For someone who writes about sex, love and relationships, Carrie Bradshaw has a tenuous grasp of matters of the heart.
As she stares dreamily out the window of her Upper East Side apartment each week, the platitudes she taps out on her laptop have little bearing on her own life. “Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back,” she writes in one episode. “Maybe, you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”
Nice sentiment, but how about taking some of your own advice? Carrie loves shoes. Carrie loves Vogue. Carrie loves New York. Carrie loves the idea of being in love. But Carrie, it seems, also loves getting into romantic jams, putting herself into no-win situations, where the only way to get out is to sabotage the relationship. Choosing the wrong fella to begin with makes it easier to emotionally detach when it goes sour, which it inevitably does. By not learning any lessons along the way, Carrie blew her chance with the one guy who could have given her not only everything she wanted, but everything she needed.
Of course, she’s a fictional character, and made-up people tend to have to struggle in order for us to find them interesting. But, come on. Now that "Sex and the City" is sailing off into the sunset, why hasn’t Carrie been able to find — and keep — somebody worthwhile?
You’d think that after six seasons and more than two dozen potential suitors, Carrie Bradshaw would have found herself in a successful relationship by now. Over 94 episodes, she has dated, by rough count, nearly 30 guys. Most of them were full-of-themselves, high-maintenance dudes. Some were older. Many were successful. One was Jon Bon Jovi.
Were none of them relationship-worthy? Uh, more or less, yeah. The problem, it seems, is the 38-year old writer’s penchant for choosing overly dramatic, unstable men, and the ugly pool of potential significant others in which she swims.
Multiple Mr. Wrongs
Current squeeze Aleksandr Petrovsky is a prime example of the many poor romantic choices Carrie has made. The emotionally unavailable jet-setting Russian, with his nonplussed line delivery and pursed face, seems to barely tolerate Carrie’s presence, let alone provide her with some of the basic building blocks of a successful relationship. Sure, he got her a designer dress and a trip to Paris. But how about an occasional word of support? A grunt of acknowledgement? A kind word for her friends? Nyet.
The Road to Petrovsky has been littered with losers. High school sweetheart Jeremy seemed quirk-free at first, until he revealed that he had recently checked himself into a mental institution. Immature comic book artist Wade, sleazy agent Keith, alcoholic Patrick. Each of the men in her life possessed some barely-concealed imperfection that allowed Carrie to push away from them before she got too close. There was unfocused jazz musician Ray, flaky fashion photographer Paul, fetish-y politician Bill, unstable writer Jack Berger. She dumped them all. (Okay, technically, Berger was the one who did the breaking up, but that Post-It note was a preemptive strike — she was no doubt considering bailing within a few episodes.)
The one guy-of-the-week she found who was actually normal, a regular Joe named Ben, was pushed away by her incessant quest to find his fatal flaw. She never found it, but he got tired of her obsessive investigation, and sent her to the curb.
Most of the dates-of-the-week were mere placekeepers for the man who cast the largest and most consistent shadow over Carrie’s life: commitment-phobe Mr. Big. Maybe she was convinced – as are most viewers – that they were destined to limo ride off into the sunset together, and that’s why she kept gravitating to his impenetrable emotions and oversized ego. But, even if they do end up together at the end of the series, it can’t last. Yeah, throughout the series they kept getting back together. But, more important, they kept breaking apart.
Carrie's soulmateFor all the on-again-off-again histrionics and stealing around with Big, Carrie’s closest brush with romantic permanence came from an unexpected source. On the surface, lanky furniture designer Aidan was everything Carrie wasn’t. But really, he was exactly what she needed: a stable, levelheaded force to level out her bouncy flights of fancy.
To a part of Carrie, though, he was simply too stable. Too boring. He refinished her floors, she cheated on him with Big. Carrie sabotaged the relationship the second it got too real. Still, unflappable Aidan shook it off and eventually popped the question, and Carrie said yes. But while he may have forgiven her, he never really forgot, and they both realized that the trust had eroded to the point where the relationship was barely stitched together, and they parted. In her biggest romantic misstep, Carrie drove away the only man who ever really loved her for herself, the woman beneath the Dolce & Gabbana.
Episodes later, when she ran into Aidan, his furniture-designer wife, and his baby, Carrie caught a glimpse of what could have been her future. The little family wasn’t bemoaning how boring their lives had become; they were happy.
“So what are we going to do?” Carrie asked her girlfriends. “Sit around bars, sipping Cosmos and sleeping with strangers when we're 80?” Maybe you, Ms. Bradshaw. But the other three members of your quartet have taken great strides toward the proverbial white picket fence. They’ve already found their Aidans.
Kicking and screaming all the way, Miranda finally embraced stability, and a family, with nice guy Steve and baby Brady. Plus, she realized that a house — and a life — in Brooklyn isn’t as bad as she thought. Charlotte, after a bumpy ride with emotionally unavailable Trey, landed with stable, caring Harry. And even Samantha discovered that support and stability beat one-night stands and near-anonymous sex. Sure, she discovered it with a studly model/actor, but come on, this is Samantha we’re talking about.
Carrie needs to follow in her friends’ Manolo Blahniked footsteps and grow up. Her opportunity with Aidan is past, but if their relationship taught her anything, it’s that stable doesn’t have to mean boring, comfortable doesn’t have to mean regretful, and an emotionally accessible, regular guy can mean that she never needs to cry in her Cosmo again.
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