I re-watch Sex and the City at least once a year. Each time I make my way through those six seasons I have a new realization – Miranda was the best character, most of the outfits Carrie wore were ridiculous, why didn’t they make Charlotte more well rounded?, Samantha was really a gem- you get the picture. This viewing’s realization was the following:
Carrie shouldn’t have ended up with Aidan or Big.
I used to think Carrie should’ve been with Aidan because he was more emotionally available. He showed up for her, waxed her floors, wanted her to meet his parents, and blah, blah. But honestly, Aidan wasn’t good for Carrie because he tried to change her and they just didn’t fit. From the non-smoking (which I mean not a bad thing) to getting her to his house in Sufferin’ (hello, clues) to pushing her to marry him when she wasn’t ready (ultimately losing her), Aidan just was not it for Carrie. Available doesn’t always mean right.
Now to Mr. Big. He was emotionally available and made/led/drove (?) Carrie to chase him around the city for episode on episode, season on season. She never had him ya know? He could reach her; but she couldn’t get him. Not until he realized he was actually losing her when she moved to Paris with Alexsander, a place she wanted to go with him but he bigly screwed that up. Big didn’t realize what he had until he lost it and even then it took him forever to figure out he wanted it plus what he needed to do to secure it. He played with Carrie for six years. Dating. Not. Dating again. Not. Friends. Not. Moving to Napa. Moving back to the city. Heart open. Heart closed. He didn’t deserve her, but he got her in the end.
As I was watching, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would have made for better TV and been a better lesson for women and girls everywhere if they didn’t end up together. What would it have meant for Carrie to have ended the series single? With a life full of friends, her writing, New York, and memories of past lovers only.
The lesson I learned this binge-watch around?
Love doesn’t have to be easy, but it shouldn’t be an obstacle course.
Destruction isn’t beautiful. It’s tragic. And at a certain point, Carrie couldn’t blame Mr. Big or Aidan anymore. She could only blame her propensity for thinking they(she) changed. Carrie went back to Big when he had done nothing to deserve it and got hurt how many times? Aidan let Carrie back in his life after she cheated on him and she still broke his heart. I’m not saying people don’t or can’t change. I’m saying secure some receipts instead of just assuming they have. Someone coming back around rarely means they’re better and have learned from whatever went down the first time. It’s more likely to mean they didn’t get enough and want to see how far they can push the envelope now. How much more pain they can cause. How much more sex or food or you they can beg, borrow and steal. Means you looked real fine at the function they saw you at so they want another piece. Stop taking it as a compliment. Start taking them for what they are. When someone shows you who they are, no one but you is to blame if you don’t believe them.
If nothing else, Carrie and Aidan teach us that. Carrie and Mr. Big teach us that.
You might get the girl or guy in the end (after all, Carrie did), but it’s high time we start talking about what it takes to get there and reject a narrative that says you have to stay or prove how deep your love is in relation to how much shit you can take.
I truly believe that Carrie shouldn’t have ended up with Big or Aidan. Thankfully, we can learn from her mistakes. Write our own columns. Be a more developed and flushed out character than she was. Be a Miranda, find a Steve, and move to Brooklyn.
My point is, destruction, self-inflicted or mutually assured isn’t what love should look like – on TV or in real life. Basically, Samantha was probably right all along…