Before we had the phrase “main character moment,” we had Carrie Bradshaw, the woman known for her credit card debt, kitten heel collection, and love for a man we pray was not based on D*nald Tr*mp.
With a weekly column in the New York Star, a few best-selling books, and a stint at Vogue, Bradshaw was the original influencer—a quality it seems she’s holding onto. In a recently leaked script for And Just Like That, the upcoming reboot of the HBO hit that ran from 1998-2004, we learned that Carrie Bradshaw will be ushering her vintage narcissism into the new era in exactly the way we would expect: from behind a podcast mic. Where will Carrie’s Sex and the City pod land among modern competitors like U Up? While her insights may have been revolutionary in ‘99, her tired tips don’t hold a candle to today’s sex positivity, and her narcissism doesn’t translate either.
Carrie Bradshaw was supposed to be the ultimate It Girl: career focused but not too busy, sexually free but hopelessly romantic, an enigmatic quirky Manhattan elite. She was written as the dream girl of every type of man, from finance guys in suits to artists to comic book enthusiasts. She sat front row at every fashion show, despite having worn a literal bird in her hair on her wedding day. She represented an impossible standard of perfection, one that every 2000s girl aspired to before ascending to adulthood and coming to the realization that Carrie Bradshaw is actually humanity’s shared nightmare.
Between leaked scripts and the mysterious set photos of Natasha, we can’t stop thinking about the HBO hit that taught a generation of women to choose between four basic archetypes of femininity. We’ve spent decades taking Cosmo quizzes seeking the answer to an age-old question: which Sex and the City woman are you? We’ve refreshed the page so many times that we’ve missed the point: be anyone except Carrie.
Be a Samantha, a Charlotte, and a Miranda—a blend of our three supporting characters would make a classy, optimistic, sexually liberated woman who values her career, independence, friendships, and style. Imagine a world where a woman can wear Jimmy Choos without talking about it all goddamn day.
If your vision board is still anchored by photos of Carrie Bradshaw’s hundred-pound body in 10 pounds of tulle, we have the solution for you. The best way to combat Bradshaw levels of narcissism is to perform a self-check. Let’s evolve the “which character are you” quiz into something actually helpful. Instead of asking, “am I a Carrie?,” ask yourself, “am I the problem?” Here are some useful tips:
- If your friend invites you to the opera, but you spot your ex mid-show, do not leave her stranded at the Met.
- If you’re someone’s maid of honor, do not choose their wedding day to confess you cheated on your boyfriend.
- If your friend gets you on the cover of New York magazine, do not black out the night before.
- If your friend throws her neck out and is stuck on the floor naked, do not send your boyfriend to help in your place.
- If your friend buys you real cashmere for your birthday, do not ask if you can return it for cash.
- If you’re a sex columnist who doesn’t believe in bisexuality, get a new column.
- If you cheat on your boyfriend with your ex-boyfriend, do not write about it in the newspaper.
- If your boyfriend takes you to the country, take off the f*cking kitten heels.
- If you have a friend like Samantha Jones, do not take her for granted.
Maybe I’m bitter because Carrie Bradshaw is the person who convinced me I needed a collection of dresses for the classic last-minute gala. The summer before moving to the city, I spent my days rewatching all six seasons of Sex and the City and ordering countless pairs of heels that would never see the inside of a subway car. The first few weeks in New York make anyone feel like a Carrie, like the main character; but a few morning commutes, a failed Hinge date, and a phone call with ConEd are there to bring you back down to Earth all too quickly. Remember this, city girls: there is nothing chic about credit card debt.
In its time, Sex and the City turned the tides for single women. At dinner tables and crowded bars, four women created space to talk openly about subjects that were once taboo, even introducing the world to the Rabbit. The show laid a foundation, albeit a thin one, for 20 years of sex positivity and female empowerment, even if aspects of it failed to hold up to modernity. With the evolution of modern feminism and the introduction of the Bechdel Test, Sex and the City’s mortal nemesis, longtime fans began looking to the show for nostalgia more than wisdom. Headlines once dedicated to “Carrie Bradshaw’s Best Fashion Moments” were replaced by roundups of “Carrie’s Worst Decisions on Sex and the City,” “10 Times Carrie Bradshaw Was A Jerk,” and “9 Times Carrie Bradshaw Was The Actual Worst.”
When it comes to nostalgia, HBO is a bloodhound, and they caught the scent and ran with it. So now here we are, counting down the days to the reboot that we never asked for and the main character we never liked. That said, when And Just Like That does finally drop, don’t reach out for at least three days, I’m busy.
Be the main character without being a Carrie. Romanticize your life, but don’t forget that the people who will meet you in a diner at midnight to have another conversation about your Mr. Big are not your supporting characters. Look at your life the way Sex and the City should have always been seen, as an ensemble.
Oh and—justice for Samantha Jones.
Image: Courtesy of HBO Max