What’s love got to do with it? Well, everything actually
You’d have to be living under a rock not to notice the hype surrounding the release of Sex and the City 2. Yep, it’s that obvious, Carrie fever is sweeping the world, and some people are getting antsy.
Antsy because they’re over the hype (and given it’s at saturation point it’s totally understandable) or because they simply can’t wait to indulge themselves in the latest instalment to one of television’s most popular foursome.
I don’t know if it’s sheer coincidence or clever timing, but the movie happens to coincide with the release of an entirely different chapter (if you pardon the pun) in Carrie Bradshaw’s life, depicted in Candace Bushnell’s latest novel, The Carrie Diaries (Harper Collins, $30.95). It’s probably the perfect complement to the movie’s release given the fact that it takes readers back to the mind and soul of their on-screen heroine’s high school days.
And although the conservative feminist in me (oxymoron anyone?) would rather stick pins in the eyes of her (non-existent) teenage daughters than have them watch the likes of Sex and the City, I am quite impressed with the character that Carrie’s always played – that sure-fire, independent modern woman who genuinely understood the battlefield that is love, even if her armour was not always on and despite the fact that she rarely knew how to plot, or implement, her battle strategies.
In our modern day and age, we’re quick to walk away from challenges and difficulties, especially when it comes to love and relationships.
At a time when we’re living at high speed and being told that we can instantaneously have anything or anyone we want, working on relationships has taken a backseat to moving on, walking away and basically being unprepared to deal with the issues that inevitably come with love – jealous temptresses, money woes, ruts and babies – because we don’t have time, can’t be bothered, or because it is simply too hard.
Don’t get me wrong, I recognise that things are harder these days. That we’re not necessarily bound to stay with people who don’t treat us well enough, that divorce is common and no longer something likened to shame.
But it constantly strikes me that we just don’t persevere in love anymore, and really, that’s the only thing worth being ashamed about, because it’s never meant to be easy and, given the hard-knock luck we have trying to find it in its true and perfect form, it sure as hell is worth every battle that comes with it.
If The Carrie Diaries are anything to go by, Carrie learned this in high school. Despite the fact that many fans feel as though they intimately know her (even if she’s fictional boys) they get a sneak peek into the heart, soul and mind of an aspiring writer who is only just starting to circumnavigate the world around her – girlfriends, family, boys and career aspirations.
Sex is gnawing at her mind, but it’s not prominent. Instead, we watch her learn that perfect men don’t always make for perfect love and that perfect love doesn’t always make for perfect relationships.
Sebastian Kydd, her high school boyfriend was the first to teach her that, along with a cast of other characters that make for a deliciously high school setting. He was the one that taught her to put on her armour, and John James Preston was the Mr Big that proved to her that a man didn’t necessarily translate into committed grown-up.
Predictably, Carrie at 17 was nothing like Carrie at 37, but one thing that remained constant in the pages of her diary and in the reels of her screen adventures is that she familiarised herself with love and all its catastrophes right from the start. And that she was prepared to do battle for it because she genuinely believed in it.
As Sex and the City 2 is set to grace our screens, there’s a lot of debate about whether or not it’s appropriate teenage viewing. I personally think that the first movie deserved a higher rating than what it got, but there’s me again probably being a prude.
Parents with daughters who want to watch it ought to hand their girl the book instead, because it is teenage-friendly and it teaches you that love is not always instantaneous, smooth sailing and worth getting your panties in a twist for.
And that sometimes, it’s far more necessary to figure out who we are and what we want out of life before we go jumping to beds of people who are going to complicate our identities even further, and that true friends are the ones who support our endeavours despite their own misgivings, or attitudes to love and sex.
In The Carrie Diaries, Carrie lives a typical teen life but doesn’t really follow the crowd, and that’s far more acceptable teen culture than the on-screen depiction.
But either way, whether it was her personal diary as a teenage girl or the journalistic writings of her adult life in the city, if Carrie taught the women of today one thing, it’s that love is never easy, but it sure as hell is worth the fights that render it one of life’s most precious treasures.
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