I haven’t written much about casual sex.
There are a few reasons for this. For one, I don’t have it very often. For another, I have parents.
But my feeling is that many of you who read this blog do so because, most times, I try my best to be honest. And if we’re going to be honest about the life of a single twenty-something woman, sooner or later we’ve got to talk about sleeping with someone who is not your boyfriend. Because, when you don’t have a boyfriend–let’s be honest–that is who you sleep with.
Also, lately I’ve been watching “Mad Men.” (I have a habit of coming to cultural trends–TV shows, Gladiator sandals, quinoa–enthusiastically but several years late.)
I can see a number of reasons why the show has grown so popular: the clothes, the writing, Jon Hamm’s bone structure, Christina Hendricks’ physique.
But the thing that keeps coming into my mind is that there is a sort of illicit pleasure we may take in entering a world before we knew any better: before the phrase “politically correct” entered the lexicon, before we knew it was unhealthy to smoke and bad to litter and inappropriate to pinch your secretary’s waist.
Obviously most of us are extremely glad these things have changed. But I do think there’s a kind of perverse nostalgia for a time before we knew to be conscientious about, well, everything.
I know I’ve already dismissed it, but I have to tell you that I found one of the most relatable observations in that “How to Be Single” book–excuse me, novel–to be about female friendship:
“I always wanted a gaggle of girlfriends, always longed for a posse, my little family of friends, but it just didn’t work out that way. It would have been nice if at one job I was able to grab a whole bunch of them, like lobsters in a trap. But meeting a group of women who end up living in the same city, remaining friends and sharing the most intimate moments of their lives is rare and wonderful and definitely something to pine for, or at least watch on television.”
That passage really struck me when I read it (the first time, and yes, the second). Because I think a lot of women would agree that what is most enviable about those “Sex and the City” ladies is exactly that: not their clothes or Cosmopolitans or even their seemingly infinite leisure time–it’s the mere fact of a cohesive group with a common history (not to mention lunch schedule) who all live in the same place.
My grandmother–not the one who is 100, but the one with a PhD and a social calender busier than mine and whose age I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you–forwarded me a link the other day. It was from NPR’s arts blog, Monkey See, and she asked if I knew the author.
Before I’d had a chance to fully roll my eyes (bless her news junkie heart, this grandmother loves to forward articles that I don’t always love to read), I saw that the author was, in fact, my friend and writing/life mentor, Sara Sarasohn. Eagerly, I read. The post is about two new network dramas, “Parenthood” and “Modern Family”; being a graduate student, of course, I hadn’t heard of either. But that didn’t make her post any less interesting, or relevant.
It’s about the fact that, in order for television to realistically portray family relationships, they have to present them as different in one fundamental way: rather than communicating via technology, these fictive relatives actually see one another. In person!
I contemplated the entertainment value of a “Sex and the City” episode in which, rather than spend time with a man she’s dating–or even rather than talking to him on the phone–Carrie communicates the way most people my age do as their romantic liasons begin: over texting, and gchat.