Welcome back to Sex and the Psychological City. If you have read earlier posts, you are familiar with my confession that I was a hipper psychotherapist when my go-to girlfriends -- Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte -- were on the air, with fresh new material on everything from masturbation to marriage. Granted, their wardrobes and lifestyles were totally unrealistic, but the fashion and fabulousness worked well as a delivery platform for groundbreaking discussions about sex, commitment, friendship and love.
Since I specialize in relationships and intimacy, the show became an ideal co-therapist that I've brought into the therapy session whenever appropriate. A lot has changed since the show first aired in 1998. Try to imagine a dating world void of blackberries, iPhones, texting, tweets and Facebook! And yet, it is shocking to watch early episodes and realize that the core relationship issues remain the same. In honor of the show, I am taking a trip down Memory Lane that considers each first season episode, from a psychological perspective.
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The somewhat legendary episode nine, "The Turtle and the Hare", opens amidst the typical "hundred thousand dollar" New York black tie wedding of the girlfriends' glamourous girlfriend Brooke. Considering the current era of over-the-top wedding reality shows, the hundred thousand dollar price tag immediately stands out as an obviously expensive, but dated dollar amount given that the intent is to convey excess and sticker shock. The girlfriends, dressed in head-to-toe black, also stand out. Mingling among the "Dalton and Brown" educated guests, they look exceptionally "Witches of Eastwick" as Carrie cleverly narrates Brooke's story:
In a city of perfect people, no one was more perfect than Brooke. She was an interior designer who only dated A-list guys. For Brooke, every Saturday night was like the senior prom. So, when she got married we were all dying to see which one had made the cut...Was I the only one who remembered that that Brooke once described this man as more boring than exposed brick?!
The girlfriends look mutually surprised and somewhat disappointed by the non-A list vibe of the groom, as the smug and content looking bride hugs Carrie and whispers:
It's always better to marry someone who loves you more than you love them.
And so starts the episode's ambitious exploration of the always interesting question of when, whether, and to what extent it is wise to settle when searching for Mr Right. Over lunch, the girlfriends ponder Brooke's choice, and a frustrated Carrie laments Big's recent proclamation that he NEVER wants to marry. Carrie frets and wonders:
In a city of great expectations, is it time to settle for what you can get?
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Miranda responds to Carrie's woes by declaring her love for her new vibrator. Charlotte scolds Miranda stating that a vibrator can't call you on your birthday or meet your mother. Un-phased, Miranda defends her devotion:
You [obviously] haven't met the Rabbit!