I think Carrie Bradshaw was onto something. Aside from the fact that she was chic as hell, lived in New York and had brunch on the regular, she cleared up a lot of the love and relationship bullshit we go through. I was too young to appreciate Sex and the City while it was on the air so it wasn’t until I saw a resonating quote that led me to binge watch the entire series during a scary, unhealthy week in September of ‘09.
The quote read “maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with.”
Talk about sex philosophy.
I’ve had my fair share of experiences with men but I always found myself gravitating back to the single life (okay sometimes not by choice). I’ve done the one date wonder, the “we’re seeing each other”, the fuck buddies and the girlfriend role and I’ve enjoyed all my experiences in a special way. Although I was able to feel so extraordinarily much I just wasn’t able to feel everything, which is probably why I would stamp an expiry date on the men in my life—except for you dad! (that sounded way less disgusting in my head) This small, unignorable void I was feeling wasn’t necessarily tangible, but it was enough to throw me into a panic which almost always caused me to bail first.
With every emergency exit I ran through, I was left questioning my capacity for love; was I broken? How can I fix this? Do they sell glue for emotional defects?! Is he not the one? After speaking with my friends, some in relationships and others not, I realized I wasn’t alone.
I don’t know if it’s a Gen-Y thing or if it’s something particular to everyone but I find we have a grass is greener approach to most aspects of our lives. Perhaps this is thanks to the façade we front on our social media accounts – I’m talking to you Amanda who cries about her ex at every party but only posts the fake cute drunken selfies in her Snapchat story. This social comparison anxiety we face is especially apparent when it comes to relationships. We look up to these ideas of what happiness is supposed to be, how you should feel about someone, if you felt that ‘love at first sight,’ if you get jealous or if you’re not jealous enough. And so, through self analyzation I realized this generational, or perhaps personal effect, has caused a great deal of pressure on me which in turn I inflicted on the various partners that have walked in and out of my life.
What I wanted in a man was someone he just couldn’t be all on his own – no partner could. I wanted a best friend, a therapist, a lover, a fighter, a gossiping high schooler, a peacemaker, a spontaneous wild child, a logical hippie, a shoulder to cry on, a punching bag (figuratively), a partner in crime, a health enthusiast, a buffet binger, a mind reader, a mentor etc ETC. This definitely had me filtering out many/all potential males.
Although a boyfriend could not encompass all of these traits and characteristics I never actually felt like I was lacking them in a broader sense. What I mean by that is I knew he lacked a few things but I was being fulfilled somehow else. I had these roles playing a part in my life I just didn’t realize the supporting cast was being played by my best friends.
I guess what I wanted was for my entire range of emotions, personality changes, moods and feelings to be fulfilled and on top of that, for that same person to fulfill me intimately. NO, I’m not saying men are void of emotions or expressing feelings and should be used strictly for sex—not at all. What I’m saying is that I was unintentionally trying to reflect a historical bond I share with my best friends onto a lover and then panicking when I didn’t achieve the same connection. The friendship I have with most of my friends has dated back ten+ years and the situations we’ve faced together are unique to us—so how could I rebuild that in months or years spent dating?
So when I refer to the “…guys are just people to have fun with” portion of the quote, I interpret that to essentially mean “stop pressuring yourself”. To me it means stop trying to recreate history in a new agenda. You may never have a connection with your partner like you do with your BFFs but that’s not to say that you won’t have a different one, an equally meaningful relation. You also may never have Jessica’s PDA infused relationship that she has with her boyfriend – everyone’s different. When it comes to love and friendships, there isn’t a template just like there is no duplicate. No mother loves her son exactly the same as the next mom and no brother loves his sister exactly the same as his peer.
Since diagnosing myself with this pressured way of feeling and thinking, I’ve began to take a more lax approach on men. I’ve stopped trying so hard to compare myself/us to other couples or other friendships and allowed my organic feelings to nurture a signature bond exclusive to us. My girlfriends will forever be the ones I call on a rainy night to have a wine potluck with, to talk about our futures, struggles, our embarrassing past eyebrow styles, and how we should TOTALLY have a paid sick day strictly designated for PMSing and of course tragic ex-lovers. As for the men, I’m not exactly going to set a standard of how I should feel or how we will function as a partnership. One thing’s for sure, the men always, unfortunately, end up feeling the wrath of my PMSing.
And so tying back to Carrie, the one common element that buffered her relationships with men, both the good and bad, was the fact that she could always retrieve back to her circle of friends for support. They may not have had the all answers for her and sometimes they may have even said the wrong thing but at the end of it all, they kept her sane. So the takeaway message is not “men are insufficient and different than women”, instead it’s more of an ode to best friends and an appreciation of the relationship spectrum.