Some kind and loving soul has re-edited all six seasons of Sex and the City such that it tells the story of a lesbian sex writer’s search for the perfect woman.
It works, you guys. And say what you will about SATC‘s attendant issues (there were many!), that show was never better than when it was about women connecting to other women. (Remember when Charlotte was best friends with a bunch of “power lesbian” Bette Porter lookalikes? That was my favorite Charlotte of all.)
I feel ungenerous for saying it, because I truly believe that a good actor can convince you of anything, regardless of what you know about their personal life, but it’s impossible for me to watch any of Miranda’s storylines without letting my knowledge of her actress’ current relationship coloring every single one of her scenes. 100% of Miranda’s problems could have been solved by someone shouting “YOU’RE GAY, PROBABLY” at her.
You probably never have this kind of problem, because you’re a very evolved person. And I know that being pushy and wearing a lot of sweatshirts and powersuits and liking your own space and flinching from intimacy with men does not a lesbian make (except when it does). You’re probably a very butch straight woman who transcends all categories and leaves everyone happily dazed in your wake.
But this is the happiest and most comfortable we will see Miranda in six seasons, decked out in protective gear sitting next to an adorable baby butch with great teeth. It’s funny, looking back, to realize that 30 Rock and Sex and the City had an “accidental lesbian date setup” episode early on in both of their first seasons, maybe to preempt any lingering questions about the main character’s sexuality. Because there is this idea, sometimes, that comes up, particular with women, that suggests that maybe if things aren’t working out with men, it’s time they tried being with other women.
And that’s unfair! And a stereotype!
Except for when it isn’t, and it works. Remember when Cynthia Nixon came out?
“I gave a speech recently, an empowerment speech to a gay audience, and it included the line ‘I’ve been straight and I’ve been gay, and gay is better.’ And they tried to get me to change it, because they said it implies that homosexuality can be a choice. And for me, it is a choice. I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me. A certain section of our community is very concerned that it not be seen as a choice, because if it’s a choice, then we could opt out. I say it doesn’t matter if we flew here or we swam here, it matters that we are here and we are one group and let us stop trying to make a litmus test for who is considered gay and who is not.”
The idea, in general, is more than a little patronizing — like a lesbian is what you get when you take a straight woman who’s been pushed around by men too many times. But there’s something to the idea that a person can wake up one day and see things just 10% differently. It’s the same person, looking at the same things, but with a slight adjustment, and everything is changed. And the degree to which choice and innate desire and personal experience and inner wiring work together in that — I don’t get it, but I’ve had days where I woke up, and I was me, and the world was the same, but everything was different from how it had been the day before.
The friendship Carrie had with Miranda in particular — I’ve had that friendship. Have you had that friendship? You look back a few years later (you may or may not talk anymore), and you can say to yourself, I think I was in love. I was in love with her, and I never let myself know it. She’s beautiful, usually – and, if you go on to date women, not at all like the kind of women you’ll go on to date. Men are crazy about her, and that drives you crazy, and you find something to hate about all her boyfriends, even though you’re the one she comes to with all of her dating problems.
People ask you what’s going on between the two of you, and you truly have no idea, because you’ve become so practiced at lying to yourself that you don’t notice it when you do it. They ask you about how you look at her. I don’t know what you mean, you tell them, and you look at her like this.
Like you’re astonished. And you are, every day. You’re astonished but things are so good that you hold in your breath to keep them from changing. And she tells you about the men she’s with and a sick part of you feels proud that they don’t know she tells you about them. They get to sleep with her, but you get to hear about it, and you feel sorry for them instead of for yourself.
When you fight, it’s tight and painful and you have to close your eyes to say things to her, because you make yourself say things that you know she would never forgive you for. You say her name, and it’s desperate. And you never really talked about it.
It was a show about women who found their soulmates in other women, anyhow.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.