A fool for love: Mr. Big in the real world

carrie mr big Technical difficulties (a malfunctioning laptop adapter) forced me off the computer for much of last week. So instead of spending mindless hours on the internet, I spent mindless hours watching movies. Sex and the City was one of them. I’d like to make a confession. I wasn’t one of the thousands of women who loved Sex and the City while it was on TV. I thought it was smart, interesting and funny and I thought the portrayal of women, friendships and relationships was spot on, but it wasn’t must see TV for me. So when the movie came out, I didn’t rush out to see it that first weekend. Or the second. In fact, I just saw it for the first time earlier this year on DVD. And once again, the portrayals were great and the relationships realistic.  That is until Mr. Big and Carrie got married.

I can hear some of you booing me already. And I’m going to make you hate me even more by admitting that I was rooting for Carrie’s and Mr. Big’s relationship to end. Not by him leaving her at the altar, but by her deciding that she’d had enough of waiting for him to come around. One thing forty years, several boyfriends and watching friends with their boyfriends has taught me is that whoever that man is three months into the relationship is who he’ll be three years in. This is a generalization of course, but many male friends have confirmed this for me. Men know what they want and who they want to be with pretty early on in a relationship.  So, if he was non-committal when you met him, he’ll be non-committal 10 years later.  If he’s ghost on the weekend a month into the relationship, don’t be all “OMG” when you can’t find him on a Saturday night five years in.  And finally, if he was with someone else when he met you, he’ll be with someone else while he’s with you.

Sex and the City was just a movie, but the reality is, the reason the show and movie resonated with so many women is that we imagined ourselves as one of those women, living that life, being involved in those relationships. So, when Mr. Big finally, finally, finally realizes he wants to be with Carrie we’re elated because if Mr. Big can finally come around, so can the guy we’ve been with for 10 years. But in real life, it often doesn’t work out that way. And in real life, drama doesn’t make a relationship any stronger or more valuable – it just makes it more dramatic.

Someone once told me, “a fool at forty is a fool for life.” Ironically he was a fool himself, but I take my wisdom where I can get it. For my own sake, I hope it isn’t true.  I hope that at forty and beyond I’ll still be able to learn from the foolish things I’ve done for love and change course when necessary.  I suppose the Carrie Bradshaw-Big ending, as unlikely as it seems to me,  does happen. I’m sure there are many instances where after years of not being sure about who he wants and how much he wants her, a man finally realizes that he just can’t live without her. I know it happens. But in my case, I hope it happens faster and with a whole lot less drama. Is that too much to ask?

Image source: Access Hollywood

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  • tanya4man

    I co-sign with you! My original “Sex in the City” was a show called “Living Single” which was a more honest depiction of the single, dating life but when they unexpected canceled “Living Single”, I quickly moved into “Sex” because it offered something I needed at that time. I needed to feel the friendship connection between the 4 women because they reminded me of my 3 friends. We each fit the personality of one of the characters which made it fun to watch. I connected with all the women because they were each living a part of my former life. At the time the series came out, I saw that my friendships were changing and shifting in different directions. The show allowed me to “hold on” and reminisce of the good old days – a time when life wasn't as serious.

    The other reason I liked and watched “Sex” was that it was nostalgic for me – at one point it was my life (working in NYC, the nightlife, fancy restaurants, handsome men, serial dating…loneliness and the feeling that there was something more out there in the universe). I knew these characters and who they were trying to be and some of their experiences either reminded me of something I had done, something I thought of doing or something I'm glad I never did. I was fortunate to have found what I was looking for before they did and at the same time the series came to an end, I had outgrown the show.

    With the movie I was glad that Carrie had found happiness, Charlotte had her baby, Samantha stayed true to herself and Miranda took back Steve. If I had my choice, Carrie would have married someone else with just as happy an ending. We have to make out own happy ending but we don't have to ignore the sirens in our heads or lower our standards to do that. Don't worry Admin…your day is coming. Until it does, be forty, be fabulous and have fun!

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  • womenatforty

    Hey Tanya,

    Great comments. You're right about the sex and the city characters mirroring the real (or imaginary lives) of many of us. And we agree about being glad Carrie found happiness but just wishing it had been with someone else. As for worrying, I'm not, I'd rather do it right once and later in life, than spend years regretting making the wrong choice. What's also true though, and an interesting point is outgrowing the show. I think so many of us are afraid of outgrowing things – basically afraid of growing up. I saw someone's Facebook post the other day in reaction to whatever J-Lo was wearing at the AMA's. I didn't watch it, but the comment was “Jen – it's ok to grow up!” I agree – and I think that's a great topic for a post!

  • I totally agree. I always thought that Carrie was a gluton for punishment with Big. She deserved better. But when she got that (ie: Aiden) she didn't know what to do with it. At 40 I could see things in 2 minutes that I couldn't see in 2 years at 20. Relationship wisdom comes with age — thank goodness!