We all know the scene: Carrie Bradshaw and her gal pals meet up for lunch mid-week in a swanky restaurant, order cosmopolitans and discuss men. It's pretty cliché, so why do so many of us feel bad that our own friendships aren't 'Sex and the City' enough?
Yesterday I had lunch with my girlfriends. However, unlike Carrie Bradshaw, one of them was missing and the other four I hadn't seen in around seven months, during which time I had probably spoken to each of them a handful of times. Not so Sex and the City.
I found myself thinking back to the sitcom with a twinge of guilt. I wondered if other people had the friendships that Carrie does: all living in the same city, seeing each other all the time etc.
I asked my girls for advice; should we all be speaking more? Does it matter that we only see each other at Christmas and birthdays? One of them reminded me that frankly, if we saw each other all the time there would be nothing to say. The other thing is that it's just not practical: since leaving school the five of us have all been in different cities and that's just the way it is.
In reality, I can count the really good friends I have in my city on one hand and they don't necessarily all come from the same group. The reason is that its much easier to build a friendship one-on-one, groups of friends can get complicated and a little 'high school' in a dispute (as we've seen many times on Sex and the City.
Back at lunch, we changed the subject to my 21st and it soon became clear that two of my friends wouldn't be able to make it. If this had been Sex and the City we'd probably have had a fight and then I'd wander down Fifth Avenue, spewing a monologue to the sounds of some dreary soundtrack. But this isn't, it's life, "s**t happens", I said, "I'll see you at Christmas".
That twinge of guilt I had initially felt was soon replaced by feeling blessed; here we all were, five years later and still able to come together every once in a while. Sure, we all have friends in our resident cities that we see more and if I needed them, I know they'd be there. If I could have them all in one city a la Carrie Bradshaw, would I? Probably not: this works for us and that's what matters.
Friendships aren't about how often you see each other or how close your houses are, they are about quality: the depth of understanding of one another and our ability to be there for the other person. Essentially the sitcom does have these values at its core, but they are pasted with this overarching idealism of the girls being together constantly which just doesn't quite work in real life.
While I'm at it, it was much easier to find a picture for this post of a group of girls looking happy. Why never two girls, why never one? The media as a whole seems to be selling us the idea that in order to be socially-acceptable in our fun-making,we have to be in a group.
Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are not entirely to blame for our expectation of friendships, but the sitcom has played a large role in it, especially for my generation. Perhaps it's time the Sex and the City model was left purely to describe how we should be drinking our cocktails and less how we should mould our friendships.
Has anyone else had a similar experience ? Tell me I'm not the only one.