It’s a dreary late Sunday afternoon in Adelaide and I find myself slouched on the sofa watching ‘Sex and the City’ on dvd. (My daughter had left the disc in the player and I was too lazy to hunt for anything else.) I may as well have been watching the antics of an alien culture for all the sense it made to me. Do women really think and act like that? But it wasn’t just the women, at one point a montage of men aired their views on women, and I was equally baffled. Maybe I just lead a sheltered social life. Maybe I’m just expecting too much that ‘Sex and the City’ should even slightly resemble reality. Should I be viewing the show with the same suspended disbelief usually reserved for ‘The X Files’ or ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’?
I’ve never picked up a woman on the street, at the gym, or even in a bar. I’m actually even afraid to smile at a strange woman lest she should scream or call for the police. And the concept of a ‘one night stand’ is as mysterious to me as spontaneous human combustion or the workings of a microwave oven. It’s hard enough to meet anyone with whom you develop any rapport, let alone someone with whom you are happy to romp naked upon first meeting. Yet ‘Sex and the City’ would have me believe that sex is available at the drop of a hat (well maybe not a hat, but at the drop of something).
But maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I should be dating a different woman every weekend. Maybe I should be seeking sex in elevators and nightclub lavatories, with beautiful aerobics instructors, models and artists. After all, I haven’t always been so timid. I was once slightly adventurous when it came to such matters. But never once did a woman respond to me like Carrie does to Mr Big (or countless other men) when he slips her a flirtatious smile or remark. (That may have something to do with the fact that I don’t have a chauffeured limo, wear expensive clothes or smoke cigars, but I might be wrong.)
An attractive woman did once smile at me in the supermarket. In fact, she came back and passed me again with the same grin. Later, I saw her working in a nearby shop and asked if she wanted to meet for a coffee during her break. “I don’t have a break,” she answered, a look of terror on her face. “What, today?” I queried. “No, never,” she replied. I took that as a rejection of sorts.
Another time I told a woman I’d seen every day on the bus for six months that she always looked stunning. She went red, said “thanks”, but never caught the bus again. Did I say something wrong? Does the word ‘stunning’ have an alternate meaning that I’m not aware of? Such a scene in ‘Sex and the City’ would be the prelude to a passionate affair.
What we really need is a series called ‘Sex and the Suburbs’, where average-looking people go about their average lives, not eating at expensive restaurants, buying expensive shoes, and not having sex with a different beautiful person every night.
It might make for dull television, but it would make me feel a little better.