So I watched this episode over a week ago and then the curse struck and I haven’t felt as much like writing, and what little energy I did have I put into finishing up a different piece that you should go read cause it’s probably more important than sex and the city. But, it is Saturday, I’m at the Library, I have two friends with me that as far as I can tell are writing, so I should get to it and write.
Here we go.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve lived in New York a couple times for a couple years. I’ve been visiting New York since I was like 7. I have never been to the Hamptons. I think the farthest up Long Island I’ve ever been is Far Rockaway. It doesn’t strike as a place queers tend to go. However, a certain type of New Yorker, I’m told, by television, goes there quite often. Carrie Bradshaw is one of them.
One of the best parts of living in New York, she says, it’s leaving it. She goes to the Hamptons, to stay with a married couple, a pair of New York City exiles, it would seem. As payment for their hospitality she renders the traditional sacrifice of regaling them with tales from her single life. The married couple is satisfied and Carrie goes to bed. The next morning the tragedy happens. Mr Husband whose name I don’t care to remember or look up, surprises Carrie by running into her in the hallway, fully nude from the waist down.
Can I just take a moment to wonder about this. I’ve slept in various configurations of clothing. I don’t think the t-shirt no bottom has ever been one of them. What… what is the point of it. Did they bone last night and he didn’t bother taking off his shirt. Sounds extremely boring, but then, this is heteros we’re talking about.
Moving on, Carrie tries to laugh it off but when she tells Mrs. Wife about it she’s very VERY uncomfortable. Carrie is forced to make an early exit. Once in the city she debriefs the girls on her encounter and the episode’s topic du semaine is set up. The usually cold sometimes uncomfortably hot, war between the city’s singles and the city’s married couples. Miranda thinks married women fear her, Charlotte wants to be them, Samantha is happily committed to sleeping with anyone (I want to say anyone within her standards, but we’ll see later why that doesn’t apply) and any time regardless of marital status.
I’m tempted to say this is a whole bunch of straight hullabaloo, but the show anticipates me. In the middle of one of those interview segments that I’m pretty sure doesn’t survive past season one, she ends up with my man Stanford who is sick to his stomach of all his friends flying to Hawaii to wear a caftan and recite vows. I assume he said that because Hawaii was the only state at the time to allow gay marriage, but not quite. I’m afraid I’m not super familiar with the history of marriage equality in the US (so sue me). Now would be a good time to go on a thorough exploration of that question. Why were Stanford’s friends all going to Hawaii… Find out in a special issue of this column next week (not really (I mean maybe) (an addendum to this one??) sure why not)
So Stanford, the straightest gay man in New York, is here to remind us that being Gay does not exempt one from service in the Marriage Wars (oh that’s why it’s called Bay of Married Pigs, it’s a Bay of Pigs reference, also men are pigs). They happen to run into one of Carrie’s old friends who’s now openly gay, and he’s there with his Life PARTNER, now there’s a dated term. Upon hearing Carrie’s Single. they bafflingly ask her if she’d be willing to donate one of her eggs so they can have a baby. They already have a surrogate they just need a top-notch egg. I guess Breeder is a proper despective, since it turns out gays can be breeders and when they are, they are AWFUL. I want to say I hope that this is an example of straight people writing gay characters and that no gay person would commit such a faux pas, but actually no, we would. I mean I wouldn’t but SOME PEOPLE.
Moving on. Miranda, who I’m expected to believe is not a homosexual, is going to a softball game. Where she’s agreed to be set up, but is disappointed to discover her colleague has set her up with a lesbian. This is something that, according to television, happens very often. She explains, all is good, they decide to play together. And do great and have great synergy despite, again, Miranda being entirely straight. Miranda is pleased that being paired up is getting her recognition from her boss, which is treated as proof of marriedship bias as opposed to, you know, her boss fetishising lesbianism. So when he invites her and her date to his house for dinner, she decides it’s worth it to pretend.
Meanwhile, in the middle of a casual encounter wherein Carrie is doing research for her piece by talking to one of her apparently many married couple friends, she’s blind-sided by a guerrilla attack. She’s been set up, on a date. The guy, whose name I again can’t remember and don’t care to look up. Seems fine at first. Successful, reasonably attractive, in the middle of buying an apartment. Carrie, decides to go for it. See where it goes, but soon she sees she’s being roped into a bigger plot. She’s being recruited. He keeps talking about children and how great that apartment is gonna be for two people. I don’t know if I can call those red flags, and white flags are already taken. What would be the flag that someone is hot to marry. Unfortunately the hanky code does not seem to cover this edge case. Let’s say Mauve. Carrie sees these flags, but she’s hoping she can maybe push him into her corner a bit.
The episode’s various threads culminate on the night of Carrie’s boy’s house-warming party. To which she brings Charlotte and Samantha as backup. This is the same night of Miranda’s lesbian dinner party at her boss’ house so she’s unavailable. Honestly the Miranda plot is so much more interesting, but there aren’t very many scenes. Let’s wrap up Carrie’s plot so we can get into it a bit.
The party is a trap, everyone, EVERYONE there save the 3 girls is part of a married couple. Samantha hates this and starts knocking back drinks. I can’t remember if it’s her or Charlotte or both of them that are having pleasant conversations with men only for a wife to show up to whisk them away. Threatened presumably. Charlotte takes Samantha home because she’s unbelievably drunk, and Carrie stays till the end of the party and breaks up with her boyfriends before he has a chance to propose to her. Not that he was about to, but it was certainly where he wanted to be headed, and they’ve been dating for all of one week.
Samantha, whilst Charlotte is sleeping, goes downstairs to seduce the door man, which let’s be real, it’s more of a door boy. He can’t handle a woman like Samantha, but it’s his lucky day she’s too drunk to care. She just needs something quick. This is what my previous comment about her standards was about. I’m not even gonna touch the issue of what constitutes consent and what constitutes harassment in this case. Samantha Jones is a force of nature and is unstoppable in getting what she desires. God help those who would deny her.
So Miranda. Miranda, has an amazing dinner party, she talks shop with her boss, is angling for a promotion. Nevertheless, she’s a woman of scruples, and she’s not gonna hurt a poor lesbian by continuing to rope her into some sort of professional scheme. She comes clean to her boss, which seems to respect her shrewdness. No harm done, he says, and tries to deflect using his wife. Saying she’ll be disappointed since she really wanted to add a lesbian to her circle. I have no idea what’s going on in this marriage, but Miranda would do well to stay well away from any more of his dinner parties before he tries to get her to unicorn.
On the elevator, Miranda takes one last desperate shot at happiness. She kisses Syd (of course, she I care to know the name of, she’s a lesbian, she deserves a name). Nope, she says, definitely straight. Which Syd confirms, yeah, you are.
This is also a common television trope. The character everyone thinks is gay tries to give it a go only to be told by the queer person that no, their gaydar never lies and they are definitely not pinging. And this to me belies a deeper issue. Specially with people Miranda’s age. A lesbian in that age range, and any queer person, does not want to be part of an experiment. They’re out there, just like everyone else, apparently fighting in some sort of war for happiness in the form of a stable relationship. They’re don’t exist as a device for straight people to test themselves for gayness. Nevertheless, in heteronormative society, it can take people a LONG freaking time to figure out if they’re queer, specially if they’re bisexual, and you’ve already been dating people of one of the genders you’re interested in. I wish there was an easier way for them to explore those feelings. But it doesn’t always play out very well.
A quick word of advice, if you happen to be a person in this situation. Just communicate effectively. Some generous souls might be willing to embark on such a journey for you, but they need to know what they’re getting into. I’d like to imagine that this is why Syd agreed to go on this dinner party. She really had a good time playing softball with Miranda. They had good chemistry. She thought, well, she says she’s straight, but what if, she’d just never questioned it. There were plenty ways to hook up in the 90s, but what if Syd wants to defect, what if she wants that everlasting happiness and is having trouble finding it. Then this incredibly hot, well positioned lawyer falls into her lap. Maybe she wanted to say no right away, but what if, she couldn’t let it go, what if.
You can’t tell me one kiss is enough to dispel those doubts on either side. It’s the 90s but Miranda’s in her 30s. She has a fully formed ideal of herself. She doesn’t want an experiment any more than Syd does. Did she feel nothing in that kiss. Or did she choose not to feel nothing. Would she know the difference. It wasn’t a very passionate kiss. I wouldn’t have felt anything if I kissed my deepest crush like that. Miranda. You do you, but don’t throw it all away in one non-kiss in an elevator. Syd, best of luck. We’re never gonna see you again, I’m sure, but you’ll find your girl. You’ll got to Hawaii, or whatever the lesbian equivalent of Hawaii is (New England?). Hang in there kid.
As for you, dear readers. That’s our column for this week. Until next time…