"You are so Carrie Bradshaw, right now!" This has become a popular greeting amongst my female friends ever since I took the plunge and went into writing full-time. The phrase is also relegated to times I actually gussy up for an evening out, as — unlike Carrie — my working-from-home attire includes t-shirts and pajama pants, rather than crop tops and Manolo Blahnik's. As an avid fan of the female-centric '90s hit, Sex and the City, I can recognize the affectionate intentions in comparing my career to Carrie's. That being said, there is nary a similarity between my life as a writer and Carrie's life as a writer, save for the fact that we are both women, we have both accumulated a Rolodex of bad dates over the years, and we both have a penchant for wordplay. From there, I — and several others working in the writing field — now re-watch episodes of SATC with a knitted brow and a litany of questions on how the heck Carrie was able to afford such a lavish Manhattan lifestyle when her sole means of income for the first three seasons was writing one column detailing her romantic escapades.
I have and always will love SATC and its Jimmy Choo-wearing protagonist, but the believability of Carrie's lifestyle is tantamount to waking up to a unicorn at your breakfast nook confiscating your morning coffee. I realize that metaphor was probably as clever as a bag of rocks, but the point I'm trying to make here is that —as far as writing careers go — SATC was completely unrealistic. I could continue this tangent, or I could break down specifics on how Carrie's career as a writer is different than other freelance writers in a fun list punctuated by SATC GIFs. "Bring on the GIFs," you say? Alright then! Without further adieu, let's take a look at how Carrie Bradshaw's writing career compares to writing careers IRL.
Carrie Bradshaw: Lives By Herself In A Swanky One-Bedroom On The Upper East Side
Not only did Carrie live by herself in a swanky one-bedroom apartment, said apartment was located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — the Upper East Side of Manhattan! This is otherwise known as possibly one of the chicest and most expensive places to live ever. Although living in this area was decidedly cheaper in the '90s than today, popular blog The Frenemy took a comprehensive look at what Carrie's finances would have been, and notes that the best possible deal the SATC star could have gotten on such an apartment would have been something like $1,800 a month. Being that writing only one column would likely put Carrie's monthly income below $2,000, she would have to have a massive pile of credit card debt or some other type of supplemental income to simply pay rent.
Real Life: You Don't Live In Manhattan & You Do Have Roommates
If you're a fledgling writer living in New York City, chances are you do not live in Manhattan. If you have your heart set on the Upper East Side, you would likely be able to rent an apartment if you had several roommates in tow. Being that watching Carrie stare pensively out her apartment window in solitude may have been more palatable than watching her awkwardly share a futon with one of three Craigslist roomies, I guess I can see why the writers went with the guise of her living solo.
Carrie Bradshaw: Has A Walk-In Closet Inhabited By Couture
Did Carrie ever wear the same outfit twice throughout the entire SATC series? No, of course she didn't. Carrie's wardrobe was a utopia of designer brands and $300 heels.
Real Life: It's Bargain Shopping Or No Shopping At All — There Is No Gray Area Here
I bought a $9 top at Target yesterday and that has become what I consider to be loosening the purse strings. And, yes, if you're a writer — or anyone who hasn't walked the red carpet — you wear the same outfit several times over.
Carrie Bradshaw: Goes Out Pretty Much Every Night At The Most Elite Manhattan Venues
Carrie toted a cosmopolitan or apple martini on SATC almost as much as she sported a pair of Jimmy Choo's. Fancy cocktails aren't cheap, guys, especially in Manhattan. With Carrie drinking $12 - $14 cocktails several nights a week, that has to put a dent in her bank account.
Real Life: Watered Down Beer & $3 Rail Drink Specials Are Everything Ever
Happy hours aren't just a fun option — they're a necessity. You don't want to get to your local watering hole after the window closes on that $3 rail drink special. Otherwise, you're more likely to opt for a night of dirt-cheap six-packs and binge-watching the new season of Orange Is The New Black at your other freelancer friends' place. Come to think of it, I actually prefer those nights to fancy cocktail hours.
Carrie Bradshaw: Eats Out Every Day & Night
Carrie eats out at the trendiest cafes and restaurants every freaking day and night, because she doesn't like to cook and apparently money grows on trees.
Real Life: You Rarely Eat Out & End Up With Weird Kitchen Concoctions
You may go out to eat once in a while, but any menu you come across is shrewdly reviewed until you can figure out a way to satiate your appetite without blowing $30 plus tip in one night. You may even pre-game with a peanut butter sandwich before heading out to that trendy new cantina. I, myself, am a terrible cook, but I'm also a hungry person a budget. Most of the stuff I make (the quinoa and egg soufflé was an odd experiment) doesn't taste great, but at least I'm full and able to pay my utilities.
Carrie Bradshaw: Writes One Column
Somehow Carrie is — as The Frenemy puts it — able to afford an astronomical rent, utilities, and lavish expenses while making under $2,000 each month for one column.
Real Life: You Have More Than One Writing Gig Or A Part-Time Job
There are plenty of freelancers that go on to get book deals, become salaried staff writers, or editors. Most freelance writers (which is what Carrie is) are juggling several projects at a time in order to cover their cost of living. Some will also choose the route of bartending or waiting tables part-time for supplemental income, which is perfectly fine and a great way to ameliorate some of the stress when first embarking on a creative career path.
All this being said, I sincerely adore the grind that comes with being a fledgling writer, and I will continue to lovingly re-watch SATC. I may watch the show with a more jaded outlook, but we all need a little escapism to pair with our ramen noodles and boxed wine.
Images: HBO (1); Giphy (10)