Yes, I realize how lame this is. It’s been more than a decade since Sex and the City went off the air and it is stupid of me to write about it now. Or is it?
The thing is, I’m between freelance jobs and I’m bored. And in the 10 years after the end of SATC, I’ve read a lot of Savage Love, and I have to say: I don’t get why Mr. Big was so bad. If you go back and watch the show, it’s really about Carrie and her choices, yet everyone pins the blame for those things onto Mr. Big. If only Dan Savage had counselled Carrie Bradshaw. Let’s imagine, for a moment, just how that would go:
Carrie: My boyfriend is the amazing, sexy, rich guy. The sex is great and we have fun together. There is just one problem: he said he never wants to get married again (he’s divorced) and he won’t introduce me to his mother.
Dan Savage: The price of admission to be with this guy — this great sexy guy who is awesome in bed and makes you laugh — may be forgoing the marriage certificate. You have to decide what is more important — marriage or this guy.
Carrie: But what about the mother thing? He said he doesn’t want to introduce his mom to ‘another girlfriend’ and won’t do it until he’s ‘sure’, that he has to do it on his ‘timeframe.’ We’ve been going out for months. He should introduce me to his mom!
Dan: Look, he’s not ready to introduce you to his mom. You have to respect that. People arrive at different points in relationships at different times. You may be ready to say ‘I love you’ before he’s ready to hear it. You have to let him do that at his own pace. Besides, listen to what he’s really telling you — he doesn’t want to introduce you to his mother until he knows you two are serious. That means he knows what a big deal it is. I think you’re taking his comments about not wanting to introduce ‘another girlfriend’ to his mother too personally. It’s not really about you. After all, what do you really know about his relationship with his mom? Maybe she nitpicks the hell out of his girlfriends and doesn’t want his mom talking him out of being with you. Maybe that’s why he needs to be sure.
Carrie: But it’s been months.
Dan: Right, months. Six, seven, eight months is really not that much time. That amount of time would be way too soon to get married. And to some, meeting Mom is the first step toward marriage. So I think you need to give your guy a break. If you’d been with him for three or four years and he was still not bringing you home to Mom, it would be a different story.
Carrie: (sighing) So what do I do?
Dan: One of two things: accept that being with him means no big fancy wedding and respect his need to go slow re: his mom. Or break up. It’s really that simple.
Carrie: Ok. Thanks, Dan (hangs up.)
Now imagine how Season 1 of SATC would have ended if she had followed Dan’s advice.
Scenario 1: Carrie accepts the ‘price of admission’. Carrie apologizes to Mr. Big for following him to church when he asked her not to (seriously — why do people gloss over that?! He should have dumped her). She tells him she realizes he has to go at his own pace and promises to respect that. She tells him that marriage is something that she wants, but she enjoys her relationship with him and isn’t ready to let it go. Mr. Big is relieved and happy that she understands what he’s been trying to tell her. They go to St. Bart’s and have a great time.
Scenario 2: Carrie breaks up with Mr. Big but doesn’t get all dramatic about it, because it’s about her going after what she wants, and not about her crushing disappointment and unrealistic expectations.
It’s worth noting that Carrie would have had to call Dan during Season 1. Dan’s advice at that stage would be pretty much the same. Remember the scene where Big comes back from Paris and Carrie throws McDonalds takeout at him? People often interpret this scene as Big being an asshole (“I don’t want you to uproot your life and expect anything”) but how is he the asshole? He’s just saying what he’s been saying since Season 1 when he first reveals to Carrie that marriage isn’t something he wants. She claims he’s been stringing her along, but he’s not ever once promised her a ring. I imagine if Carrie went home after throwing her filet of fish at Mr. Big and called Dan Savage, Dan would have said something like: “You threw food at him? After he just told you something he’s told you many times before? Yeah, he needs to dump you.”
And of course, if Carrie called Dan Savage after cheating on Mr. Big with Aidan, Dan would be like: “Sorry, lady. I cannot unscrew that pooch for you.”
Anyway. I do think Mr. Big gets a bad rap and that a lot of the problems in that relationship were actually Carrie’s. But I guess that puts me in the minority.