I love the television show Sex and the City. I have a been a fan since the very first cosmopolitan was sipped; from the pilot episode straight through the second movie (horrible reviews and all). I have quoted lines from the show, borrowed hairstyles, and even taken a few pointers from Samantha to spark things up in my love life. I refer to Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte as if they are real people, my real friends.
I can watch episodes of the show over and over and over, without ever-growing tired; same goes with both of the movies. Whether running on the treadmill, folding laundry, or nursing the baby, my go-to TV time is Sex and the City. I have watched each of the movies at least a dozen times, in forty minute intervals. Recently, I was watching the second movie when something occurred to me…as much as I love Carrie Bradshaw, and I mean it, I do love her, I am beside myself with disappointment over how Carrie has handled her relationship with Mr. Big over the past decade.
Carrie is a beautiful, smart, successful, independent, woman. However, over the years we have seen her attach herself to an unhealthy relationship with a man who clearly is not her equal. In the beginning, Carrie dealt with the fact that Mr. Big would not be monogamous, and he refused to sever ties with other women from his past. Carrie was forced to change her personality and desires to accept this fact and to continue to be with him. We watched her beg for a key, beg for a drawer in his apartment to keep her simple belongings…like a toothbrush! How many years was it before they actually lived together?
We watched Mr. Big ruin a wedding and leave Carrie alone at the altar. In the second movie we watch him, once again, not meet her expectations and almost ruin their marriage. Now, I do realize there are two sides to the story, and one could say that, in fact, Carrie Bradshaw’s expectations were set too high. Sorry, I don’t buy that line. What we have here is an entire television series, and two movies, worth of a woman changing who she is and what she most desires, to meet the much lower expectations of the man she believes she should be with. How depressing! Have any other Sex and the City fans ever noticed this?
Once this theme became obvious to me, it begged the question, what would her mom have said to her in these times of identity upheaval? I don’t believe that Carrie Bradshaw’s mom was ever so much as discussed throughout the entire series, so I’m not even certain that she actually exists, but if she did, what would she say? Would she be disappointed in her daughter’s decisions? Would she have tried to convince her otherwise? Where is the line with adult children, how influential can parents be beyond a certain age?
These questions surrounding Carrie and Big can be found in every relationship and in every marriage: how much compromise is too much? There is a thin line between compromise and being a doormat. Have you ever compromised too much and are now disappointed with yourself, how do you ever get back from that place?
I know, for me, as a mother of three daughters, I will always encourage my daughters to be true to their desires, their wants, and most importantly their identities and self-respect. I hope that my daughters never find themselves in a relationship where after years of dating they are begging their boyfriend for an apartment key or space for a toothbrush. However, if I ever do find one of my daughters in such a situation I hope that I am a good enough parent to figure out the best way to help them, even if that means drawing on my old Sex and the City wisdom, and treating them to a relaxing cocktail, and perhaps a new pair of Manolos.