Girls on film
Sue George celebrates the big-screen return of Sex and the City
It might not have hit the cinemas at the time of writing – but why not get in early? Yes, it’s my very own Sex and the City article. While I fully realise that not everyone has to have one, urban women all over the world (probably) will be writing aboutit because they related to the TV series and,now, the film. It certainly speaks to me and,yes, there’s even a bi angle!
I wasn’t an “early adopter”. When I first sawan episode of SATC, I felt completely alienated by the fact that all they did was talk about men. But soon (very soon) I began to appreciate their escapades and their relationships. There was something actually believable about the characters…and although they seem to have preposterous amounts of money (I have met the owner of a PR agency, a media lawyer,and many journalists, none of whom wereanything like SATC wealthy) I could relate tothem.
Yes, I did like looking at the clothes. Evenwhen the SATC gang were wearing preposterous nonsense, it was still interesting. And yes, why I ended up liking it after all was the reason that other female commentators have said: it foregrounded female characters (still unusual); talked about sexuality in an unprecedently open and truthful way; and presented friendship between women as the most important and stable thing in their lives (although where such busy women got the time to meet so often, God knows).
Bisex in the city
In SATC – the TV series – bisexuality in some shape or form appeared quite a lot, if ambivalently. As an aide-memoire to anyone else who watched it:
In one episode Samantha is asked by a gay male couple if shewill have sex with them and she agrees. However, half-way through sex they chicken out, disgusted.
Across another few episodes, Samantha – the most sexually adventurous character – actually has a relationship with a woman, but it ends after she puts her back out using an inadequately harnessed dildo. (I mean really, anyone looking at that dildo could tell it wouldn’t work properly!)
Carrie meets some younger people – including a character played by Alanis Morissette – who actually identify as bi, but backs off from dating a bi man. Then there is the very ambivalent – in many senses – episode where camp cabaret singer Bobby Fine marries Betsy von Mufling. The SATC quartet presume he’s totally gay, so why are the two marrying each other? At the end of the episode, Bobby tells Carrie that he really does love Betsy while the melancholic song “Is that all there is” plays in the background. But in a subsequent episode, a heavily pregnant, extremely happy Betsy turns up, her husband seemingly as camp as ever as he wants to name their daughter Barbra or Judy. Who knows whether there is any bisex in thisfilm (I would hazard a guess as to not*), or indeed whether it will be terrific or a pile of poo.
Then of course there’s a real-life bisexual storyline, the I’d-count-as-bisexual Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbs in SATC) who is now several years into a relationship with a woman she plans to marry. This is the first, and I fully expect the last, time I have ever used that right-wing rag The Daily Mail on my blog, but credit where it’s due I suppose. There’s a long article about her and her girlfriend Christine Marinoni here, and even the comments are nice!
They quote her as saying:
“In terms of my sexual orientation, I don’t really feel that I changed,” she says. “I don’t feel any different than I did before. I don’t feel like there was some hidden part of myself that I wasn’t aware of.
“I had been with men all my life and I had never met a woman I had fallen in love with before. But when I did it didn’t seem so strange.
“I don’t define myself. I’m just a woman in love with another woman.”
Sue George wrote Women and Bisexuality which in 1993 was one of the first serious books on bisexuality in the UK. She has a followup, The Truth about Bisexuality in the pipeline. In the meantime you can read her blog at suegeorgewrites.blogspot.com