Tag Archives: Sex and the City

The Hard Facts: Realistic or Not, Friends Want “Sex”

It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.

“Ticket sales for the sequel to ‘Sex and the City’ are currently 81 percent of ticket sales happening on Fandango.com. … According to a survey Fandango issued Monday of more than 2,000 ticket buyers—of which 94% were women, the statement noted—nearly 80 percent of the moviegoers are going in groups with other women, while only 7 percent are going to bring a date.” (CNN.com, “’Sex and the City 2’ Ticket Sales ‘Looking Good’” May 25, 2010)

It cannot go unnoticed on this blog that Sex and the City 2 comes out at midnight tonight. These days, I feel like SATC—not the characters so much as the entire franchise—is at once my BFF and my nemesis. It’s perhaps the single most in-your-face pop culture model of female friendship, and thus serves as both the pinnacle of what I’m striving for as well as the driving force behind my without-gals-to-brunch-with-I-am-nothing-ness.

I’m not the only person who gets mixed messages from Carrie and friends. Feminists seem to vascillate between celebrating the show for empowering women and hating it for focusing so much on the need for a man. Upon the 2004 series finale, The Guardian wrote a piece in which a number of experts spoke out on the show’s impact and the only thing they each seemed to agree on was that ultimately it was more about friendship than it was about love:

“It’s almost given [women] permission to have female friendships that are more important than anything else.”

“Before feminism, women were told that they had to be wary of other women because they would steal your man. But what feminism was in part about was friendship between women, which is what Sex and the City shows.”

“What made Sex and the City worm its way into so many women’s hearts, I think, is the way that it foregrounds female friendship. That sounds counter-intuitive, given that it is meant to be about the hunt for a good man, but this show is intensely idealistic about the way that women can get unconditional love from one another.”

Let me be clear. I loved Sex and the City when it was on. I enjoyed the last movie, and already have plans to see the new one. I’m part of the nearly 80% going with friends—the same Chicago ladies I saw the last one with—though we might wear sweat pants as a general stand against stilettos at the movie theater. (According to that Fandango study, 53% percent of ticket buyers plan to dress up for the occasion, and I just can’t think of much that sounds less comfortable than watching a movie in heels. Yes, I know I’ll be sitting, but still.)

I’m excited to revisit my old onscreen friends, though nervous I might leave feeling more unfulfilled friendwise than when I got there. And this isn’t just my craziness. Social comparison theory says that “there is a drive within individuals to look to outside images in order to evaluate their own opinions and abilities.” The SATC gang is an image which many women use to evaluate their own friend situations. And though I think the deep friendships between all four women might not be entirely realistic, that doesn’t stop me from striving for something similar. I’m optimistic. I mean, I’m here, aren’t I?

Do you think the Sex and the City friendships are possible? Does watching the show/movie make you more satisfied with your female friendships or less? And would you ever be one of the 7% who are bringing a date??


Filed under Everything I Know I Learned on TV, Famous Friendships

It’s Real and It’s Deep

Over the weekend I came across a blog that linked back to me. The author, Jenn, is on a BFF search of her own. She writes, “Juggling work, kids, husbands, boyfriends and families while trying to develop friendships is much harder than it once was! The time I spend with my friends is time something else is not getting done – laundry, housework, yard work, painting, reading…and really I have a fairly tenuous grip on those things anyways! I recently ran across a new blog [this was me… thanks Jenn!] that is asking similar questions. And even though I had been thinking about this issue and in fact had written something last year, I never wanted to publish it because I felt a little, well, crazy. Even though we talk about making friends, and wish for deep connections with others, we don’t really talk about how or why.”

What Jenn says is spot on. People talk plenty about the importance of friendships. We celebrate the great ones. But when it comes to admitting that we want more, or that as adults we’re not entirely sure how to go about finding them—that making friends can be difficult, or hilariously awkward—we clam up. Why?

I think it’s because if you say to someone “I want more friends” what they often hear is “I have no friends.” There’s quite a difference. And wanting more friends must mean you’re lonely, and being lonely must mean you’re….sad.

The Sex and the Citys of the world have made it ok—even encouraged—to scream “I want a man!” from the rooftops. Why haven’t we given ourselves permission to do the same when it comes to friends? Jenn didn’t write her blog post last year because she was worried she sounded nutso. She thought she was the only one. And that’s what I keep hearing from women in the same situation. “I’m so glad I’m not crazy!” “It’s such a relief to hear I’m not alone!”

I toyed with the concept of this BFF search for a while. I knew I was eager to make more close friends locally, but, like Jenn, I felt crazy. I didn’t want people to think I was friendless. Or unhappy. I was neither.

Then I realized that the desire for social connection is universal and biological. As my friend Grace Adler would say, “It’s real and it’s deep.” (Granted she was talking about Jews and chicken, but it works.)  I learned there are plenty of women in the same boat and figured we might as well talk about it. But there are absolutely still days when I feel silly telling people about this quest. I say “I’m searching for a new BFF” and then “I do have close friends, it’s just lot of them live far away” in the same breath, before anyone can conclude I am friendless.

Why do you think women are embarrassed, or feel crazy, when we talk about wanting new friends? Why is it so awkward to admit we’re not sure where to start? What can we do to end the stigma?


Filed under Everything I Know I Learned on TV, The Search