I will eventually stop saying “quarantine does things to a person,” but today is not that day.
Quarantine does things to a person. I, in my 28 years of wisdom, my penchant for the 90s, and epic loss in scrolling through Hulu, Disney+, and Netflix have resorted to binge watching “Sex and the City.”
It was a classic pop icon of a show a few decades back, but I’m just now getting around to it. I didn’t “get it” until now, after I’d grown up a bit and gained life XP. Not only am I becoming invested in the characters and their relationships – and I mean invested because I catch myself yelling at and arguing with the tv like a loon – the show brings to light a lot of things I wish I could’ve recognized earlier.
I now understand the whole “You’re such a Miranda” joke that escaped me for so long. Yes, that was a big thing in the sex-positive communities with which I engaged: which girl were you? I now, knowingly, can positively agree with that assessment and wear the badge with pride. I’m a total Miranda. And I’m a total Monica. I’ve accepted my fate as being the witty, tightly wound friend who just wants to be realistic and take care of everyone. I simply add my own fabulous pinch of depression and a touch of anxiety. It’s quite the cocktail, anyone would agree (Sex & the City pun intended).
Miranda, Carrie, Samantha, and Charlotte validate several aspects of a the lived female life.
Miranda is the self-driven, successful feminist I wish I could be. She’s a straight shooter and doesn’t lie about anything (so far as I’ve witnessed). The internal mantra she repeats daily is “It’s okay to be successful, it’s okay to work hard, it’s okay to have money, it’s okay to be an independent woman.”
Samantha is the sex positive, body positive role model who puts herself first and doesn’t feel other people’s regrets or pressures on her lifestyle. She enjoys sex and everything else she does and never feels the need to apologize for existing (the character herself deserves to be developed, but she’s taught us this much through season 2).
Charlotte, although I find a new hatred for this outdated character every time she opens her mouth to speak, still has commendable qualities. She has a dream, though she’s a rigid hopeless romantic, she shows us it’s okay to have a hopelessly romantic dream and to continue to reach for it, no matter how much shit you have to wade through to achieve it. She’s also completely captivated by the culture of her work and is rewarded for her creativity.
Carrie is the trusted sister’s keeper. She’s the go-to for each of these ladies and offers well thought out perspective and advice. Although her addiction to Jimmy Choos and designer clothing isn’t completely healthy, Carrie shows us that she is worth celebrating in and of herself, full stop. She lives for the now and the pleasures of now.
I juxtapose these characters with a few discoveries I made at the ripe age of 28. I am a fiercely independent woman who does not need a man to take care of me, while simultaneously wrestling with the dichotomy of fiercely desiring a partner. I lead an idealistically progressive lifestyle with roots in tradition and hopeless romance. I go through a lot of shitty partners, though they have only progressed in rating as I learn from experience. I am worthy of fine clothes and celebration.
While the fiercely independent bit didn’t take me 28 years to figure out, it has become something of an obstacle. I also didn’t realize how susceptible to peer pressure I used to be – just not the traditional kind. I used to reject the popular by virtue of it being popular. “Sex and the City,” for example, was something I avoided because the masses loved it. I avoided New York Times Best Sellers for the same reason. I disliked things because the sheep loved them. I didn’t realize how nonconformity dictated my tastes outside of my conscious control, but now I’m understanding. I’ve been actively developing my own style this past year and I genuinely enjoy what I’m creating.
In addition to style, I finally concluded that clothes are made to fit a body, a body is not made to fit clothes. Such an obvious statement, but a powerful realization. For decades, I would get frustrated while clothes shopping. Back-to-school time was nightmare fuel and its sole purpose was to humiliate me and reconfirm my absolute potato-ness. In 2019, I was in a dressing room in Milwaukee, Wisconsin fixing to spend money that I didn’t have, that I realized I only had one body but I had all these cuts and styles and sizes in front of me.
For the first time in my life, instead of condemning my bust, my back fat, or my shoulders for why an item didn’t fit right, I removed the item and moved on. The cut was wrong – I decidedly cannot wear “babydoll” items. The size was wrong – it was comfortable standing, but not sitting. The material or print didn’t make the impression I wanted it to make – I refused to settle for soft-spoken me I wanted loud ME and for people to read ME all over ME and not get the message garbled.
It’s taken me 28 years to understand that I can dress myself, love how I look, and enjoy making myself more attractive. It’s a far way from the daily figure hiding hoodie and elastic waistband jeans I wore in middle school, the they’re-dragging-on-the-floor-but-fit-everywhere-else jeans and loose hippie sleeves of college, and it definitely beats the comfort-only t-shirt and yoga pants of work. I have statement pieces and cocktail dresses now. I have zero pieces in colors that aren’t flattering to my skin tone or that I just don’t like. I have purses for every outfit. More shoes than I can wear for each season and occasion. I look good doing whatever I want to do, going wherever I want to go, and I don’t just wear the same 7 outfits on rotation when I leave the house. It took 28 years to learn how to accept, love, accessorize, and clothe my body. 28 years.
It’s also taken me three relationships of varying degrees of seriousness, several cycles of fuck buddies, countless one date wonders, a few ghostings, and one stand-up to find out what it is I’m looking for in a partner. I’ve ultimately realized I’m a hopeless romantic with potentially outdated dreams of romantic grandeur. Those dreams my never be completely fulfilled in all honesty, but I hold onto them with thread thin hope that maybe someday…
But I know this now. I can protect myself how I need to, see the red flags as they inevitably rise, identify a flop on the first date. I am stronger now because I am self-identified as a hopeless romantic and can intelligently engage with the world. I don’t have rose colored glasses, I have huge fuck-all goggles on, and I strap them shits on every day I interact with another human.
I not just Miranda, as they’ve always told me, I am Mirondica. I’m Mirondica, she who waits for her catalogue clothes and designer bags in the mail.