Let’s just get the obvious statement out of the way: Sex And The City did a lot to fuck with the minds of women. There. I said it. I don’t have the time, energy or desire to write a dissertation about everything that was wrong with Sex And The City so I am just going to let that blanket statement cover it. That is not to say that I don’t love the show or watch it any time the syndicated episodes pop up on E! (Insert the word hypocrite here.) But, I do hate what the show did to romanticize and glamorize women’s bodies, relationships, sex lives and careers.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine sent me an incredibly long article entitled, “How To Pick Your Life Partner–Part 1.” If you are stuck in an airport with a delayed flight or just happen to have some time on your hands, I suggest reading it. I finally got around to it last week, but I forgot about Part 2 until yesterday. Part 2 of the series is the part I will tell you that you absolutely, positively, no-questions-asked must read.
If you’re still not convinced, let me drop an excerpt:
From afar, a great marriage is a sweeping love story, like a marriage in a book or a movie. And that’s a nice, poetic way to look at a marriage as a whole.
But human happiness doesn’t function in sweeping strokes, because we don’t live in broad summations—we’re stuck in the tiny unglamorous folds of the fabric of life, and that’s where our happiness is determined.
So if we want to find a happy marriage, we need to think small—we need to look at marriage up close and see that it’s built not out of anything poetic, but out of 20,000 mundane Wednesdays.
Marriage isn’t the honeymoon in Thailand—it’s day four of vacation #56 that you take together. Marriage is not celebrating the closing of the deal on the first house—it’s having dinner in that house for the 4,386th time. And it’s certainly not Valentine’s Day.
Marriage is Forgettable Wednesday. Together.
Take that wisdom. Soak it up. Put it in your pocket. You’re going to need it someeay. Shit, I know I am.
My favorite quote in that piece is “We’re stuck in the tiny unglamorous folds of the fabric of life, and that’s where our happiness is determined.” Too often we calculate happiness according to the heavyweight milestones. We overlook the goodness of ordinary days and replace them with the power of the birthdays, the anniversaries, the holidays. But, here we are. Wedged in the unglamorous folds.
I don’t say “You are not Carrie Bradshaw and he is not Big” to be an asshole. Ok, maybe I did kind of say it to be an asshole, but I have a point. I say you are not Carrie Bradshaw because, well, you are not. For starters, you do not sustain an expensive NYC life on the salary of one column a week. But, beyond that, this is real life. This is YOUR real life. And, real life does not always include a barrage of red balloons on your birthday or a man who will sabbotage you 100 different times in 100 different ways and then suddenly become the love of your life. That Carrie/Big model was fucked up with a capital F.
And, just like the aforementioned article said, relationships are not always steak dinners or rooms at the Four Seasons. Relationships are work. They are gritty. They are exhausting. Whether relationships launch or fail is a formula hidden in the very small and simple things, not the grand gestures or the giant moments.
20,000 Wednesdays. One person. Every day. For the rest of your life. If that does not scare you a bit, check your pulse and make sure you’re still alive. This is the part where I tell you that I still believe in the power of earth-shattering love and monogamy, for others and myself, lest you think I want to be alone forever. But, still, let’s not glamorize that forever.
We aren’t Carrie. Our mates won’t be Big. Some days we will cry, some days snot will drip from our noses, some days we will be fire-breathing dragons. Some days life will deplete our energy, our tolerance, our bank accounts. Some days work will suck, some days we’ll wake up too late, some days we’ll have a random pain in our right knee or a zit pop up on our right cheek. Some days we’ll be fresh out of black underwear when we need it for our outfit or fresh out of toilet paper the minute we plop our asses down on the porcelain throne. That is what life is, the sum of some days. We are real people left with the very real and not-always-glamorous bits of life and love. Those bits are where our happiness either breathes or dies.