Television has the tendency to give its viewers an image of an ideal relationship or what it deems to be romantic. We follow someone for several seasons, hoping that he finally lands his crush or the female protagonist actually becomes her own version of Cinderella. It makes us feel good and it gives us hope in a fairytale way that we, too, can achieve something so imaginative, surreal and magical.
Ross and Rachel were always the iconic love story to me. They went back and forth, chasing each other for years in what began with a cute high school crush but led to adulthood of failed relationships with other people, becoming best friends, even having a child together. To this day, I can still watch Friends as if it’s one of my favorite romantic comedies. Of course, there was also Donna and Eric from That 70s Show — beginning as cute teenagers and despite early adulthood selfishness, they fought it together. Better yet, Zack from Saved by the Bell showed us all of the loops that a guy must go through in order to win Kelly’s heart. Even if it took years. Even if his best friend tried to pursue her also. If your heart is in it, your fight is steady.
Clearly, I’m a kid from the ’90s, and all of these shows helped shaped the basis of my ideology that I was supposed to meet some guy, we’d be best friends, and then one Hugh-Grant-like romantic day, he would spill his heart to me, everything would be all daisies and roses, my life would be wonderful, etc. However, television didn’t always achieve this goal. The purpose of TV is to sometimes take you out of personal experiences to invest you in others’ lives so that you don’t have to worry about your own problems, or to help you escape from the real world for just a moment of time. Yeah, that happens, and sometimes it places us in a pretty fucked up scenario.
Now, I’m a Sex and the City fan. Any of my past journalistic co-workers will tell you. Loved the show for the culture, fashion, the diverse (personality) group of friends. I loved how real it was, that it is difficult for hardworking women to find good men, and sometimes, us — women — can be the crazy ones and also cause the end of a relationship. It told us not to be super concerned if you’re not married by 30…or 40; it just depends on the lifestyle of the woman and all that she wants to experience in life. No matter how much Sarah Jessica Parker’s character as “Carrie” annoyed me with her whining, the fact that she couldn’t prioritize paying rent over shoes, that she wore those adorable gowns and springs dresses with horrendous, bright bra straps showing, other tacky fashion choices, or that she was a chain smoker, but nothing irked me more than her relationship with Big.
Seriously, Big was a jerk.
A huge jerk.
And Carrie kept chasing him.
Don’t get me wrong, as women, we all have the one guy or two or a few who we never should have given any time. We move on and realize after we get older that we just made young, dumb decisions. However, Carrie never seemed to move on from being “young.” Not only did this man not publicly date her, he was insanely cocky with her feelings towards him, he denied who she was when she met his mother, he MARRIED ANOTHER WOMAN WITHOUT TELLING HER (so she still kind of thought something was going on), he cheats on his wife with her, his wife finds out — which Carrie and the wife know each other professionally (a man should never provide obvious enemies to the woman he cares about), he still doesn’t date her afterwards openly, and he moves away. As a matter of fact, Big doesn’t want Carrie until another man wants her. Is this really what we have to do in order to get a man’s attention? He did this twice with two different men!
And that’s not all, moving on from the TV series, they live together in some sort of happily committed non-committed relationship, decide to get married, and what does he do? HE STANDS HER UP ON THEIR WEDDING DAY. She gets out of the limo in her gorgeous dress, all dolled up, he tells her no to her face while her friends are standing there. There’s nothing a man could do to redeem himself after that. He made her look like a fool. As a public figure — and relationship writer, she was critiqued and mocked. They dated for years and he still wasn’t sure by that moment that he wanted to marry her? Puh-lease. And he did it with friends and media watching? Boy, bye.
But no. Carrie takes him back because he presents this supposedly romantic image of her being his Cinderella and he chases her BY EMAIL (freaking EMAIL!) for about a year and explains that he just never wanted to have a big wedding and would prefer a justice of the peace ceremony. Bloddy bloddy blah.
Am I the only one who finds this situation depressing? How could a woman live with herself knowing that she was never a man’s first choice and that this man who SHE wanted to spend the rest of her life with was okay with publicly humiliating every cell within her body? And this is what we as women are supposed to find romantic on our TV screens? Are you kidding me?
It’s just an ironic situation, I find. So many girls/women dream of their Carrie-Big relationship while I sit on the side and wonder why she didn’t stay with Aiden (burly, sensitive, had a job, and such a good guy!). But I guess that you love who you love no matter what they put you through. Or maybe it’s the challenge of getting that person that can keep you attached? Either way, it’s not my ideal cup of tea for a lifelong partnership.