttttt guy. This lesson has been well-learned and now many women complain of “players.” Players exist because women prefer hot fun-loving guys to boring reliable provider guys. Even provider guys are figuring out that there is little benefit to being a provider guy and a lot of benefit to hitting the gym and being a party, hot-sex guy. I don’t think every guy has what it takes to be a party hot-sex guy but many do.
Women in many big cities and upper-middle-class households are socialized to chase the job and career, like men. Then women discover as they get older that those things are less satisfying than having a family, but they are not going to drop their socialized acceptance of the lame careers they have as middle managers.
That article has lots of bullshit in it, such as talk of “how our ideas of masculinity and femininity have shifted” between 1997 and today. They haven’t much. Yes, among some gender freaks in Brooklyn there are loser androgenes, but very few hot chicks will deliberately make themselves less hot and very few top guys will deliberately make themselves more feminized. There is more gender confusion, with fat chicks leading the way, but on the whole masculinity remains and guys who want a good sex life cultivate their masculinity, and women who want top guys cultivate their femininity.
Today of course the Internet helps guys learn the game and helps people interested in sexual depravity like myself discover others interested in sexual depravity. So I do believe that weird sex practices are increasingly prevalent, and players who don’t slut-shame women and who lift weights will have much greater access to those practices.
I am thinking about next life steps because I don’t want to be the equivalent of a 35-year-old woman who has f**ked her best years and highest value away and is struggling to set up what she wants to do next… a very common pattern that players age 30+ are familiar with. I wonder how many guys would also be better off moving to the midwest, where family is more valued, when they/we are less excited about chasing random chicks (guys under age 30 can ignore this statement). Many people also see their life priorities change when their parents or other family age or die… that can be a jarring reminder that life is finite and some of our choices preclude us from pursuing particular paths. At age 20 it is easy to think you will be young forever and that your family will be the same forever… you will not and they will not.
I don’t get the sense that lots of younger chicks still watch the show but I have run into a few who have, often at early ages (11, 12, 13… I meet them when they are much older I want to add!).
Overall, *Sex and the City* reaffirms that chicks want to be seduced by hot guys… but that impulse drives a lot of women in their 20s to waste their prime high-value years… and the guys who will chase her at age 33 are often not the ones who would at 25… so the thing that may feel great to a woman in her 20s may harm her in her 30s and later. But the desire to be seduced by hot guys remain, and that is what all their fantasies are about, in TV or in fiction, and men can learn how to seduce and be seductive.
Seducing hot guys may be fun for chicks, but running a person’s life based on pop-culture entertainment is a disaster. Most normal people are smart enough not to live their lives according to TV shows, but there’s a certain class of downwardly mobile writer, usually a supposed “journalist,” who mistakes pop culture for reality. The Last Psychiatrist (TLP) covers this person well, and discusses this person’s narcissism. Unfortunately, the narcissistic defense to narcissism is further self-aggrandizing behaviors and beliefs, so we see few of these women admit, “I’m a narcissist who thinks the world revolves around me, and now I realize why and how that doesn’t work.” Instead, we see complaining and doubling down.
12 thoughts on “*Sex and the City* and the woman’s age”
Bushnell’s original columns in the New York Observer (compiled in her book) were sharp, somewhat cynical observations about the bizarre new ways of dating in New York in the 1990s (which were intensified versions of the changes in sexual relationships in the urban US at large). There was a whiff of the red pill about them. The first ten or so episodes of the TV show were based solidly on Bushnell’s columns and carried with them some of the sense of darkness of the harsh female competition and the failure of many women to obtain the lives they really wanted.
But after Bushnell’s reality-based material ran out, the series drifted more toward the fantasies and self-delusions of its writers (some of whom were, I’m told, gay men, which explains why the ladies sometimes act like gay men in women’s bodies). Later it turned into a full-fledged soap opera.
I think what most people remember about Sex and the City is those latter episodes (the whole last 5 seasons), which romanticized the promiscuous life while increasingly detaching from reality. But the first season still stands up as a gentle introduction to the strange new modern world of Alpha Fucks and Beta Bucks, of Alpha Widows in training, of radical transformations in dating that everybody felt, that a few like Bushnell could articulate, but that nobody could quite comprehend yet.
I also believe that for decades if not longer, the kind of woman who gravitates to New York is hedonistically oriented and not family oriented. That is fantastic for players but not very good for women age 35 who have their epiphany and finally understand that their lives are going to be empty and meaningless without a family. An identical process repeats in many big cities. I am now old enough to have seen two ten-year cycles of it.
Many women of course exit the cycle by compromising and finding a man who is good enough, but some get left behind. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/marry-him/306651
I might just watch this show out of curiosity
It’s okay but very dated, and even the quality of the image is low by modern standards. I believe that when it came out, HBO was just switching towards more cinematic quality, as opposed to old-school TV quality.
It still has some interest from a female psychology perspective. Most of the actresses are also just not quite hot enough to achieve what they would like to achieve… the show mostly glosses that fact, however.
The show does strongly suggest the “alpha fucks / beta bucks” idea that I think is overly reductionist but gets frequently cited online. Its real lesson, which feminists resist, is that it is very bad for women to not prioritize family early enough.