Today I was back in the (home) office, slogging through American Anthropologist’s June issue page proofs and in short breaks starting to work through the backlog of other people’s blog entries I missed during the last week. I’ve got quite a few more to still read, and quite a few blog entries I’m hankering to type up as well, but first things first: The movie! ACKCKCKCKCKCK. We’re going to a show tonight with, like, thirteen other people. (And by “we’re” I obviously mean my wife and not, in fact, my husband.) I AM DYING OF EXCITEMENT, PEOPLE. We’re gussying up, we’re having pre-show dinner & drinks, we’re doing it proper.
And second things ... uh, second, I guess: The series and/or movie’s reception by (some of) the Internet (that is, the part I read). Julia Allison comments that she wanted Carrie to “Stop looking for love. Love yourself. Love who you are. Not some transitory passion a man can give you, then take away!” She goes on to say, “I actually wished that instead of ending the series with her taking a call from Big, they had finished with her walking down the street alone, strutting in her fabulous shoes, smiling, happy to be home in New York, her city. Finally at peace - and most of all, happy to be herself again.”
Meghan Asha discusses how “The SATC premiere gave all of us ‘New York Girls’ a new take on Manhattan. I think it has vastly changed the way women date and have relationships. Like the movie, I came to Manhattan three years ago looking for L-O-V-E (i.e. a banker wrapped in fancy suits). That being said over the years and through the hard cold reality of the city, my thesis has undergone a complete overhaul: New York is a city that helps one looking for love, love themselves…”
And Wife Herself wrote an impassioned entry regarding how instead of “looking for love amidst the cocktails, just like Carrie Bradshaw and Co.,” “don’t count your cocktails before they hatch.” Wife goes on in a vein akin to JA, saying:
I find it’s the same with this City. You may or may not find love, and most of the love I’ve found has more to do with the awesomeness of my friends than with a shiny banker riding a gilded towncar (which was never my dream guy anyway). Everyone around you may or may not be looking for love, but in most cases they’re really looking for their launch, and they’ll put that before you, because it’s what we all came here for really. I never really bought that Carrie and the girls were really looking for love. I always thought it was an entertaining and metaphoric conceit - that relationships and the search for “love” are the things we all distract ourselves with, what we use to learn about ourselves, and what bonds us with other sojourners on this crazy journey towards our dreams. So if you really are looking for love, go somewhere else, somewhere people go to settle down. Because if I know anything about this City, it’s that no one here likes to settle.”And I couldn’t help but wonder ... Really? Do you ladies really mean that? Do you actually not care about ever finding love? I’m not saying now, but ever? Really?! I’m sorry, I could pretend to be PC about this, and I do realize this may make me look like an asshole, but maybe, deep down, I just don’t get it. While I don’t judge others’ actions, I also don’t envy them. I honestly cannot fathom having sex with a near to complete stranger, or dating without keeping an eye on the prize of a serious, monogamous relationship. Perhaps, in this way, I’m much more Charlotte than Carrie, maybe even more Charlotte than Charlotte. I get my feelings hurt a bit when single friends of mine obliquely discuss how they see marriage as "settling," even when I know their comments are not directed at me. I have what I believe to be a pretty healthy self-esteem, I have a career of my own, I have dreams I work actively to fulfill, and I have friends who have changed my life with the depth and breadth of their friendship. But that was never enough for me. I always, always, always wanted and needed LOVE. I didn’t want and need it to the exclusion of my self-esteem, career, dreams, and friends; but I steadfastly considered (and still do) a life in which I couldn’t also have Love the worst compromise of all. In fact, Carrie herself wonders in one episode: “What are we going to do? ... Sit around bars, sipping cosmopolitans and sleeping with strangers when we're 80?”
Unlike Wife, I do wholeheartedly believe that Carrie and The Girls were looking for love: Perhaps Charlotte was looking the hardest (as evidenced by her two marriages); Carrie sought it (but not necessarily with a big diamond ring attached) while also questioning her need/desire for it; Miranda was so scared of it she pushed it constantly away until she met non-threatening, non-flashy Steve; and Samantha slept her way around, avoiding it, but finally found a boy/man who pushed his ahem into her ahem and then his way into her heart without subsequently betraying her.
And unlike JA, I think that Carrie would never be happy to just have New York, just have her career, and just have her friends. I think Carrie—with or without Big—would keep on searching for love, and I also think there is nothing wrong with her for doing that. Why should we be seen as incomplete for wanting love? Why should we said to have poor self-esteem if love is something we genuinely need? When in the series finale Carrie strolls down the street by herself then answers a call from Mr. Big, I think she is doing exactly as JA dreamily wishes: “strutting in her fabulous shoes, smiling, happy to be home in New York, her city. Finally at peace - and most of all, happy to be herself again.” As Carrie herself says, "The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous."
Do I hate a little that it always seems to come down to The Single Girls versus The Marrieds, with enemy lines seemingly drawn and a no man’s land in between? Hells-fuckin-yeah. Do I presume at all to tell any of my single friends that the grass is greener on this here side of the field? No way, Jose, because, dude, it, like, depends. But do I “get it” nonetheless? Uhhh, yeah. Maybe not 10 years ago, or 5, or now, but eventually we will be in our thirties, and then pushing forty, and I think love and/or marriage will have at least crossed The Single Gals’ minds—even if it is an idea quickly discarded.
I know I, for one, want and need love. And I have been fortunate enough to find it. And I just celebrated it: a year of marriage, eight years of dating, and eleven years since we really “registered” at all on each other’s radars (in Iolani Orchestra, circa 1996–1997). Last year we got a leetle too carried away with the stress of the wedding to write our own vows, but I got around to vowing this year. I vowed to take him always as he is—loving what I already know about him, trusting and looking forward to what I will still learn. I vowed to commit my love to him; promised to always respect his individuality; swore to have faith and pride in him; resolved to be with him through all of life’s changes and to continue to strengthen our love and relationship for as long as we both aren’t “make die dead,” as would be said in the Hawaiian vernacular. Or, in the immortal words of “Shall We Dance” (English version w/ Gere and Lopez), “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice everything. Your life will not go without witness because I will be your witness.” I vowed to be with him, always, the wet season, the dry season, richness and poorness, sickness and health, the dream chasing and reality, the achievements and despairing, through the births and the deaths and beyond, because I will so follow him into the dark.
Or, more likely, he’ll follow me. Because I’m bossy like that.