Saturday, 7 June 2008

Sex and the City and Me

First of all, what happened to the font? It changed. I didn't ask it to. Stupid Blogger.

In small news, there will be spoilers. I warned ya. I went to see Sex and the City despite not watching the TV series ever. Because I'm such a gore-and-violence wimp, I have to jump on pretty much anything else if I want to go to the cinema. I quite liked it, but at the same time it kind of depressed me.

OK, the likes. I liked seeing a film about women. I like seeing a film about women who look like actual people (if very attractive actual people) as opposed to the sort of waxy idols you usually find yourself watching. I liked all the insane clothes. I really liked them all piled on the bed listening to Walk This Way while Carrie tried on a load of her old clothes. I liked the little dig at the iPhone, which looks daft to me. I liked Samantha's story arc. I loved that she bought the dog because it humped things.

The dislikes. Small ones first. The bag Carrie bought for her assistant was beyond gross. I'm sorry, but if she's an extremely poor label fanatic, get her a classic bag. Don't get her a nasty pink/purple/gold piece of ick. I know she loved it, but ew. I didn't like either of Carrie's wedding dresses. Even I, with my extremely limited knowledge of the show, know about her normal taste in clothes. Nicely put, it's 'eclectic', otherwise, it's 'bonkers'. All the Vogue wedding dresses were nasty, but the one she chose was big and white and boring. Yes, she wore a bird in her hair, so what? And when she actually did get married, it was worse. It was boring, it was matronly, it was a bad length on her, and considering how big a deal they make out of Carrie being a label queen, it seemed wrong to me that she got a 'no-name' dress. Even with a pair of blue shoes, it was boring.

I didn't like Big at all. His acting was wooden, his character was stilted and unsympathetic, and were his eyebrows always that pointy? It was really distracting. He looked kind of evil all the way through.

More seriously, I didn't like that the only couple not to break up at some point were barely ever seen together, and I really didn't like that Miranda and Carrie both forgave their errant men. One sleeps with another woman (which everyone else in the film makes out to be not much of a problem), and one pisses off and abandons her at the altar, and they get forgiven because love is all great and stuff. Oh, and it was kind of the woman's fault too, y'know, for not having sex enough and for wanting a big wedding.

I mean, I get that if your partner goes off sex it must be frustrating. But the film was striving to inform me that Miranda had to take some of the responsibility for Steve's cheating. Why? Why did we have to hear "you didn't give me much of a choice" so many times? I have zero tolerance for cheating at the best of times, but if my partner cheated on me and then tried to blame it, in whole or in part, on what I was or wasn't doing, I would kill him. If my friends tried to tell me it was no big deal and I should stop being such a drama queen, they would be in huge amounts of trouble. I get that they have a long history, and a child, but I just do not understand the mindset that adultery is less bad or less significant if you've been together a long time. I really don't understand.

And really, forgiving a man for fucking off on the wedding day? No way. Forgiving a man for fucking off apparently because she had a veil over her face and didn't turn around when he would have liked her to? Really? And then blaming that on the big wedding? I just don't get it. If you're going to say that a wedding is 'girls' stuff' and not get involved, don't fucking complain when it's not exactly what you want. He could have said what he wanted (just the two of them at whatever the American equivalent of a registry office is), but he didn't. He left it all up to her then got snotty when she didn't plan what he wanted. He got all weird because she didn't answer her phone on the morning of the wedding, then left because she didn't turn around. How much effort would it have taken to call to her out of the car window? And she actually took some of the responsibility for it. I saw the film with two friends, and when Carrie and Big made up, one of them started clapping in her seat. I was just disgusted (as was Friend Two, who I suspect would chain me up in a cellar and throw wet sponges at me before she'd let me go back to a man who'd done that to me, and that's far more comforting then you'd think).

I left the cinema thinking Is that love? It's OK if he cheats, it's OK if he leaves you at the altar because he's a freak, as long as you love him? I got the impression this was meant to be a liberated viewpoint, as in it's a huge mistake to leave your husband if he fucks up once and marriage can overcome infidelity in these modern times, and look how happy they were once they dispensed with the traditional marriage, but it came across to me like Doormat Central. If a man can get you to love him, he can do what he likes. If a man ever betrays you, it's at least 50% your fault, for not wanting what he wants, or wanting something he professes not to care about but actually has a very specific plan which you must extract from his mind via telepathy. If men aren't happy, they won't tell you. And if you don't use your telepathy and sort it out, they will act out and shake you to your very core and it'll be your fault for not understanding them. I felt lonely, and kind of insecure and scared. I don't believe any of this stuff, but if such a message catches you off-guard when you're in a vulnerable place, when you've gone in prepared to invest a little bit of yourself in the characters' personal relationships, it can worm its way in and throw you off-balance, and it has, somewhat. I don't believe my partner is a cheater, or a leave-you-at-the-altar scumbag maggot, but apparently if he was, this new liberated world would think it was my fault. My wedding dress is too big, my sex drive is too small, I'm too fat, I'm too busy, I'm not busy enough. My fault.

I obviously have the wrong values for this particular film (which, yes, I am taking too seriously. I do that), but is it just these writers, or is it a trend? Am I going to come across more people who think cheating is not a big deal and/or the fault of the cheated-on? Does the world think I have a responsibility to plan the wedding my partner wants without his involvement? Is it me that's wrong? Should I be thinking, "Yeah, sex once, no problem, doesn't have to get in the way"? I don't know.

I'm glad the film was made, and I'm glad it's doing so well, because hopefully it will start to wedge open some doors for more films based around women's friendships, and proper relationships as opposed to Disney for humans, and also because on a superficial level, I did enjoy it quite a lot. But it's shaken me a little, and I wonder if maybe there's some questioning I need to do.

This post has been brought to you by the Maudlin Society. Sarcastic ranting will resume in a few days. Thank you.

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