It is true. I turned thirty last year and was still a virgin. Not the regular kind you understand. With two children already that would be rather hard to convince people of. I was a Sex and the City virgin. I had never watched a single episode – Carrie Bradshaw and friends had yet to even reach first base with me, let alone penetrate my regular television habits.
It’s not that I had particularly gone out of my way to avoid it, rather that the premise as I understood it never really appealed – thin New York women talking about shoes and obsessing about men? Not really my cup of tea. (or martini cocktail even). ‘Ergh, you don’t want to watch THAT,’ one of my most feminist friends declared ‘you’ll just end up feeling fat and poor’. I imagined the characters as shallow and materialistic, concerned more with the attainment of ideal weights than career goals. Of course I should have known better than to let preconceptions get in the way – surely the first rule of an open minded woman is not to judge a TV series by the cover of its DVD box set? Turns out I was already unknowingly guilty of one of the things the show sets out to teach us – don’t judge on appearances and do not stereotype.
Anyway, then I turned 30. And found myself single. And yes, I admit that my first year of single-dom was fairly expensive, shoes and accessories wise. No coincidence maybe then that I found myself craving some reassurance and Sky-plusing an episode of SATC, just to see… I felt strangely guilty, but also excited. Like a secret first kiss with someone off limits that you’re not sure you should really have ever gone out with in the first place. Was this an abandonment of my feminist principles? My finger hovered over the button on the remote control.
It probably seems odd to have been attaching so much significance to a TV show. Perhaps it was that I had waited so long. For years SATC has enjoyed such an iconic status and so many women seem to love it. What if it just didn’t do it for me? Or what if it did? Maybe that would be worse. Everything I knew about the programme was second hand and seemed to revolve relentlessly around the wardrobe of Sarah Jessica Parker. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to reconcile my possible enjoyment of the show with my belief in women as more than just the clothes they wear. Was my watching of this single episode a symbol of my knowing acceptance of a hyper-capitalist patriarchy? Was hyper-capitalism even a real thing?
One thing was clear, I was thinking about the whole thing way too much. How could I expect myself to enjoy it when I was so anxious? So I had a glass of wine, lay back on the sofa and got down to business. And Oh…My…God. How had I not done this before? It’s like my whole life to that point was meaningless. OK, that is exaggerating a tad perhaps. I won’t say my first time was the best – I still was feeling a little bit uncomfortable and not sure if I should really be enjoying it or not, but after a few attempts I felt able to really let myself go.
And now I really do feel ashamed. Not because I am enjoying it (if I have been taught anything it’s that no girl should feel bad about having fun) but because I judged. For over ten years I shunned Carrie and friends, assuming them to be vacuous, empty-headed women, who would have nothing to teach me. I stereotyped another woman – the ultimate betrayal.
And now it is an average three times a week fixture in my life. A reliable lift when I’m in need of succour, inspiration or just plain entertainment. And do I feel bad? Hell no! Even when my best bit turns out to be admiring another amazing outfit I revel in it – because as I now realise, a girl always has to put her own pleasure first right?By: Josephine Middleton, 08.07.2009 | Comments (6)