Most of us aren’t apt to list Sex and The City when questioned about our favorite shows. Maybe it’s because Sarah Jessica Parker is just so whiny in it or maybe it’s because anything that’s popular becomes lame (before it eventually becomes meta). Whatever the reason you don’t list Sex and The City as a favorite, you can’t deny the pure gems of dating philosophy and womanhood sprinkled throughout it.
The reason it had a 6-year-long run and is one of the most iconic shows in HBO history is because of the catharsis – the unnerving similarity between what we feel and what we’re watching. And that’s not because of Sarah Jessica Parker’s acting skills, but because of the brilliance of Candace Bushnell.
We all associate Parker with Carrie but in reality, Bushnell is the real Carrie and “Sex and The City” was her real column.
After moving to New York City at 19, Bushnell struggled to find writing jobs for many years. In 1993 she began working for the New York Observer. According to Bushnell,
“I started working for the NY Observer when I was 33. After I had been writing for them for about a year and a half the editor said, “Your stories are the most talked about stories in the Observer, you should have your own column.” I was paid $1000 a column and the reason was that the column “Sex and the City” was so popular that they sold newspapers and advertising off it.”
From 1994 – 1996 she published the column “Sex and the City” based on her own personal dating experiences and those of her friends. It was then rounded up into an anthology and turned into the HBO series.
The truth is, we can’t judge a book by its cover and we can’t judge a show by its actors. “Sex and the City” is so much more than a 30 minute HBO relic. It’s the real words of a real woman with a real single life in real pain. And honey, there’s nothing “to wonder” about when reading these.
“You have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”
“I make mistakes. That’s what I do. I speak without thinking, I act without knowing. I drink so much that I can barely walk…I’m a fantastic lover
though, and an amazing friend. God knows I mean well.”
“Better alone than badly accompanied.”
“She didn’t want to have anything to do with the party. She was tired of feeling like she didn’t fit in, but she didn’t want to go home, either, because she was a tired of being lonely and she was a little drunk.”
“I’ve had boyfriends before, and frankly, each one was a disappointment. There was nothing horribly wrong with these boys. It was my fault. I’m kind of a snob when it comes to guys. So far, the biggest problem with the boys I’ve dated is that they weren’t too smart. And eventually I ended up hating myself for being with them. It scared me, trying to pretend I was something I wasn’t. I could see how easily it could be done, and it made me realize that was what most of the other girls were doing as well—pretending. If you were a girl, you could start pretending in high school and go on pretending your whole life, until, I suppose, you imploded and had a nervous breakdown, which is something that’s happened to a few of the mothers around here. All of a sudden, one day something snaps and they don’t get out of bed for three years.”
“I do not pick the wrong guys. They pick me.”
“It’s always the people who don’t want things who get them.”
“All those men who end up disappointing you. After a while, you don’t even want to have feelings anymore. You just want to get on with your life.”
“From my experience, honey, if he seems too good to be true—he probably is.”
“That’s the difference between girls and women: Girls find men fascinating. Women know better.”
“Guys are like dogs: they never notice if you’ve changed your hair, but they can sense when there’s another guy sniffing around their territory.”
“I’ve always thought there are two ways of getting what you wanted in life.Forcing people to give it to you, or making them want to give it to you.”
“I can safely conclude that we are single because we want to be.”
“I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve done. Shame is a useless emotion.”
“There are so many beautiful girls around that after a while you start looking for someone who can make you laugh”
“I think, when men tell women to lose weight, it’s a diversion from their own lack of size in certain areas.”
“Life gives you lots of chances to screw up which means you have just as many chances to get it right.”
“The world is full of people who all want the same thing, and you have to do a little something extra to make them remember you.”
“As long as you’re neurotic and crazy, he’s great. But once he solves all your problems, he becomes the problem.”
“Love is spiritual. It’s about self-sacrifice and commitment. And discipline. You cannot have true love without discipline and respect. When you lose the respect of your spouse, you’ve lost everything.”
“I know I have to do the right thing. And the sooner you do the right thing, the better. You get it over with, and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. But who does that in real life? Instead, you procrastinate and think about it and put it off and think about it some more until that one little pebble grows into a giant block inside your head.”
“But every time I feel bad, I try to remind myself about what this little kid said to me once. She was loaded with personality-so ugly she was cute. And you knew she knew it too. “Carrie?” she asked. “What if I’m a princess on another planet? And no one on this planet knows it?” That question still kind of blows me away. I mean, isn’t it the truth? Whoever we are here, we might be princesses somewhere else. Or writers. Or scientists. Or presidents. Or whatever the hell we want to be that everyone else says we can’t.”
“Just because something doesn’t last forever, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful while it did last. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.”
“When you’re alone, it’s easier,” she said a little wistfully. “You can do what you want. You don’t have to go home.”
“I have this theory: If you forgive someone, they can’t hurt you anymore.”
“There are worse things than being thirty-five, single, and female in New York. Like: Being twenty-five, singled, and female in New York. It’s a rite of passage few women would want to repeat. It’s about sleeping with the wrong men, wearing the wrong clothes, having the wrong roommate, saying the wrong thing, being ignored, getting fired, not being taken seriously, and generally being treated like shit. But it’s necessary.”
“Eventually all the pieces fall into place…. until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason.”