Sex and the Jedi

Why do women love Sex and the City?

Many women think of themselves as the fifth friend in <i>Sex and the City</i>.

Many women think of themselves as the fifth friend in Sex and the City.

Michael Kass of the Chicago Tribune issued a “Get out of Sex and the City Absolution Card” for male readers in anticipation of the opening of the movie. It begins “By the blood of William Wallace, by the sweat of Rocky, by the squint of John Wayne …”

This kind of male hysteria is annoying.

Most men—and I am only referring to straight men here—profess not to comprehend the appeal of Sex and the City, or they dismiss it as materialistic fantasy or behave with a boyish desire to avoid contact for fear of catching cooties.

One male friend asked me, “Why do women behave like teenage Star Wars nerds whenever the show comes up?”

Well, boys, let me explain.

At its surface, Star Wars has X-Wing Fighters and Sith Lords. SATC has Manolo Blahniks and men that dump you via Post-it note. Star Wars has the Cloud City of Bespin. SATC has New York. Star Wars may have light sabers and Imperial Walkers, but it endures—because it is classic mythology. SATC may have cosmopolitans and Birkin bags, but it endures—because it offers the truest female friendship that recent pop culture has provided.

The real love story of SATC is the one among Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha. That’s compelling because there are so few realistic representations of grown-up female friendship.

A major attraction of this show is pure eye candy. The clothes, the parties and the well-manscaped men certainly satisfy a sense of fantasy. But if the show was just fantasy, it would fall as flat as the less sophisticated knock-offs do. What most women relate to is the not-so-glamorous stuff of real human emotions. It is managing pain, joy, humiliation, triumph, loss and love with good friendships.

These women love each other, support one another, accept one another and are honest with one another. Many real life women are lucky to have one friend like this, let alone three.

“I think in life we all just want to be known deeply, by our mates and our friends.” says SATC fan Dana Beatty. “But it’s tough to find that kind of intimacy. It’s tough to create it, for one, and it’s difficult to find people with whom we really want that level of intimacy, too. These four women [have] what we all crave, and we got to see it in all its bawdiness and pain and happiness.”

The intimacy among this fabulous foursome is profound, and fans of the show have been privy to it season after season, boyfriend after boyfriend. Women who love SATC feel like the fifth friend in the circle.

The premiere of the movie inspired women to go see it with their own girlfriends. More than 56 million tickets were sold in the first weekend. There aren’t many cultural events that encourage women to get together and celebrate their friendships—real and fantasy. The excitement for the movie is the same as the excitement of catching up with an old friend. Because Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are our friends, and we care about them.

As Carrie says, “No matter who breaks your heart, and how long it takes to get over it, you’ll never get through it without your friends.”

It’s a sentiment—faith in the power of friendship—which all women, whether or not they own a pair of Jimmy Choos, can relate to.

If you’re still struggling to understand, think Han Solo and Chewbacca in really fabulous shoes.