Single In The City
I turn 30 this year and I’m about to be in the minority of people who haven’t found a life partner yet. I’m not even talking about being married. I’m not even dating someone that I can see myself marrying at some point. I’m not even dating someone casually. I’m as single as humanly possible.
For the few of us left in this position, our options are running out. We have fewer single friends to hang out with who are our age. Venting to kids eight years younger than you isn’t the same. Lurking around every corner is a reminder of our singlehood. It isn’t just Valentine’s Day any more. It’s every single goddamn time you open a social media app. (I mean, I used to go to Twitter to escape the sickly sweetness of Instagram and now even there people are posting about how they met their significant others on Twitter??)
I felt like I was running out of avenues. How much more could I journal? How many more versions of the exact same conversations could I have with my last two single friends? Could I listen to another 22 year old complain about being single?
And then I found Sex and The City. Over twenty years after the show aired, I found it for the first time. Right as discussions for a comeback limited series were happening, I found it when I needed it the most.
The problems of these fictional women in a city on the other side of the world, from over twenty years ago made me feel less alone. The more I watched it, the more I felt like there was a place for me in what felt like a shrinking world. I’m honestly glad I hadn’t watched the series when I was younger. I watched it and saw myself in every new relationship, every break up, every single moment of “Wtf” that those women have over breakfast. I heard and saw women talking the way I talk to my girls.
“Dude, you think I have to get a Brazilian? It’s a first date. It’s enough if it’s trimmed, no?”
“It seems like he has you on rebound speed dial..”
“As soon as I tell them what my job is, they’re not interested.”
It’s the SAME SHIT, all these years later, in a totally different country. I was both shocked and comforted to know that I wasn’t alone. It became my solace. Every time I saw a new couple announce their “Happy Ever After” on some app, I would tell myself to remember Sex and the City. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte went through their share of shit also. I would be fine.
Almost every single episode felt like it was taken from my life. Those men are still the same. The struggles of being a woman are still the same. Balancing femininity and masculinity. Wondering if you’re too intimidating because you’re qualified and ambitious. That one ex who never really goes away. The swift downhill spiral from electric glances across the room to realizing they have some weird thing about them that will turn you off forever. Finding that perfect person only to realize that what you thought you wanted isn’t actually going to work for you.
We talk so much about how dating apps have ruined dating by creating a paradox of choice. We give gyaan about how we judge people too quickly. We complain about how it feels like casual sex has replaced true love. Well, hate to break it to you folks, but it seems like this has been a problem since 1998. The apps didn’t really change human behavior. Swipes are the same as smiles in a bar. First dates are the same as Tinder Bios. Nothing has really changed.
One could argue that dating culture in New York in 1998 is the equivalent of dating culture in Bangalore in 2021 and I might be inclined to agree, hence the similarities. One could argue that I’m retrofitting my experiences onto this show as a pathetic attempt at feeling less lonely, and I might be inclined to agree. Who’s to say what the truth is. All I know is that I feel better after each episode.
All that being said, of course the show isn’t perfect, some of the content was ahead of its time in the early 2000s but have aged badly in 2020. It doesn’t pass the Bechdel test because they’re only ever talking about dating, which is of course the theme of the show so can we really blame them? And it’s not inclusive. They’re all white, predominantly date white men, and most relationships showcased are heterosexual. Honestly instead of a reunion season, I wish they would remake this the way Gossip Girl is being remade. New, diverse cast, still in high school but set in the modern day. I would love that.
Four More Shots Please on Amazon Prime I think tried to do that and set it in India. While they were more inclusive, I didn’t get that feeling of “OMG SAME” with that show. They were too dolled up, too fictional, too Bollywood for me to feel like I would actually hang out with them. Sex and the City really made me feel like I could step right into that bar and pick up the conversation where it left off with the characters.
I had no idea that a show that I had assumed to be shallow would one day pull me out of a deep slump. Maybe it’s time for me to start writing my own Sex and the City column? Set in Bangalore in 2021. Goodness knows I have enough stories..
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