Sex and the Crazy
As I wandered near the site of New York City’s Sex and the City premiere yesterday, dodging small bands of women united by a common interest in over-accessorizing for daytime (and being in my way), I found myself compiling a list of people and things that owe much of their current popularity to said show:
The concept of brunch
Clubs Bungalow 8 and Bed
The word fabulous
Retardedly over-thought outfits
Next on my list was “bitching about men”, and I stopped myself short. SATC, I’ll give you credit for the context (brunch, obvs) but you don’t get credit for this one. I should know, I’m a woman, and I’ve been gabbing about men since long before Sex was a twinkle in HBO’s eye.
I’ve been thinking about this phenomenon more recently, as romantic relationships take a more prominent and permanent place in the lives of my friends. Casual dating, serious dating, sleeping around, moving in together, some crazy folks getting married, yadda yadda yadda. Whatever the situation, women have a need (which sometimes borders on the obsessive and pathological) to compare notes and share war stories.
Take a look at the cover of any glossy lady mag on newsstands right now, and you’ll get my drift. Cosmo teaches you to “Make Him Crave You”, Glamour has a whole SECTION entitled “Sex & Men”. Landing a man, pleasing a man, getting a man to please you, keeping a man, getting rid of a man. The list goes on. Sex and the City dovetailed brilliantly with this pre-existing female pre-occupation. When you aren’t spending time chatting about men with your girlfriends, you can watch other, more exciting people chat about men with their girlfriends!
I mean, I get it. Talking about men? Really entertaining. But my beef with this is twofold. First: you don’t know these people. More importantly, THEY DON’T KNOW YOU! and they don’t know your relationship. When I overhear someone say “he’s such an Aidan”, or “omigod it’s just like when Steve and Miranda….” I worry. I hope these are just interesting comments, meant to highlight the universality of the romantic experience, but I fear that these fictional situations are actually affecting how people approach their relationships. Maybe I’m not giving us ladies enough credit, but bear with me – this notion leads me directly into beef #2:
Beef #2 (maybe more of a personal problem for me) is the sheer creativity of it all. I stumble across “Are you a rebound?” and all of a sudden the possibility is there! I see “Top 10 Signs He Might Be Cheating” and….oh my god he DOES sometimes work late!!! Rational? Absolutely not. And it takes a friend who knows the situation to say “Gemma. He’s not cheating on you. He just has a job. That is a good thing” Cosmo promises that if I read this article I will understand all confusing men? Awesome! And fat fucking chance. Most men I know would be insulted to be lumped in with these d-bags.
Whatever the article or episode, the possibilities suggested and advice proffered may or may not apply to you, but I’m going to err on the side of not. Our lives and our relationships don’t fit into some universal romantic rubric. It would be so much easier, (GOD, would it ever) if they did, and we could always ‘know what to do’, but we owe our partners the courtesy of treating them as the individuals they are.
I have made a pact with myself: have my own brunch, discuss my own men. Compare war stories, ask for advice, but I’m cut off if I find myself freaking that my lovely man is going to go all Berger post-it on my ass.