Saturday, August 09, 2008

More about why I adore Carrie and her friends...

They are very literate. Only today, whilst reading an article in the NYT, I came across the phrase, "Four legs good, two legs bad." Since high school was AGES ago, and I don't really remember reading Animal Farm as much as remembering that I did read it, I didn't realize this was yet another literary allusion. (Carrie says "two legs good, four legs bad" in the episode "Sex and the Country" which also has allusions to Old MacDonald has a farm ("e-i-e-i-o.")

Of course, now that I've started, my brain has stalled.

Oh, right. So in the Season Two finale, when Natasha and Big get engaged, Carrie and friends wax eloquently about the movie "The Way We Were," which I had never seen, but have now. I see now how the episode sort of mirrored the movie, but the episode is better than the movie, although I've been told that I needed to see the movie when I was 25. Which brings up a thought about SATC in general. I have friends in their twenties who don't like the show. And friends in their twenties who adore it. Then I have friends of varying ages who don't care if they ever see the show. Personally, I think you should be at least 32 before you watch it, you need to have a little bitterness that comes with the third decade.

That said, I don't think everyone should watch it, or that everyone will like it. I watch it because the characters are smart, I can relate to being thirtysomething and single, and I like the theme music. (I have it as the ring tone for my phone.) As a woman who made a few or more mistakes in my early years (oh, did I stop?) I commiserate with Carrie & Co. As they say, let she who has no sin throw the first stone.

When I was in my senior year of high school, something changed. All of a sudden, I stopped being Miss Goody Two Shoes. My two best friends had boyfriends and were losing their virginities, and I read books like My Mother/My Self and devoured copies of Cosmopolitan. I worried about how it would be, dating when you had to think about whose place to spend the night. Second semester, I had my first "boyfriend" who was an absolute jerk and in many ways I am still recovering.

Then I went off to college. When I found Jesus (I know that sounds dorky, but maybe a little bit less dorky than "born again") my freshman year, I thought, "phew! I won't have to think about that again" and put sex in a "after I'm married" compartment. And five years later, I started dating men. (I only had unrequited crushes in college.) And Pandora's box opened up and I was making decisions about whose place to spend the night. I'm not proud of those years, and my heart is broken in places that are mending, even now.

But watching SATC helps me to see that there are reasons you break up with a guy besides, "you're not a Christian, so I can't keep dating you." (Yes, I actually said those words, to at least two men.) What I couldn't see was that I was actually breaking up with them because they weren't respecting me, but I didn't have the words to say that. In the two quasi-healthy relationships I had where I did the breaking up, I was able to say, "This isn't working" or "You're drinking again, so I'm out of here." But until I watched SATC, I felt like no one understood my story. I had two kinds of friends: Christians (who had either not had indiscretions or didn't talk about them) and non-Christians who were experimenting like crazy. And I felt caught in the middle--I felt I'd done enough experimenting but I didn't feel like my Christian friends would understand, and I certainly didn't want to encourage my non-Christian friends in their experimentation, but at the same time not judge them (or have them judge me). Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

I remember, my freshman year of college, walking back to Carlow after Cornerstone (the college Christian fellowship group I attended) with two girls. The guest speakers were a married couple. The guy had "sowed his oats" before getting married and I think maybe the girl had not. We all sang "Summer Nights" from the movie Grease and the couple used the song to show the difference between how men and women look at romance, love, and sex. We'll call the two girls I was walking home with Jill and Jackie.

Jill to Jackie: "I would never want to marry a man that wasn't a virgin when we got married." Jackie to Jill: "Yeah."

And there it was. Two more people I couldn't talk to about sex.


My brain is so tangled and mangled -- this is the last day of Summer Reading, we have a Storytelling Festival going on too, and so I'm sticking out my tongue at my inner English teacher and ending here, with no real conclusion. I'm too busy these days to come back and work on this more.



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