How to Get a Happier Marriage: Dear Carrie Bradshaw, Don't Blame Marriage
I never understood why it didn't work out with Aidan. My sister has tried to explain it to me, how you and Aidan didn't have it, and how apparently you found it with another man who was never very nice to you. This all reminds me a bit of that book that came out a few months back that implored women to "settle," and defined "settling" as marrying someone who is kind, stable, and good. Undermining the value of it, it seems. But in your case, didn't it really come down to a closet?
I liked you, Carrie Bradshaw. When I was lonely and sad, I loved that you were a Katie Girl, and it gave me courage to be myself. I know it is pathetic to get courage from HBO, but it was the turn of the century and I was a bit shallow, and so were you, but that wasn't the whole of it either, was it? I loved your friendships, and I loved your friends. I loved your voice overs, and your laptop screen. Neither of us could have been so entirely shallow, really, because I've never known a shoe that wasn't orthopedic, but I liked you, Carrie Bradshaw, still.
I liked you, though you've done harm. You have! The number of women I know who don't believe it's love unless it's tumultuous -- that's down to you, CB. Who believe that tumult = passion. Not to mention a predilection for really expensive shoes and bags, and really expansive debt. I'm not sure that before you, these things were considered normal.
I liked you, though, but I don't think I like you anymore. I'll never really know, because I haven't seen your latest movie and I don't plan to, but I saw a preview and I'm disappointed. Unsurprised, but disappointed. Because in your new movie, you appear to take a look at your life (the not-so-nice, emotionally unavailable man you married, your closet) and determine that the problem is marriage. That marriage is boring, and passion gets stale, and then you run away to become the Sheik of Araby (and here, the preview lost me).
Though I am still a bit green when it comes to marriage, that I've been doing it for five years is nothing to scoff at. And I've been pretty good at marriage, actually, right from the get-go, when I made a decision to marry a man who wasn't an asshole. It was him, actually, who took me away from a life in which courage was HBO. So yes, in a way, it seems I required a man to save me, but he saved me from you, Carrie Bradshaw, and your fashionable post-feminism. And I've been pretty happy ever since, having put away the angst, the drama, the tumult, and without that baggage, I've gotten a lot of really good things done. If he hadn't come along, I really do fear that I might have whiled away my twenties wearing a necklace with my name on it, and I wouldn't even have been you because you're a fantasy. I would have been wearing orthopedic shoes, and I would have still been sad.
Marriage is wonderful, Carrie Bradshaw. It is a fine institution, and of course, it's what you make it. And it's not for everybody, maybe even not for you, but I resent how you deride it. I resent that the same women who've spent their twenties thinking it's not love unless somebody's throwing things are going to think that marriage should be more of the same. And that when the throwing stops, that's boring.
Carrie Bradshaw, you're boring. You make adolescents look mature. If you were real, I'd throw something at you, and that's not love.
This is the sixth post in our How to Get a Happier Marriage Series. If you've missed one, check out the archive.
Kerry Clare reads and writes in Toronto. She lives online at Pickle Me This.