I came to Sex and the City late (I came to sex late, but that’s another story). I began watching right at the end, when they started the countdown, because I thought I might have missed something, some kind of TV landmark. I don’t like missing landmarks. I’ve seen lots of them: the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth; the Hungarian uprising; the ’68 Revolution in Paris – I was there for part of it; the First Man on the Moon, etc. etc. Although, SATC can’t possibly be compared to those momentous events, it seemed a shame to miss it completely. So I watched the end, got hooked and then watched all the repeats, which ended the other day.
Most of the time I couldn’t identify with any of those four young women – even if one forgets about the age difference, none of them was like me, but there were things about life that I could easily understand and sympathize with, none more so than in the episode about the shoes.
I know, I know, lots of episodes featured shoes in a prominent role; I mean the one where Carrie goes to a party at a newly-pregnant friend’s – a baby shower. She’s bringing a beautiful present; she’s wearing a very expensive pair of Manolos and she’s asked to leave them at the door. When she wants to go home, she discovers someone else has made off with them and the hostess refuses to give her the money because she says paying that much for a pair of shoes is preposterous. She makes it sound like it’s some kind of crime.
There ensues an interesting reflection on lifestyle choices. Carrie says she’s not married so she hasn’t been the recipient of millions of pressies on the occasion of her wedding; she hasn’t had a child yet so … same thing, yet she’s expected to buy presents for her friends every single time. The only way she manages to get the money for her stolen shoes is by registering at Manolo Blahnik’s, announcing her “marriage to herself” and sending the details of the one present she wants to her friend, who finally gets the message.
I’m not married; I don’t have any children; I don’t have the money to buy Manolos, but over the years, like Carrie, I’ve been expected to furnish other people’s kitchens and supply their kids with toys. The daughter of the woman, for whom I worked full-time for 15 years but who sends me work now only once a year and doesn’t speak to me at all in the interval, is pregnant. Her other daughter has had two kids already and, of course, I bought presents for both babies. Now I’m expected to fork out for the other one. Has Mummy ever given me anything, except stress? Nope!
It’s not the money; it’s the principle of the thing. Oh, and what about mothers who get time off in the workplace? I don’t resent them having it; I resent the fact that women who are not mothers can’t have the same time off for other reasons. As if there was still only one acknowledged role for a woman.
Who’s responsible? Who should I slap?