Wednesday, June 9

Suburban Girl vs. Urban Women: The Top Nine Things I Have In Common with the Women of SATC

(Your sharp-eyed selves will notice that I couldn't come up with ten.)

So before we delve into the episodes themselves, let's dispense with some introductory pleasantries, shall we?

The first pleasantry being the subject of this post--the very tenuous grounds on which I can claim any commonalities with the women (forgive me, in the show's chosen parlance--the problematicness of which we will discuss in more depth anon)--the girls of SATC. Just so you know, in no particular order, these are:

1) Like the ladies, I'm white, straight, and privileged by my class. (A veritable unholy trinity of privilege!) Though my class privilege is more of the middle-class, "my parents sent me to art classes as a kid, I got to go to college, 1) at all, and 2) without getting landed with crippling, life-long debt" variety, not of the stratospheric, Paris-Hilton-esque,-"whichever BMW shall I drive today?" kind on display in SATC. But still. When Peggy McIntosh sends out invitations to her annual White Privilege picnic, I am most certainly assured of receiving an invitation. (I always bring my famous Cobb salad--with a generous side-helping of GUILT.)

2) I like pretty shoes and clothes (though I buy almost all of mine at thrift stores, and if my stern Scottish forbearers heard me even contemplating paying more than $100 for any single item of clothing, they would rise up from their graves to strike their stern Scottish palms against my soft Americanized head--HARD. One cannot expect mercy from Scottish Presbyterians, after all.)

3) Like Carrie, I was an English major in college. (Okay, in all fairness, the show never actually says that's what Carrie studied in school, but you know she was an English major--do you honestly think she had her shit sufficiently together to be a journalism student--those dynamic, capable people, with their unyielding deadlines and their concrete career goals? No, I thought not.)

4) Like Miranda, I have red hair. (Except, mine is not dyed red, but grown red. And notably... not set off by Cynthia Nixon's beauty. Also, I did not go to Harvard Law School. Or Harvard Anything School, for that matter. But I have physically been on Harvard's campus, if that counts. My, but it is pretty!)

5) Like Charlotte, I... hmmm, this is a tough one. "Am a hyper-traditionalist who thinks that marriage and motherhood is the sole path to fulfillment for the womenfolk?" Hmmm, not so much. "An Episcopalian princess raised in the lap of luxury in some posh corner of Connecticut"? Nope, not that either. "Someone who thinks Tiffany jewelry is really sparkly and pretty"? Ahhh, ding ding ding, we have a winner! Though unlike Charlotte, if I ever get married (one) or sport an engagement ring (two), it shall not be coming from that particular establishment. (Maybe from some lady named Tiffani, who sells rings out of the trunk of her car...?)

6) Like Samantha, I... oh, jeepers, this one's even tougher, who has anything in common with Samantha? "Have dated high-powered business magnates"? Nope. "Have engaged in outlandish sexual escapades, while making sometimes amusing, sometimes embarrassing puns about the male anatomy"? Still no. Well, I... feel that women's sexual pleasure is important, and that women ought not to be shamed or demeaned for pursuing it? Ha HA. And here you thought I'd be stumped.

7) I have never lived in NYC, but I have always dwelt near its magnificence--growing up in the charming suburbs of New Jersey (if you say or think anything against New Jersey here, consider yourself permanently banned from reading this blog--sir or madam, I bid you good day!), and now live in a charming Pennsylvania town. (Those born and raised here sometimes call Philadelphia "the city," which... no. I love Philly as much as the next gal--vegan cheesesteaks, oh my goodness--but New York and only New York is "the city," mes amies.)

8) I have had a number of "painful at the time, amusing when recounted to one's friends, in retrospect" romantic misadventures. (Don't let me forget to tell you about the bloke who used to e-mail me in the persona of his pets--"Countess Van Fluffy loves that new shirt you wore yesterday, and hopes to see you, and it, again soon!", etc., or the gentleman who brought his grandmother's engagement ring to our third date, because "it's useful to know right off the bat if this fits." It didn't, by the way--thank you, unattractively prominent knuckles, you save me from peril yet again!)

9) I have reached the age (28 and three quarters, at last count) at which many of my dear friends are happily partnered (and mazel tov, seriously, y'all make wonderful couples, and I had fun shopping for posh kitchen implements for you--the use of which still baffles me--I really did) and my ongoing single state is beginning to be regarded with suspicion by society, generally and some people I have had the misfortune to encounter, specifically. Like the man who, when doing my taxes a few years ago, made me repeat numerous times that I was, in fact, 26, unmarried, and still in grad school (a troubling combination, indeed), shaking his head in consternation all the while. Or the occasional person I meet at a dinner party who wants to use me as a test case for their pet thesis, tentatively entitled "Why Feminism Has Ruined Women's Lives." ("I mean, if feminism means the freedom to, like, never find a man or experience abiding love, is that really FREEDOM? I don't think that's what the suffragettes were fighting for, you know.") Wise words!

10) (There isn't really a ten, it just feels tidier to include one.) So, as you can see, my connections to the show (and the city and lifestyle it represents) are all pretty tenuous--I will never have a closet as deliriously full or a makeup kit as expertly assembled as any of the women of SATC. But I cannot say that this troubles me, too much. I'll stick to living in my delightful little corner of PA, and wearing clothes which neither break the bank nor pinch the middle, thankyouverymuch. But watching urban fantasies from my cozy perch in suburbia? Oh, yes, please.


  1. #7 -- OK, I live *in* Philadelphia and I still call New York "the city." It's just ... it's just the right thing to do.

    #8 -- Yikes! Prominent knuckles for the win.

    #9 -- Sounds like it's high time to start doing your own taxes, Ms Holly. Tax planning takes some expertise, yes. Tax preparation only requires third- or fourth-grade math skills. If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, you can file your own taxes. It's true!

  2. I appreciate the fact that you used the word "y'all" in #9.

    Countess Van Fluffy says that you have some dating stories to share! I haven't heard about these two charming gents before!

  3. Kelli - I love "y'all," it is so much more elegant and charming than "you guys"! (Also, referring to women as "you guys"... annoying.) Even though I am a Yankee, I love that darned word.

    Jen (which, yay, so glad you're here, by the way) - 1) love that even in dear Philly, you still recognize The City, and 2) it was actually that bloke who inspired me to buy my first TurboTax. I was like, "I am a single grad student who can, indeed, follow simple instructions. Take THAT, sir."

  4. 1 - Being from New York City, I say "you'se" (with the accent).

    2 - I did an art piece on "White Privilege" for an exhibit years back.

    3 - Disappointed that you are not at least a closeted bisexual. You'd be a great catch in the L-World.

    Another brilliant entry Holly! I enjoyed that very much.

  5. Oh btw, I agree with "Countess Van Fluffy", looks like you got some good stories you need to share with the class. Well, THIS class.

    (and seriously, his pet's name was "Countess Van Fluffy"? That's even too gay for ME...)

  6. That evil Taxman story reminds me of the episode where Miranda buys her apt. "Is the downpayment coming from your father?" "Nope - just me."

    Having gone between NYC and Philly for years, I've never heard anyone refer to the latter as "The City" - blasphemous!! A good way to identify transplants...

  7. 1) Seriously, Philly is lovely, but "the city" it ain't.

    2) Lisa, I think I actually went back and re-watched that episode post-taxman incident, just to make myself feel better!

    3) I'm a fan of "you'se" as well, that also pops up in my native Jersey!

    4) Names of all innocent cats have been changed to protect their anonymity - the name "Countess Van Fluffy" came purely from my own mind. Though I reserve the right to use it as nickname for my future kitties, because I think it's cute.

    5) Oooh, I want to see the White Privilege art piece, Cindy! I taught the McIntosh article to my students this past semester, and... they were not big fans!

  8. Open mouth, insert foot, lol. Didn't mean to sound all jerky, as a kitty pseudonym that's great! Just that I'd honestly be concerned if anyone of my friends were dating a (straight) man who named his pets that, lol.

  9. Not at all, I was seeking to make the kitty name Over the Top ridiculous, glad I succeeded :)If any pet owner named their kitty that, and then insisted on having said kitty wear a little miniature tiara... at that point, I think we'd be fully justified in calling Kitty Protective Services!