Well, it’s official, The Things I wish I knew Sex and the City life lessons posts have made it to one year!!! For the last year, thanks to Cosmo TV reruns of this iconic show, we have been able to take a trip down Carrie lane and see what we could learn from Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda and see how it applies to now. If you don’t know this show started in the late 90s. 19 years later, we are still wrapped up in it and see how lessons back then still apply to our current times.
Are We Exclusive
We started this series with “Are We Exclusive?…more so than ever this seems to be the question that lingers in every dating singles mind. Carrie couldn’t figure this out back then and well, it seems no one can figure it out now. Should we create a manual for the modern daters? I feel it’s only fair that someone gets to this task as soon as possible. It seems there’s never a right time to ask the person you are dating if you are the only one, but in this day and age, it’s imperative to ask. You can’t just let your life be in the hands of someone else’s decisions. You have to value yourself and your time. Besides, since when did having an honest conversation become a bad thing? If you’re in the game of dating to find someone…then shouldn’t you find someone who wants you and only you? Unless your into being polyamorous but that’s another chat for another day. Carrie found out the hard way, that she wasn’t the only one and I am sure many of you have as well. With all the amazing means of communication, I feel like in this day and age it’s quite easy to be upfront and let people know where you stand. In Carrie’s day, it was a landline and a flip phone. Texting wasn’t even a thing then! Whether you’re into dating a few to have fun or just want to see what’s out there or if you are looking for something serious open your mouth or send an email or text…say something. Alas, as you know and as well I know some people have terrible phone etiquette. Some people just have terrible people etiquette..end of story. So are you exclusive? You are going to have to ask!
Have We Killed Romance?
Maybe we can blame it on every rom-com that plays on W network on Saturday for our hopes of a romantic partner. I am not saying romance is completely dead but it’s definitely taking a break on some remote island no one can find. We might not have killed it but we have definitely scared it off. Let me tell you, the dating horror stories I hear echo this sentiment. What the hell happened to romance? Can someone send romance a telegram or something? For those who are lucky enough to experience the magic of romance in their love lives, cheers to you! It’s a rare commodity that seems to be hard to locate. In no point in time should we ever turn our noses up at romance. Showing someone you care about them with a romantic gesture is rooted in history. I was in Africa over the holidays and I went to a tribal dance show that is about love and how one would communicate their love to the one they desired. Through dance, through music, you could express your heart. There’s a reason why people love The Notebook or Titanic (I have never seen it!) or why Emperor Shah Jahan built the famed Taj Mahal in India …To express his heart, the best kind of vulnerability that we have been depriving ourselves of. I am sure many of you would agree with Charlotte when she said: “We are just starved for real romance.” So much so we are frightened to create it in our lives or experience it for that matter. We call it odd and cheesy yet complain that something is missing in our love lives; it’s romance friends. If you don’t believe me, then you should never listen to a love song again because every love song is inspired by the trials and tribulations of the romantic heart, the pain and it’s yearning. If you can learn anything, I would say give in to romance it’s what sparks the flames of love and keeps it forever burning.
A friend of mine said to me a while back that she misses her single life. Not that she isn’t in love, it’s more so the things she used to do when she was single. Those single rituals that only you know about. We spend so much time rushing for companionship we forget to revel in the bliss of being with ourselves. A time we can dig deep and figure out who were are and do things that no one knows about of course! What we learned from Charlotte is that you can still do those things you loved to do when you were single. Whether it’s a Sapporo and cupcake night for you or whatever… You don’t have to get rid of the things that you love because you have someone in your life. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to reveal every detail about yourself and it’s okay for both of you to escape and do something on your own, just for you. Obviously, I am not giving a green light to sketchy behaviour so don’t read that wrong! There’s nothing to be ashamed of, I assume the person you’re with actually likes you. We all have strange rituals that we enjoy. A healthy relationship requires that you encourage the joy that each individual gets during their personal time.
There’s nothing glamorous or rebellious about being someone’s dirty little secret. I hear girls talking about being side chicks these days and I am like really?! Do you want to be the often never eaten dish at the restaurant? How many of you have gone out for a nice dinner, ordered sides only to nibble on them? Everyone. You want it, you get a taste but can never finish it. That’s what a side chick is and it doesn’t matter how much glitter you put on it. You will never be “the person” and you will waste a lot of time. Also, shame one you why do you want what’s not yours? Why do you want what doesn’t want you completely? Lastly, why don’t you think you are enough? Repeat this over and over “I AM ENOUGH”. In this episode, Carrie’s friend is dating a girl that he thinks isn’t up to par with what he should be with therefore he is ashamed to introduce her to anyone. The things is, he actually likes her. The longer you date you begin to realize that you don’t have a type and having a set idea of the ideal mate is limiting. You have to be flexible. Maybe they have 8 of the 10 qualities you are looking or they have every quality except maybe they’re short for example. You get what I am saying. Like and love who you want to love regardless of what everyone else thinks. People are so caught up in an image that they will pick their mate based on the perception of others rather than what they feel and think. No one should feel like they aren’t good enough because you make them feel that way. If you feel that they aren’t good enough for you then don’t be with them; it’s that simple. I get disappointed when I hear people say “he/she isn’t my type” before they introduce them to friends or family. If you’re into them, there’s no need to explain let people think what they want. If you’re currently keeping someone as your secret lover…you’re a jerk.
Operation Post-It Note – The Break-up
No one was a fan of Berger, well I wasn’t and we definitely weren’t a fan of his break-up note “I’m sorry, I can’t. Don’t Hate Me” – too late Berger that’s how we feel. But I think 2017 Carrie would realize she had it pretty good in comparison to daters these days. These days there are benches and ghosts and ghosts that sit on benches with other ghosts…no one knows what’s happening. In fact, as far as some people are still concerned they are still in the relationship that ended last summer because no one said a word they vanished. Yes, my friends’ ghosting and benching is an epidemic. I am not sure where to start with this one and it seems we are all using it as a way out. It’s definitely an easy way to escape but it’s cruel. Although dumping someone via text isn’t the best approach, it’s better than nothing, if anything please send them a long note, let them know what’s up. If you can do it in person (if it’ safe to do so…you never know) then please opt for this approach. We wonder about so much in our lives and I think it’s only fair to know where you stand with someone. The love game isn’t easy so let’s not make it even harder and stop with the ghosting and benching.
How Dangerous Is An Open Heart?
I am going, to be honest, it takes the bravest heart to walk around with an open heart. It’s going to sting a lot…A LOT. It’s probably one of the hardest things you will do where matters of the heart are concerned, be the person who falls down and gets back up with the same optimism and love to give each time. If you really want love, you have to open your heart, your being, in order to experience it and receive it. There are no walls in love and the bridges that you cross are there in order for you to understand each other and to challenge each other but these bridges have no barriers. Instead, these bridges have arrows that lead you right into the arms of love. BIG and Carrie struggled with this for many years, like many people BIG retreated into fear and we saw this when he couldn’t make it to the altar. Living in fear is a lonely place. It’s okay to be cautious, yes, don’t throw caution to the wind. Listen to your gut. Sometimes doubt means don’t. Just don’t push someone away because you are scared they will hurt you. Maybe I am too much of an optimistic, but you just never know. The possibilities in life are endless when you are open to the process. When you allow yourself to fall into the rhythm of life. Maybe it’s dangerous to walk around with an open heart? If so, out of all the risks you ever take I think having an open heart should be one of them.
This is a little like single secrets but different because this has to do with the things we tell people we don’t do but that’s a lie. He doesn’t drink, so you tell him your don’t drink. He/she doesn’t date smokers so you binge smoke when they aren’t around. He/she is a vegetarian and you have a membership at the carnivore club but snack on greens like it’s your part-time job when they are around…you know who you are! Honestly, stop it! This is where being your authentic self comes to play. Ask yourself: How authentic am I being to my true self? Is this how I want to live the rest of my life? It’s hard to hold a relationship together with lies, eventually, they will come to the surface. Eventually, you will lose it like Carrie and pick up a dirty cigarette off the streets of New York because you can’t take it anymore. Go in as you are and improve or change because it’s necessary and good for you. Getting rid of bad habits is never a bad thing, just don’t pretend. If you have to lie to get someone to like you then they’re mostly likely not the person for you. In time the truth will reveal itself..
No one celebrates their single friend but they sure do expect their single friend to celebrate every coupled occasion that happens to them. For some reason, your once single friend who is now coupled will overlook the efforts made to celebrate all of their coupled occasions. In this episode, Carrie’s shoes go missing at her friend’s house, instead of an apology her friend decides to criticize Carrie’s choice in expensive shoes and offers to only pay for half. In the end, Carrie realizes that she has spent lots of money celebrating her coupled friends and that at no point in time had she been celebrated. Just because she was single it didn’t mean that she didn’t need to be celebrated. Of course, as life changes, you get married, have kids, certain priorities change. Everyone is different. If you are a good friend you shouldn’t expect your friends to live life the way you do or spend money they way you do for that matter.
In the end, Carrie decided to celebrate herself and send her friend an invite with her gift registry at Manolo Blahnik to replace the shoes that went missing at full price. What we can learn from situations like this is that it’s important to appreciate the efforts that the people in your life make whether they are single or coupled. No one is obligated to do anything for you so appreciate it when they do.
Being Married In A Single World
I am sure you have heard this one before, some married women hate if not fear the single girl because they think the singleton wants their spouse. When a single person enters a room full of married couples all eyes are on them, you can’t deny this. Your singleton friend inhabits the forbidden land where you used to live. You’re singleton friend perhaps still has time to go to the gym every day and spend their money on their appearance. You envy them but hate them at the same time and wonder if you still look as good as you did when you were single. You wonder if you catch your spouse looking at them if this is what they prefer, so you hold onto them tightly and watch this singles every move. How dare he/she show up here looking like that?! You say. While they say: “Mary Jane is that you?”… “When did ripped up sweats become your go to party attire?” I kid. But seriously, in this episode Carrie’s friend Patience lets her know that although they are friends single Carrie is now an outsider. The takeaway? Marriage is a milestone that many people will or want to experience. I also think being single isn’t a bad thing. If you’re married having single friends is a good thing because they give you a glimpse into parts of your old self and also remind you to keep the parts that inspire you. Being partnered doesn’t mean you need to give up if anything you should step up and continue to improve. There’s still a lot of fun to be had in marriage and your single friend should at least remind you of this. Also, never make the singleton your enemy ;).
Not That Into You
Where do we start with this one? We are still confused about ghosting and benching…so how do we even delve into this topic. Are they into you? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s fear that keeps someone who is really into you at bay, past heartbreak can really stop a good thing from happening. Sometimes they just aren’t into you. I think the only thing anyone wants to know is the truth. The game is so lame you guys; stop playing it. Quit the guess work and awkward run-ins and just be upfront. I mentioned this above and I will say it again – say something so everyone can just move on. Also, try to read the signals as much as you can, even with the smooth talkers who talk in circles. Watch what people do more so than what they say. I am sure you have held on to someone’s words before only to find out it was just smoke and mirrors. If this is you, doing all the talking with no action, you need to figure out why you’re not honest and why you think being this way is the only way to go. Be a person of your word or don’t say anything at all. Pay attention and trust your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, something is amiss, then it is. It’s not easy to walk away from someone you like or see potential with but don’t chase a shadow; you will never be able to catch air. We often spend a lot of time hanging onto the potential we see in someone but remember it doesn’t matter what you think they can be at times, it has to do with how they see themselves and whether or not they want to rise to the occasion.
Do The Rules Still Apply?
You remember I you gave a list of modern rules to refer to. So much has changed since grandma’s day and I think even she is a bit perplexed with it all. We don’t communicate anymore, we really don’t. Texting has made many of us socially inept. We can’t even have a conversation on the phone anymore. The basics of communication are a struggle so it’s no wonder finding love is harder now than it was before. We have apps and swipes yet why are so many people single and not finding love? Easy answer, because technology, no matter how advanced it is, cannot simulate a REAL human experience. I am not sure if you should sleep with Billy/Sue on the first date or waiting four months will lead to a lasting relationship. This all depends on your person of interest’s relationship blueprint, the rules aren’t clear cut anymore. Some people still believe in the old school while living in a new school world while others just do as they please without any thought.
I am not sure if you should ignore his/her text message just to play hard to get. To be honest, I think it’s rude. You like them don’t you?! If not, then why even bother? I think going out on a date is a must and it’s a shame that it’s become more about ‘chilling’ than living. There really is so much to do and see and even if it’s not a lasting connection it’s another memory or experience for you. My senior penpal June told me this, she said to do as much as possible, because yes there will be a time when you just won’t be able to do that much. She said just go for it and be fearless don’t worry so much about bruised feelings, you will always heal. If you follow any of the rules I mentioned, I would say follow #12 Don’t Settle. You deserve nothing but that best and people who appreciate you. It’s probably the hardest rule to follow, in general, we settle so much and make excuses.
We learned this year with this series that we still deal with the same dilemma…we just really don’t know. We are all navigating our love lives haphazardly and maybe even dangerously at times. You’re going to experience the sting of a post-it note break-up but it might come in the form of ghosting. Both methods still very painful. Your friends will get married and you will have to celebrate them, some will appreciate you while others will cast you off to the side as the singleton who can no longer be trusted. Like Carrie, you realized that pretending to be who you’re not to be in a relationship with someone isn’t the way to go and may lead you to make some very questionable decisions. We can also all agree that no one wants to be someone’s secret although Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr, an old school gem, is still an amazing song we love to sing along to. If you like stacking crackers and jelly like Carrie while you’re alone, don’t give this up because you have found someone and also don’t be ashamed when they catch you. Having an open heart isn’t easy but I encourage you to keep your heart open because you never know what good will come your way. Romance will eventually locate you from the island it’s hiding on and you will thank me later that you were open enough to let love and romance in.
If you are single then don’t forget to celebrate yourself. This is the only time you may have to really explore the depths of yourself. Throw as many single parties as possible, invite your married friends, just so they know the deal. While you’re out there living the life you designed for yourself it won’t matter if that someone isn’t that into you because you’re into you; no one can love you more than you. Follow the best rule of all – don’t settle – and set the bar high for yourself and continue to strive even higher. We learned from Carrie that you need to use your voice so ask the question “are we exclusive”. Ask as many questions as you want, in this life; you only get out of it what you ask for.
Lastly, if you take anything from this series, anything…please let it be the style and a true love of fashion. The bandage dress was a piece back then but not a thing. There is so much more to fashion than monochromatic and I encourage you to explore the endless limits of chiffon, lace, and silk. If your style is your best expression then go there; go for it.
Since so many of you loved this series, not to mention rumor has it, there is another movie on its way. I will continue this series for another year. Stayed tuned for more lessons and myths!
p.s. click on the links above if you want to read each lesson and myth.