Monday, 31 May 2010

Big Gay Monday: Sex and the City

"I couldn't help but wonder..."

We all know how the Bible goes, there are four gospels and they are centuries old. Jesus was born, did some mint things (maybe) and was then killed. And then he came back to life. And then he died again. You can read it for yourself, people have been worshiping it for more than a millennium now. The story is complete. But some people don't follow the Bible. Some people follow, for example, Sex and the City the greatest television phenomenon that has ever been or ever will be. Similar to the Bible, the stories have been swapped among single women and gay men for almost a decade now. People have used lessons they've learned in the series in their everyday lives. And who hasn't sat around before and assigned all their friends to the four main characters (I, for example, am obviously a Carrie. Carla and Sophie are both a Miranda. Catherine fancies herself as a Samantha but she is really a Charlotte. I could literally do this for hours)?

But what would happen if they unearthed a new chapter of the Bible that continued the story on? You can guarantee that Christians would not be celebrating more tales of their beloved Jesus, they'd be shitting themselves in case they unearthed tales like "The Parable of the Happy-Slapping Messiah" or "Jesus and Mary Make A Porno". Their entire belief system would be shattered. It wouldn't matter that so much of the good stuff in the Bible was there to be enjoyed still, when they read it back all they'd be able to think about would be the shitty ending. I was in a similar position myself as I started getting ready to go and see the Sex And The City 2 at the cinema this evening. If this film was shit I literally do not know what I would have done. My first instinct would have been a killing spree, let me tell you. However, since the film was not, as reviews suggest, a pile of utter bollocks, let's take a moment and look back at why Sex And The City is such an important part of gay culture.

"I'm a trysexual, I'll try anything once"- Samantha Jones.

As the millenium approached, people were experimenting more than ever with their sexualities. Threesomes, bisexuality and women taking control of their sexualities (such as in the series pilot which sees Carrie trying out no-strings, casual sex and "having sex like a man") were all coming into the mainstream for the first time, after a long period of going on behind closed doors and in the imaginations of the more repressed in society. Sex and the City came along at the right time and was adored by gay men because for the first time ever here was a TV show that not only portrayed but practically encouraged sexual liberation. Into the mainstream there was finally a series showing four women being adventurous with their sex lives.

Stanford: I just don't have that gay look
Carrie: I dunno, you look pretty gay to me

While the series concentrated on four single, heterosexual women there was also a look through the key-hole of the New York gay scene in the form of Carrie's best friend Stanford Blatch who represents "the outcast among the outcasts" who didn't really fit the gay look. Rather than resorting to gimmicks and stereotypes with Stanford, the producers of Sex And The City instead put forward a realistic gay character practically exiled from the gay scene for not fitting the gay mould. Stanford is even occasionally given his own storylines, where he is seen trying out Internet chat rooms as a way of meeting men, eventually getting into a monogamous relationship with a Broadway dancer and marrying Anthony Marentino, originally intended to be his gay foil who he locked horns with, in the second film.

It's not just the sex, though. I must admit the fashion of Sex And The City is not what draws me in, but for many gay fans seeing what Carrie was going to be wearing next was as important as seeing who Samantha was going to be shagging, or who Miranda was going to be uninterestingly bitchy to. Carrie claims to have spent $40,000 on shoes and uses her oven "for storage", a life of luxury that has kept wide-eyed gays glued to the series since it started 12 years ago (she even once handed over her bag willingly to a mugger but was horrified when he asked for her strappy sandals).

The cast of Sex And The City have all used their powerful position within the gay community to do good for man-on-man-kind, and have spoken out in support of gay marriage and equality for same-sex relationships:

And so, let us thank Madonna in Heaven for Sex And The City, the greatest thing to ever grace the small (and, indeed, big) screen of all time. Oh and ignore the reviews, the second film is absolutely incredible. The reviewers panning it are all straight men whose idea of a good time is putting their penis inside of a vagina-- what does that tell you?

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