It only took a week or so for another fantasy film to bump Indiana Jones off the top spot
at the box office. And I’m not branding “Sex and the City” a fantasy just because I’m a
guy who would rather run headlong into a parked bus than sit through two and a half hours of women talking about fashion and sex. I even heard two female critics on the radio this week discussing the notion that the film and TV show represent a kind of fantasy of cosmopolitan living and the unbreakable bonds of friendship that transcend every other kind of relationship. Anyone who has never heard from a friend of theirs (male or female) again after they meet the right guy or gal knows just what a fantasy that can be.
The bind that a man finds himself in, especially a man caught up in traditional ideas of
success, and one who may have neglected to pay his wife the proper attention over the
years, is whether or not it is permissible to criticize “Sex and the City” in any way at
all. To say that its characters are self-absorbed leaves one open to being told that
they just don’t understand women. To say that the characters represent the same
unattainable ideals as supermodels only labels me a retrograde chauvinist pig. And to
say that it does not reflect reality only points me up as someone who is hopelessly out
So, the only recourse I have is to propose a version of “Sex and the City” in which the
genders of the leading characters are transposed. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and
Samantha become Barry, Mark, Charlie and Samuel. Next, give each guy the latest
fashions from the pages of GQ, and a special affinity for footwear, then have them
complain to each other as much as they want about the women they date, with the
underlying subtext being that the only people they really want to be with are each other.
Wait a minute; I don’t know how this happened. I just described what women already know. Come to think of it, I better see “Sex and the City” after all, so I can figure out what life is really like.