Gay/Straight Update: Sex and the City

Gay Guy,

Michael Patrick King, creator/producer/owner of the "Sex and the City" franchise, put up a column on the Daily Beast today. He wonders if there's any love out there for his films from straight guys. He's often interviewed by them, but their exposure to SATC is ALWAYS conditional: "My wife make me watch," or "I had to see what all the fuss was about."

According to King, straight guys are also intimidated by all the talk about high-end shoes. So, he's just not confident his vision is connecting with my demographic. Here's a quote:

I cling to my family members for support — my brothers-in-law and nephews who swear to me that they love Sex and the City. Even as I tell myself, “They’re straight and they like it,” there is a nagging voice in the back of my head that counters, “But they’re family — perhaps they are giving you a pass.” Like the family members at a piano recital who nod on supportively as the beloved child performing hits some deafening clinkers to end the program.

And if he hears that a straight guy IS a fan of the franchise?

As much as I am thrilled with that information, a good part of my more realistic self thinks: He’s just going to see it to get laid. (And if that is the case, I am happy to help a brother out.)

Thanks for that, Mr. King. I've seen that plan in action and it works.

As he realizes, it's no big deal. Just because we can't see ourselves in his narrative (apparently, many gay men CAN -- GG is such a Miranda!) doesn't mean that we can't appreciate that slice of life. From a distance, of course... like a National Geographic documentary.

I love New York City and go as often as I can. But I rarely see it the way King sees it. His fantasies are not my fantasies. All that fabulousness would drive me out of my mind. Call me crazy, but I like being married, eating at greasy-spoon diners, and mowing the lawn. But oh, wouldn't it be nice to be the object of sexual objectification, a la Mr. Big, once in a while?

What do you think, GG? Is it at all telling that, until today, I've had the title wrong all these years? I thought it was "Sex IN the City." Guess he's right about us, we haven't really been paying attention.

--Straight Guy

Straight Guy,

I never caught the Sex and the City bug. I have some gay buddies who liked it, but I was clueless. Or cable-less. A few years ago, flush with my new Netflix subscription and an urge to be part of pop culture, I rented season one, but it never really took.

For all its frothiness and celebration of consumerism and the shallow -- and don't forget cocktails -- I don't dismiss SATC. There are a lot of universal truths in it.

My friend Jo once shook her head and said that the SATC characters were "like no women she knew." I replied with Marge Simpson's superb one-line analysis of SATC: "That's the show about four women acting like gay men." Marge always did have a lot going under under that blue beehive.

The ladies of SATC -- written as gay men, played as straight women? A stereotype's a stereotype's a stereotype, but I've rented a gay beach house or two back in my flat-stomached days -- and so the shopping, gossip, buzz for the hot new drink or restaurant sounds familiar, as does the undressing a man with your eyes . . . then sharing his dick size once the eyes called in the hands for reinforcement. So, yeah, Marge wasn't totally off base.

SG, I take a strong exception with something you wrote--that straight men don't or can't see yourselves in the SATC narrative. Uhmmm . . . let's see: Having easy sex, without consequences, sex for the physical pleasure only, sex without emotions or expectations? Straight men can't "see yourselves" in that narrative? That's the title page of your playbook. Either that or I've been robbed of a dog's year of sleep over the past decade being up to 2 a.m. consoling recently burned straight female friends.

Another reason to watch SATC -- it is full of gay characters, sometimes because they are G-A-Y, but mostly just because the world is full of gay characters.

Finally, yes, in the great game of "which character are you?", I am indeed Miranda. With a splash of Carrie, I hope. But, yep, Miranda.

--Gay Guy

All right, GG. You got us. But isn't it only the older, crazy lady who acts like that? The catch is that we want those things without effort or drama, and the SATC ladies can't get from A to B without three costume changes, $100 in cocktails, and a sassy send-off from their cadre of gal pals and gay advisers. No thanks. --SG


Straight in Upstate said...

The looks of these women has always been enough to turn me off from the show - that, and being set in NYC. But, as always, enjoyed y'all's dialogue.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Hehe, I loved the two different views in this one. I think what straight guys DON'T like about it is all the fluff-the narrative GG described was too familiar with straight guys to deny. :)

Anonymous said...

Hah! Funny post.

Jennifer said...

Miranda rocks!

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