Recently, I sat down to watch Sex and the City 2 recently, both out of curiosity and the need to torture myself with media that feels both familiar and also, somewhat bad. To be clear: I love Sex and the City, though it pains me to admit it, and the first movie felt like a largely unnecessary but still acceptable entry into the canon. The second movie, I’d been told, is abysmal. But like a child who needs to touch the hot stove to prove that it is indeed hot, I refused to listen to the naysayers. I had to see it for myself.
The movie is poorly-executed fan fiction set in freakin’ Abu Dhabi, which leaves the door wide open for one million bad and problematic jokes about Middle Eastern culture. It was admittedly thrilling to have context for the iconic Samantha Jones line, “Lawrence of my labia,” but other than that, everything else that I was supposed to think was good, was actually bad. However, what struck me as the most interesting bit of information in this movie is that in the beginning, before the women jet off to Abu Dhabi to do microaggressions, there’s the start of a frank discussion about what a modern marriage looks like, kickstarted by Carrie and Big, two of the worst people in this fictional world, who deserve each other, through and through.
Now that they’re married, Big is tired all the time from being a businessman and never wants to go out. Carrie would rather die than sit inside and do her job, which is to write one freelance article for Vogue every few months or so, for an untold amount of money. Big wants to watch Deadliest Catch on the TV in the bedroom, which was an anniversary gift to Carrie; Carrie wants to take Big out to Indochine or whatever so he can show off the enormous vintage Rolex she got him. Inexplicably, Carrie’s old apartment is still unoccupied, and so she uses it for a couple of days to “do some writing,” effectively taking a “break” from the marriage she so fervently desired with the man she has chased for years. Upon her return, Big proposes that maybe it’d be chill if they made that situation a regular thing: two nights off, for each person to have some me-time.
This arrangement causes Carrie to spiral, which is fair, given that Big would likely use it to do sex with women that aren’t Carrie, and Carrie would use it to do... whatever it is that she used to do. However, we don’t get to see what this looks like because it’s a movie, but I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Big was onto something. Two days off and five days on for any relationship sounds not like a problem, but perfection.
Every relationship is different, but the desire to have some actual time alone—free of children or your partner—is normal. “Aloneliness,” as explained by Shayla Love at Vice, is the need to just be ALONE—a feeling that you are losing yourself by just spending every waking moment with someone else. The arrangement that Big proposed that caused Carrie and her narrow-minded girlfriends so much agita is ideal; if they have that goddamn apartment and it’s just sitting there, then why not use it for some personal time? Carrie’s anger is that she seems to think any good relationship involves wanting to spend every waking hour of every minute with their partner, which is naturally how she’d think because she is both easily influenced by her friends and also, a fictional character deeply indebted to confirming traditional notions of marriage because that is what the intended audience for this drivel wants. But two days off from any relationship is honestly the dream. Anyone who has the privilege to take this bold step with their relationship absolutely should.
Two days is enough time to have some me-time, to do stuff like lay on the couch and watch many TV shows or to stare at your phone for hours, without anyone asking you about what you’re doing. You can pluck your chin hairs in peace and, I don’t know, masturbate, without the fear or the sinking dread of your partner finding you doing any of these things you used to do so freely, without thinking and without planning. Carrie, a woman who championed “secret single behavior” like eating grape jelly off a spoon, or whatever, should be absolutely on board with such an arrangement, and yet, acts as if Big has thrown her Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes into a trash compactor and pressed the on-switch. The arrangement is not the issue here, as it is unimpeachably practical, if not a bit luxurious; it is Carrie. Carrie is the problem. It’s always Carrie!