Written in the Cosmos
In the age of memes, GIFs, and Buzzfeed, we’ve all fallen into the black hole that is character/personality quizzes, at least once, and for many, many hours. B and I are no exception to this, having forced our bestie Kim to take a “which ‘Sex and the City’ character are you?” quiz. The two of us are massive Sex and the City fans—like watched the entire series several times and topped that off with films 1 and 2, fans. We find, especially now into our mid-20s *shudders*, that the show and characters are only more and more relatable.
The women of “Sex and the City” are so relevant because they each embody parts of what every good friend should be.
I’ve always found myself mirrored in Miranda. Like Miranda, I find myself with a fair amount of stereotypically “masculine” traits having lived wild in the woods during my early childhood. Miranda and I both have drive: not like “set a goal and achieve it” drive, but a “work them under the table” drive.
I have always admired my dad’s drive and follow through and hope it is justified when I say that I share his work ethic and pull-no-punches attitude that suffers no fools. When you live life with such a force you feel ultra-productive, self-sufficient, and proud. One caveat, if I may: too much ambition and drive can also lead to semi-regular panic attacks (see Season 2, Episode 5).
But, also never one to be a one-dimensional “Sex and the City” purist, I have to admit that my mom cultured a healthy dose of the wild, free-thinking, passionate Carrie into the mix. From her statement fashion and glam, to her quirky quick wit and penchant for words, my mother taught me to live to the beat of my own drum and afforded me the space and trust to do so. While this blend of Miranda and Carrie can cause a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type effect, depending on the day, it also guarantees that I am not as judgmental and confrontational as Miranda can be nor as unstructured and emotionally volatile as Carrie at her worst.
I’ve always thought, as the resident journalist in our troupe, that I’m pretty safely and firmly Carrie.
Carrie is a go-getter, a writer, and I’ve joked a lot since S and I started Millennial Pink that I’m about one dating-related blog post away from “going full Carrie Bradshaw.” She, like I, had her (un)fair share of heartache, but didn’t give up on love, or on herself. The thing about Carrie that also has always stood out to me is how above and beyond she’ll go for her friends. Though Carrie screened calls sometimes because of whichever man (usually Big) she was freezing out at the time, she answered for her friends. In college, I was like the go-to “I’m panicking and need to talk or be taken to the hospital or just let someone know I’m not okay” person—and at times I still am. I am indubitably the “mom friend,” sending carefully curated care packages on birthdays, having flowers delivered to S and Kim for Valentine’s Day (Galentine’s Day) and letting my apartment act as a safe haven with baked goods on hand for friends.
Another thing S and I have always commented on is how similar Carrie’s connection with Miranda is to our own. Part of why they seem to connect is that they’re both passionate and determined, albeit in somewhat different ways.
The scene that really strongly depicts that is in an episode where Miranda freaks herself out, thinking she’ll eventually die alone in her apartment and meet her end eaten by her cat. She has a panic attack and takes a cab to the hospital where Carrie meets her.
*at the hospital*
Miranda: “Well that was freaky. I felt like I was drowning and dying at the same time.”
Carrie: “Sweetie, they said you had a panic attack.”
Miranda: “Yeah, and I had to pay $500 of my single-person salary to find that out.”
Carrie: “What’s wrong?”
Miranda: “Take a good look at my face, because at my funeral there will only be half of it. I’ll be dead, and my cat will be happy, and Charlotte will be picking up men at the next gravesite over. I’m all alone, Carrie. The first people on my emergency call list are my parents, and I don’t like them and they live in Pennsylvania.”
Carrie: “You can put me on there.”
The main difference in this scenario for S and I, we always joked, would be that I’d have driven S to the hospital.
S and I have been friends now for five years, and actually launched Millennial Pink on our “friendaversary” last October. We became friends though because of our third musketeer and mutual best friend, Kim. Ever since we all came together, not even state lines can keep us apart for too long. In the two years since I graduated and moved to Oregon, we’ve still had a good amount of weekend get-togethers, involving movies, bar food, putt putt golf parkour, card games and countless other shenanigans.
It has been said on multiple occasions that it’s unrealistic to have a larger group of close-knit friends, as the show “Sex and the City” depicts, and to maintain all such enduring relationships from a distance (like Samantha did when she lived in California while the girls stayed in NYC).
But from personal experience, S and I would have to disagree.
While “Sex and the City” may have set unrealistic expectations in terms of fabulous fashion budgets on a writer’s salary and featured occasionally patchy dating timelines (to save TV time for the real A-list plot points), it does not promote unachievable relationships. Instead, the show offered one of the first perspectives from inside one of the deepest and most mysterious relationships: the modern multi-female friendship.
I can’t imagine how refreshing it must have been to see an unflinching portrayal and celebration of the multi-female friendship when the show originally aired in the 1990s. Each woman was a full-fledged character with her own strengths and idiosyncrasies that colored her didactic interactions and contributions to each episode’s main scenario. This show represented that women were allowed to, and did,maintain healthy, productive female group dynamics despite what popular culture tended to believe.
This multi-female friendship is more popular than ever if you think about it. Now colloquially known as a “squad,” these ladies are your “ride-or-dies,” your “sisterhood of [insert traveling garment],” or the Carries, Samanthas, and Charlottes to your Miranda. So while Gen X and Boomers may not relate to “Sex and the City” on the same level, they had the “pink ladies” and their bridge club crews to share their big news, solve their troubles, and spend their free time with all the same.
Another misperception we’d like to address while on the topic of friendship is the idea that men and women can’t be “just friends.” Outside of holding a girl’s purse while she’s shopping, taking out the trash and otherwise satisfying a woman, men can be important platonic friends as well. They grant perspective, and have done so in both mine and S’ lives. For a woman with enough scarves to wear a different one every day of the month and an abundant shoe collection, I will admit there is something to be said for having a male perspective available in your life. I grew up half of my life with brothers around and as a total daddy’s girl, and half with mostly female friends, but still as a bit of a tomboy.
Like B, I grew up in a fairly masculine environment. My family lived in the boonies with dad and grandpa traipsing around woods looking for dinner and prime pig pen territory. My sister and I played our fair share of Splinter Cell and Gran Turismo, witnessed or assisted in the hunting and splaying of the day’s catch, and recovered from all sorts of rough and tumble accidents—be they from skateboards or fights. While I enjoyed living life outside typical gender constructs as a child, I began to see how important it was to learn and adhere to your gender role from puberty onward. The insight of male peers became invaluable when navigating the oft confusing adult male-female interactions.
I’ve found, especially with dating, that it can be helpful to have a guy friend to run something by—even if it’s just to tell you you’re crazy and overthinking something a prospective paramour said. Bollywood Casanova, a somewhat new friend of mine, is a prime example. Though we started talking with the intention of dating, we’ve since become good friends and now in exchange for the standing offer to be his wing woman, he has kind of become a second opinion on my dating life. Sometimes when I start to doubt that things in my dating life could really be going as well as they are, he’s there to essentially tell me to get ahold of myself. S of course has done this countless times as well, but there’s something to be said for having a guy call you out for being down on yourself or over-analytical.
My wing man and best male friend who we’ll call Jack, was a real time saver when it came to understanding the intentions and meanings behind male behavior and text messages. It was refreshing to know that he would always tell it to me straight, even if it stung a little. In the many times he’s reviewed text screenshots and cryptic social media posts and responded, “I’ve said/done that before, here’s what it really means…” he’s probably saved me hundreds of hours of strenuous conversation, a handful of pointless dates, and possibly even a bad relationship or two. However, this information should be taken with a grain of salt, lest you run around New York using your new-found translator’s advice to brush off what may be genuine male interest because “he’s just not that into you” (see Miranda Season 6, Episode 4).
Now before you even think it, not all guy friends fall into the “nice guys finish last” category. Sometimes the awkward and affable Jon Cryer character does get Molly Ringwald IRL. Friendship, in my opinion, should be a basis of every romantic relationship. That said, women and men can and should also be able to be just friends. It’s a win-win situation where each person gets a look into the psyche of the other gender.
Over the course of six seasons of “Sex and the City,” we’ve see all variations on the male-female relationship. Carrie and Charlotte made besties with Stanford and Anthony, Miranda and Steve went from dating to best friends to married, Samantha kept things casual with her sexual partners, and Carrie and Big maintained one of the most complicated-yet-rewarding relationships of the show. These men added to the depth of the show by challenging the girls’ assumptions, calling out self-destructive behavior, and providing a type of affection and encouragement just outside the realm of the mighty female companions. While the male-female relationships occupy an important part in each of the women’s lives, I think Big said it best before flying to Paris to bring Carrie home when he tells Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha, “You're the loves of her life and a guy's just lucky to come in fourth.”
A positive group of friends is one where you are each an independent, powerful person in your own right, adding your light to the others of your friends’. This is what Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte are like; and what S and our friend Kim and I have found in our own group.
The most impressive part of this companionship is that despite each woman being strong and leaving her own mark on the world, she is never judged for going through a hard time. Each character maintains the same level of respect and love from her best friends no matter what she is going through. True, you may have a difference in opinion or learn something a little shocking about your girls (see Season 5, Episode 4) but it only serves to challenge your biases while reaffirming your love for the women who live their lives unabashedly and allow you to do the same.
If the girls of “Sex and the City” nor S and my personal anecdotes weren’t enough to convince you, I leave you with this thought from Mindy Lahiri in Mindy Kahling’s show “The Mindy Project”: “A best friend isn’t a person, it’s a tier.”
If you only ever had one best friend—one person you were that close to—I don’t think you’d ever learn much about yourself, differing perspectives, etc. A small, but diverse tier of best friends are like the needles on a compass. Some may even appear as polar opposites (take Samantha and Charlotte for instance), but as your friends their worldviews and values, and the differences therein, matter, and can often shape you as a person.
Dedicated to our best friend Kim: