As a Sex and the City fan, I’ve taken numerous lessons from the show, even if that was not my initial intention. And, when I say lessons, I mean lots and lots of lessons — both good and bad. What can I say? I was young and vulnerable when Sex and the City premiered in 1998.
I watched the show despite my mother’s disapproval. A disapproval, I should add, that included her watching it just as religiously as I did. Every episode always ended with my mother saying the same thing, "Either way, that Carrie is the worst." It was one lesson I had yet to learn for myself.
A decade after the series came to an end, I still watch Sex and the City reruns with the same OMG urgency as I did with every new episode years ago. I am, of course, not just a product of the SATC generation, but a viewer who went so far as to move to New York City with the goals of becoming a financially independent writer (with an entire closet full of Manolos) — just like Carrie. And, let’s not pretend that the idea of a Big of my own wasn’t too far from my delusional plan.
As I said, Sex and the City "taught" me a lot — some of which proved to be true, some of which proved to be oh-so-false. Here are a few lessons that I learned from HBO’s iconic show: the good, the Big, and the occasionally ugly.
False: TAKING FASHION RISKS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA
I mean, Carrie can wear whatever she wants, because, as my mother reiterates all the time, “IT’S TELEVISION, MANDY,” but I just can’t seem to rock a belt around my bare waist when there’s no reason for it.
true: guys come out of the woodwork when you're UNAVAILABLE
Remember how Big was all up in Carrie’s grill when she was dating Burger and Ray King, the jazz guy? Yeah, every time I've ever been in a serious relationship, my entire past comes crawling out of the woodwork.
false: HONESTY IS always THE BEST friendship POLICY
In some cases, sure, but in others not so much, especially when you tell your friend that you’re back with the guy who broke your heart. I lost a few friends over that one.
true: PEOPLE CAN CHANGE their stance on marriage
Big was adamant about the fact that he’d never marry again, but he married Natasha, and eventually, married Carrie, too. (Whole drama about wanting to bail on her during the first SATC movie aside, because they DID get married eventually.) I changed my mind about marriage, too, so I appreciate this lesson.
false: SECRET SEX IS adult
Secret sex usually means that the person with whom you’re having all this secret sex is married with kids.
true: IMPERFECTION CAN BE SEXY
Charlotte managed to love Harry despite his bald head and hairy back. What more can I say?
false: even if you're a shopaholic, your financial problems will never last more than 30 minutes
Sure, shoes are a sound investment ... if you’d like to end up not being able to afford your apartment after your fiancé bails on you because, let’s face it, you’re not the marrying kind.
true: BEING SINGLE IS AWESOME
“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” However, after being single in NYC for so long, I really didn’t need Carrie to tell me that, because I loved doing my own thing.
false: PEOPLE WILL FORGIVE YOU WHEN YOU MESS UP
Aidan forgave Carrie for what she did to him. I, on the other hand, am still waiting to be forgiven for some of my actions.
true: NEVER TRUST A DUDE WHO DOESN’T ADORE YOUR FRIENDS
I’m not saying that he has to be best friends with them, but if he has zero tolerance for them, then you can expect that to be indicative of other issues, even issues that relate to your relationship with him.
false: fitting into YOUR SKINNY JEANS is a goal to hold onto
Um, sorry, Miranda, but as much as I’m happy for you that you could get into your skinny jeans, that’s not what makes a person.
true: THERE ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T LEFT MANHATTAN IN YEARS
I thought it was just myth. You know, something I saw in that one SATC episode, “The Freak Show.” Then I met someone like that and it scared me. What was scarier was that he didn’t even want to leave, like, ever; he was content to just stay here all the time.
false: WATCHING YOUR CURRENT PARTNER AND YOUR EX FIGHT OVER EACH OTHER IS COOL
I’m not going to lie when I say I’d love for two men to fight over me, whether it’s à la Big vs. Aidan or Daniel Cheever vs. Mark Darcy, but come on! We’re not 15 anymore! It's not cool.
true: WE’RE ALL THREESOME MATERIAL
It’s true. We all are, if we want to be.
false: BEING OBSESSED WITH GETTING A BOYFRIEND IS normal
While it’s totally normal to want to find someone, being obsessed with finding “the one,” every second of every day of your life is just a waste of time and energy.
true: IF THERE’S NO CHEMISTRY IN BED, IT’S JUST NOT GOING TO WORK
It’s a painful truth, but one I’ve come to know well over my years as a single lady in New York City
true: TELLING YOUR FRIEND TO LEAVE HER HUSBAND IS A BAD IDEA
Being there for them is one thing, but telling them to leave their partner, as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, suggesting couples’ counseling, is just going to drag you into the middle of it.
very false: YOU CAN’T BE BISEXUAL
Although I know this to be untrue, in the episode, “Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl,” Carrie said, “I'm not even sure bisexuality exists. It's just a layover on the way to Gaytown.” That’s pretty damn ignorant, if you ask me.
very true: YOUR 30S ARE BETTER THAN YOUR 20S
Girls is about women in their 20s, and it’s a hot mess. Which is a less terrifying sight? Your 30s are indeed better than your 20s.