Lessons learned from Sex and the City

A weekend spent depressingly ill at home meant I caught up on a lot of TV viewing. I don't really tend to watch too much TV, and I virtually never watch it by myself, so having a whole weekend of it is a little bit of overkill, really. I hadn't the energy or the brainpower to do anything else though - both of those were fully occupied making sure I had tissues and throat lozenges surrounding me every second of the day. I did enjoy re-watching most of the second season of Sex and the City, though. I've watched the first season so often I can virtually talk along with the characters, but the second season was a bit more of a mystery to me. Who knew that Steve came onto the scene so early? Or that Carrie and Big would get together and break up again*?

They're laughing because their shoes are so cheap. Image: Owning Pink

The most interesting part of the season, for me, was how different Manhattan is in 2012 when compared to their 1999 world. It's not just the obvious differences, which have more to do with how TV portrays the life of a single writer living and dating in the big city (unrealistically glamorously, in case you hadn't guessed) but the little ones, which don't seem enough of a big deal for the writers to bother lying about them, but that I can't quite imagine to be fully accurate.

Number one is working hours. Remember when Miranda's dating that horrible, bad-tempered, shouty lawyer**? He makes partner. Yay! (Kind of yay. Bad people don't deserve good things). So she congratulates him, and he responds by snarling that he's real excited about getting to work 60 hours a week for virtually the same salary.

Wait. Hang on a minute. 60 hours a week?

Sometimes - and it's not as infrequently as I'd like - I work 60 hours a week, and no matter how insignificant that (fake) lawyer thought his salary was, I guarantee it was more than what I make, even if you directly compared his 1999 figure to my 2012 one. Pretty much everyone I know here often pulls 60 hour work weeks. I asked one of my friends who is a lawyer, and he laughed long and hard. Later, he told a story in which he didn't leave the office until 2:30. As in am. How he feels about that is a different matter, but I'm pretty sure he'd love to make partner without working 60 hours (at least) work weeks. Did Sex and the City just get this grossly wrong, or are lawyers, and all of us in fact, just expected to put in more time now, for the same money? Is this because of the recession? In short, huh?

I can't even begin to answer that, or figure that one out, at least not while I'm still recovering from the dread cold of doom***. So we'll move onto a difference that I find a bit easier to grasp.

It's the cost of things. Some stuff is a lot cheaper. Carrie's shoes average a few hundred a pair, and she wears really nice shoes. I don't think shoes that cost well in excess of a thousand dollars existed then - which makes no sense, because 1999 = internet bubble pre crash = everyone's already a millionaire many times over on paper, and 2012 = longest recession ever = work as hard as you possibly can, and if you're lucky, someone might flick a little bit of money your way.

Some stuff, however, seems much more expensive. I'm thinking specifically of when Miranda tries to buy Steve a suit (sob - the suit that ruined it all****) and they she picks out an $1800 one. You can certainly spend $1800 on a suit - and much, much more, should you want to - but you certainly don't need to. There's a lot of difference between an aged gold corduroy suit and an $1800 one, but was there always? Is it really a thing that they couldn't have gone to J.Crew and spent $500 or so on a nice enough, completely serviceable suit that would have been fine for her law party?

It is possible, of course, that yes, that could have been done quite easily in 1999, but Miranda just didn't think of it because she's wealthy and successful and her lifestyle creep has completely obliterated her memory . It's also possible that the writers just wanted to cut Steve out and get some dramatic tension going, because Miranda, of course, is not real. I think I'm smart because I just worked out a way for Miranda and Steve to work through the problem and stay together (hint - it's called compromise) but I'm also the one trying to rewrite history for two people who don't exist, so...yeah. This is why I don't watch a lot of TV.

Also, because it would be easy to now be just a little bit dissatisfied with my life, where I work all the hours for not all the money, and can't afford any of the Manolo Blahniks, or $1800 suits. Thankfully, I'm not, because I don't wear suits (and H1 has a very nice one already that is not gold, corduroy, or too expensive for our means) and I kind of feel like if I did care, I have time. The longest recession can't last forever*****, and nor can this cold, or Sex and the City Season 2.

*The answer to this latter question is everyone, obviously. Because that's what they do, always.

**Don't worry if the answer's no because you need to catch up on SatC Season 2 also - I'll explain all you need to know. He was shouty, and bad-tempered, and Miranda dated him.

***H1 says I had manflu. He was impressed, as he didn't think women could get that.

****Steve is totally my favorite male character, closely followed by Aidan.

*****Right? RIGHT?!