Sex in the city, a bloke’s take

Spent las Saturday – Grand Final day – at the Cheese’s. It was a fun day, great game of footy, and some interesting conversation. Naturally there was a fair bit of alcohol consumed, so much that two guys had to have a lie down at different times, and it seemed sensible that maybe I should stop the night.

With everyone gone I sat on the couch with Mrs Cheese sipping on a glass of wine and watching re-runs of Sex and the City with her. It’s a bizaree fact that until Saturday night I had never watched an episode of this. I’d see bits and pieces naturally, and would have had to be living under a rock not to be familiar with the characters and general plot. Still, I only ever took a passing interest in it, fascinated, more than anything else, by the devotion it seemed to inspire in so many women.

On Saturday night I got some inkling of why it was so popular. I’ve written previously of seminal shows. As a bloke, my seminal shows are skewed towards the masculine perspective. Watching SITC I understood how a program like this might be seminal for so many women. It’s lifestyle and aspiration, doubt and wonder, the eternal questions women wonder at and occasionally agonise over while the males in their life blithely snore away.

Shows like this are a mix of fantasy and affirmation, as well as entertainment. It’s no surprise that women would get together around the TV for SITM nights. A glass of bubbles, some vicarious pleasure, and an affirmation of sisterhood. No matter what sex these people who appear up on screen are often some kind of glamorised surrogate of our good selves. Stories like this are like extensions of our own life, chapters that might still be, even if written in modest script. Big or small the basice human elements remain constant, whether you live in New York and have Mr Big on your tail, are the actress who plays that role, or the woman in the burbs who watches it. You don’t need to be special to have feelings and hope and occasionally fear, it’s just that for most of us it’s ours alone, not broadcast to the world. Each of us, in our small way, have our own tale to tell – and shows like this only serve to emphasis the very universality of it.

It was interesting for me. Though the story was told from the other side of the relationship there was much I just got – either because it’s not so different, or because I’ve been around women for so long now that I’ve come to know the patterns of their behaviour. Hell, I could have been one of the male characters, so familiar did it seem. I was sympathetic, often thinking – as I do in real life – that men are just pricks. I didn’t take it personally – I’m not responsible for the brotherhood – but understood it in a dispassionate, slightly curious, amused way. Hate to admit it, but I actually didn’t mind the show – though that could have been the combination of wine and beer. And of all the protagonists it was Carrie, to my surprise, that I liked most.

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