This final season of “Sex and the City” finds three of our ladies in committed relationships: Miranda has married Steve; Charlotte married Harry; and even Samantha has started referring to Smith as her boyfriend. But should series star Carrie Bradshaw follow her friends down the path toward a committed relationship? In other words, for a show that celebrates single women, should a happy ending equal marriage?
In season four, when she realized she didn’t want to marry Aidan, Carrie quipped, “Why do we even have to get married? Aside from the not wanting to die alone thing — which is something I think about, I admit.”
This season of “Sex and the City” has been all about that “not wanting to die alone thing” for Carrie. First there was Berger. He was sweet and they had great chemistry — although not so great sex.
Yet there was something forced about Carrie’s eagerness in wanting him to be her next great man. Her enthusiasm didn’t seem real — it was as if she just really wanted to have someone in her life. In the first episode of this season, when Aidan announced that he’d gotten married and had a son, she retorted, “I have a date.”
In the six years of the show, even though Carrie has dated other men, there have really only been four serious contenders: Big, Aidan, Berger, and Aleksandr. She’s watched her friends, even Miranda, who always seemed the least likely to pair off, do exactly that. It’s natural that she’d want to do the same.
Yet, it’s hard to watch Carrie — who’s become like a mirror for all of us single women who don’t want a relationship that’s based simply on fear of dying alone — finish out her television existence with a man like Aleksandr, a man who doesn’t get her sense of humor, and, as she’s managed to mention in almost every episode, a man who she doesn’t have a thing in common with.
Aleksandr seemed to sense her fears when trying to prod her to go to Paris with him. He asked “What do you want to come home to? What do you want your life to be?”
Walk away from both menIt's time for Carrie to move on. At 38, how much longer could she go on writing a column about being single in New York?
In a recent episode, Enid, her boss at Vogue, and former party girl Lexi, both painted a sad picture of what single life could be like for her as she ages in New York. For Enid, it’s having only a “wading pool” of eligible men to choose from and for Lexi it’s shrieking in the middle of a party, “Doesn’t anyone know what fun is anymore?”
How nice to escape all those fears by running off to Paris and having your entire escape completely paid for by someone who gladly refers to himself as your “lover.” It’s that “Officer and a Gentleman” fantasy of having a wonderful man stride into your office and sweep you away from your mundane life and all your problems while all your coworkers applaud. Sign me up.
And yet, it’s hard to picture Carrie wandering around Aleksandr’s Paris hotel room, making jokes he doesn’t laugh at, hanging out with groups of his snooty friends — who will inevitably ask, “What is it that you do?” — while rearranging her shoes for kicks.
As I listened to Miranda urge Carrie to “come home,” in the second-to-last episode, my heart was right there with her, wanting Carrie to hop the next plane back. Yet should she really return to New York when all her friends’ lives seem to have moved on? Can Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte still be the family to her that they’ve always been when they all have lives of their own?
The heart of the show has always been the friendships — that these four women would be each others' soulmates instead of counting on men to fill this role. Perhaps what Carrie’s really afraid of has less to do with finding a man than with losing her soulmates to theirs.
And so when the time comes and she faces the inevitable choice between Big and Aleksandr, here’s hoping that she fights her fears and walks away from them both. Whether she stays in Paris or goes back to New York, I hope that in sickness and in health, and through weddings and children’s birthday parties, Carrie’s friends will remain her family and that being single will simply be a box to check on some form instead of defining who she is.
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