This is probably the strongest statement that could define Carrie and Big’s infamous on/off-again relationship. This Sex and The City life lesson shows us the true importance of closure. It is the “what ifs” that keep you up at night. A “No” is always better than a “Maybe”. Almost is always the saddest word.
“ As we drive along this road called life, occasionally a gal will find herself a little lost. and when that happens. I guess she has to let go of the coulda shoulda would buckle up and just keep going” Carrie Bradshaw
The theme with obsession of unfinished relationships resonates more with women because simply women need answers. That is the whole premise of the show 4 women deciphering their love life to one another. Men are okay with “never knowing” they can live with it, women can’t.
Women do let go and eventually they learn to live with it, but it’s a battle for them. Its funny men are afraid of “hurting women’s feelings”, so they will avoid it all costs. Yet “not knowing” hurts women more than confrontation ever could.
Rejection is a temporary feeling, being in limbo is a constant state of anxiety.
2) There Is No Better, Just Different
The main 4 characters alone prove this point. These women all equally fabulous, but incredibly different. This theme is most exemplified in the episode where “Carrie registered under Manolo Blanik”.
Carrie lost her shoes at her married friend’s home. The married friend shamed Carrie for her reckless spoiled lifestyle for spending $485 on shoes. Carrie began to question her life choices “Is it bad my life is filled with shoes and not children?”
Carrie’s married friend said she had “a real life” children, marriage, properties, expenses and didn’t have “free time” or the luxury to waste that much money on Manolos. Implying that Carrie’s life was essentially unfulfilled simply because she did not have the same things that she did.
Carrie was in her mid 30s, unmarried without children. Even with a thriving column, a successful book, an exciting life in the city, all those accomplishments meant nothing if it didn’t accompany a husband and a child.
While Carrie’s $485 shoes may seem ridiculous and irresponsible, Carrie does point out the fact to Charlotte that she has dropped a lot of money on gifts for her married friend’s life choices. She has boughten many engagement, wedding, and baby gifts in the past. Carrie states to Charlotte single people are missing out on the life celebratory gifts.
“Hallmark doesn’t make a ‘Congratulations, you didn’t marry the wrong guy’.
“Hi it’s Carrie Bradshaw I wanted to let you know that I am getting married to myself and oh I am registered at Manolo Blanik.” Carrie Bradshaw
3) Single And Fabulous!
Sex and the City (especially at this time in the late 90s and early 2000s ) normalized women in their 30s being single. They not only normalized they almost glamourized their unattached status.
“Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you, now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” Carrie Bradshaw
The show confronted sexist gender roles about women constantly. Miranda faces “single woman pity” when she buys her apartment. A moment that should be celebrated, a person buying their first property turns into a pity party for an unmarried woman living alone. They constantly ask her if her husband or father is helping with the downpayment, she states “it’s just her”. Instead of praising independent successful women, they look down on her.
“Why do we get stuck with the old maid and spinster, and men get to be bachelors and playboys.” Miranda Hobbs
Sex and the City taught us that it is okay to go out to a restaurant and dine alone, and most importantly “better alone than badly accompanied.”
4) Why Do Toxic Relationships Taste So Good?
“In love there is a fine line between pleasure and pain. In fact it’s a common belief that a relationship without pain is a relationship not worth having. To some pain implies growth. But how do we know when the growing pains stop? And the pain pains take over are we masochists or optimists if we continue to walk that fine line? When it comes to relationships how do you know when enough is enough?” Carrie Bradshaw
This is the attraction of wanting what you can’t have. This kind of love isn’t easy or comfortable, it is exciting and it makes you feel alive. The chase as toxic as it is- is the reason you stay. It is a rollercoaster high and once you have had a relationship like this, anything else will seem boring in comparison.
“Maybe all men are a drug. Sometimes they bring you down, and sometimes, like now, they get you so high.” Carrie Bradshaw
To sum this relationship up in one sentence it would be “a battle between what we know and what we feel.”. Even when all literal signs point that “He’s Just Not Into You”, he disappears, he stands you up, he doesn’t make an effort with your friends, he won’t sleepover, etc. Then all of sudden he does something to surprise you, and just like magic- you forget all the bad things about him and only focus on the good.
He does something so simple (that really should just be basic), but you are starving for his attention so anything feels like everything to you. This is when the sex overrides the logic.
“You slept with him that’s where the problems start, you start sleeping with him and rationalizing all the red flags.” Stanford Blatch
You think about how he held your hand, made your dinner, or he told you he loved you. You hold onto that hope of good in him, and you create this fantasy of him. The problem is “he COULD be that guy”.
Key word being “Could”, but he is only that guy 10% percent of the time, and you’re desperately holding onto that 10% hoping that one day it will be 100%. Next thing you know, you don’t know what part of your relationship is real, and what part you are “hoping to be real”. You are stuck caught in between the fantasy “of what could be” and the cold hard reality “of what is”.
“That you project this huge fantasy on him creating enormous expectations” Carrie Bradshaw
These fantasy expectations you weren’t creating them in your head from nothing (I promise you, you are not that crazy). You aren’t making this up in your head, he led you on just enough to keep you without the responsibility of having you.
He talks about your future in a vague enough way that gives him no accountability, but it was romantic enough to keep you holding onto this hope of your “so-called future” with him. He kept you hoping but made no promises. He held you in his arms without consequences.
“Did I really love Big, or was I addicted to the pain, the exquisite pain, of wanting someone so unattainable”. Carrie Bradshaw
When you can’t get something it automatically becomes more attractive. The love aspect in the relationship has now been replaced with the game aspect. All of a sudden you are so addicted to winning you forgot to check if the love was even real?
5) Never Settle For Anything Less Than Butterflies
I didn’t want to leave here on a bitter note. While SATC often portrayed the ugliness of dating in NYC, it also taught us the most important lesson of all- never settle.
Even when the reality of dating can be awful, disgusting, toxic, heartbreaking, they didn’t settle for that. These 4 women saw the truth in dating, but they knew they deserved better.
“Some people are settling down, some people are settling and some people are refusing to settle for anything but butterflies” Carrie Bradshaw
In the few final episodes of the series, we see Carrie at a crossroads. She sees all of her friends have moved on Miranda is married to Steve and they have a baby, Charlotte is happily married to Harry and they are adopting a baby girl, even Samantha has called Smith her “boyfriend.”
Carrie is scared she’s missed her chance on love and didn’t want to be single alone. She leaves New York to move to Paris with “The Russian”, but he’s not the one and she knows it. While she does come close to settling, she knows it just isn’t for her.
“I am someone who is looking for love. Real love, ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t live without each other, love.” Carrie Bradshaw
In the end, we learned “better to wait for the real thing, so you know it’s special”.