Have you been watching the Sex And The City reboot, And Just Like That?
I have and I loved it, even though it made me cry a LOT.
I was never an OG Sex And The City fan. I have a story about how when I first decided I wanted to be a freelance journalist and started my blog it was because I’d been watching a lot of Sex And The City and fancied myself sitting about outside cafes writing a relationship column and drinking cocktails every night with hot men. While the story is true, it happened in 2009, over 10 years after the show first aired. Not exactly ‘finger on the pulse’ stuff.
I started watching it because I’d just come out of a nine year relationship, aged 30, and I needed something to remind me what it meant to be single. The version of single I saw on Sex And The City wasn’t my version though. They were single and childless and seemingly had endless money available for high heels and parties, despite spending most of their time on dates. I on the other hand had a teenager and a six year old, I definitely did not have endless money, I spent most of my time on the school run or cooking fish fingers, and my cocktail options were pretty much limited to WKD at the local Wetherspoons.
And then there was the fashion. Women’s clothing has just never been something I’ve understood. Sure, they looked pretty, but I would never have been able to tell you what designers they were wearing, nor would I have cared. I wanted the lifestyle and the freedom, but not to have to maintain such high standards. I wanted the male attention, but not at any cost.
If we’re laying it out, I never especially like Carrie either. I found her whiney and difficult and selfish. But perhaps partly that was jealousy, as I’d never felt like I’d had the opportunity to be selfish.
When And Just Like That came out then, it wasn’t like I was wetting my pants excited about it. I wanted to take a look, but I wasn’t expecting to feel a particularly strong connection. I watched the first episode though and BOOM, suddenly I could see what all the fuss had been about first time around amongst the single women in their twenties and thirties.
Suddenly I could RELATE.
Carrie, Samantha and Miranda are about ten years older than I am now, but it felt like their lives had caught up with mine. They had older children and aching joints and menopause issues and that haunted look about them, like they were permanently fighting the feeling of ‘is this it now? Am I invisible from now on?’
After the first episode I cried and cried. I cried a week later telling Belle about it. I felt devastated to be honest. It was less about the characters and more about how it made me feel about events and people in my own life, but the emotion was there and it was real. As the series progressed I found myself drawn further and further in. I began to like Carrie. Not completely, but I warmed to her.
Even the outrageously crowbarred storylines about gender and sexuality didn’t feel forced to me – it felt almost like it reflected how strange and new so much feels to me. It’s scary, because you realise you’re that older generation who doesn’t understand, but the confusion and saturation of those themes somehow didn’t feel unreasonable.
While the journey of Miranda’s character was vaguely absurd, I could almost appreciate that absurdity, the feeling of realising your children have grown up and you don’t know who you are anymore, or who you have ever been. Are you trapped? Or potentially free but with no idea of where to go? What even IS your life as an older women who has grown out of being a mother?
While I still didn’t really understand the fashion, I did at least appreciate its importance. As older women we can so often sink into the background, it’s important to do everything we can to not let that happen – to be loud, to speak our truth, to stand out.
And Just Like That upset me and confused me and irritated me in parts, but I felt it. It reminded me that I’m not old, that change is always possible, that there is always a glimmer of hope.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even start wearing heels?