Saturday, December 17, 2005


Yeah, I'll admit it, finally. I, most proud of being non-mainstream in word and deed, am duly addicted to the TV show "Sex and the City." Very little will come in the way of my watching it every Tuesday night on TBS. There's a good chance I like it so much because it's the "abridged" version of the HBO series -- edited for primetime, sans full-on nudity and liberal use of the "F-word." I can see when they're swearing but a substitute word is always dubbed over. I still wouldn't let the TV be on while my daughter is awake, but I don't feel as polluted as if I were watching the unadulterated, pure original version (which I'm very tempted to ask for on DVD for my birthday, truth be told).

Anyway, I am very engrossed in the lives of Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes and Samantha Jones. I think about which woman I am (I'd say 50% Charlotte, 25% Miranda, 20% Carrie, 5% Samantha) and how my life compares to theirs. I'd say the most remarkable thing about my fascination with the show is that I never was 30-something and single. I never lived in the city -- any city, really. I never even wanted to have the lifestyle I so enjoy living vicariously through them...but now, as I am 32 (and a half!), married, two children, and a very stable career (everything I ever wanted), I find myself transfixed for 75 minutes each week by the colorful (if immoral) lives led by Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. I don't even leave my chair for commercials.

The series is presented from the point of view of Carrie, a relationship columnist for a newspaper. Throughout the episodes, her relationship with one man, while not always the central focus, pervades...she refers to him as "Big." We don't find out his name until the final episode, when it flashes on her cell phone caller-ID (and I sort of wish I hadn't seen that last show until I'd seen all the others).

While my life couldn't be more different from the lives of my Tuesday night heroines, I, too, have a "Big" relationship.

He's The One That Got Away in some respects, even though I broke up with him and don't regret doing so...he was my first love. We met when we were 10 and things were tumultuous from the beginning. We dated in 11th grade and what a ride it was. I've had many relationships in my life, but this is the only one that was Big.

Like Carrie’s Big, my Big is evasive. Repeatedly, he’d be present, oh, so blissfully present, then gone – so painfully gone, leaving a big aching emptiness where he stood just a day before. Over the years, his coming and going has been on so many levels – first love, then friendship, then electronic pen pal (so unlike Carrie!). We’ve settled into a nice pattern of seeing each other every 5-1/2 years. I have yet to discover the significance of this time span, but it works for us. June 1993, December 1998, June 2004…our next meeting, probably with children everywhere and uncomfortable smiles between spouses, is cosmically scheduled for December of 2009, probably whether we like it or not, and whether we try to make it so or avoid it being so. We always promise “this time we won’t let so long pass…” but that’s just how it goes.

Carrie finds herself constantly challenged by Big – he’s smart, he asks the tough questions about her relationships and direction in life, and he lives his own Big Life. It’s the same with my Big. Our lifestyles are grossly incompatible, yet our lives fit right together…when both of us choose to make ourselves available to the possibility. That’s a difficult choice to make, because this Big Thing can get out of control pretty easily. So, there’s always the undercurrent of strife between us. Big Strife, representing our dual refusal to get along.

In Carrie’s life, it always comes back to Big. In the end, Carrie and Big finally get it together and probably live Happily Ever After. In my life, it always comes back to Big, but in the end, I doubt we’ll get it together in the literal sense, and certainly not happily. I have no desire to change the life I have, because I have everything I ever wanted. He likely feels the same about the circumstances he's created for himself. I have embraced the place in my life Big will always occupy, for better or for worse. There’s no letting go of Big, and that’s OK.

And there you have it, some of that deep and dark I promised.
Happy Birthday, Big.