Let’s talk about ‘Sex’

Matt Siblo

It goes without saying that just about everyone we come into contact with on a daily basis has a deep dark secret that they’d like to keep hidden from the outside world. Some of these skeletons are indeed more disturbing than others, but each hidden nuance, no matter how monumental or minuscule, stands to unearth a part of ourselves that we’re not always ready to come to grips with. But in the spirit of self-realization and with the start of a new semester upon us, I think my time to come clean is now. In a society where machismo is said to be passé and sensitivity supposedly looked upon as a positive male characteristic, why is it that this 20- year-old boy should feel ashamed to watch a simple cable television show? In other words, why should I be made to feel like less of a man if all I want to do is watch “Sex?”

It all started very innocently when I caught my first episode while waiting for my friend Liz to get ready before we were to head over to dinner. I only caught about 10 minutes but I was shocked that I didn’t find it as abhorrent as I would have imagined. This new found curiosity then led to my occasional trips to Bryn Mawr College to watch some episodes with some friends. Before I knew, it occasionally had turned to weekly, which then turned into me watching every episode that was on HBO On Demand during Christmas break. It’s become so bad that I have found myself with borrowed copies of Seasons 3 and 4 on DVD from my roommate’s girlfriend. How did this slippery slope get so damn slippery?

Amidst this personal viewing blitzkrieg, there was undoubtedly a fair share of nay-sayers and critics. My habit drew comments such as “effeminate” by my girlfriend, being called “a pansy” by my father and a slew of other colorful adjectives by my peers which stand as unfit to print. Such negativity and hostility over preference for a television show left me wondering what exactly the big deal was. Were my critics worried that my affinity for expensive shoes and Prada merchandise might now be on the rise, or was there something much more substantial hidden beneath all of this? My vote is for yes, but please stop me if I’m getting a tad too analytical.

The simple facts are that “Sex and the City” is a well-written, smart and funny show that is always amusing and occasionally thought-provoking. It is for these reasons that I became a fan of the show (well, that and the hope that I’ll be able to catch Kristen Davis in the buff one of these days) and I stand by the fact that none of its positive qualities are gender selective. I have become so sick of the unintelligible argument that if “Sex and the City” was a show about guys, it would have received no attention. Are we, as men, that threatened to see a show dominated by females succeed? But while we’re on the subject, I agree with the idea that a show like “Sex and the City” wouldn’t receive any attention if its characters were all men. By societies standards, most men 18-45 wouldn’t be interested in watching men express their feelings on friendship and love with each other because most men (and apparently many women) believe that this sort of interaction is to be seen as “girly” and would probably be taken off the air due to poor viewer response. No one can have it both ways sadly, and until both men and women start realizing that the fundamental and structural boundaries that we as a society have placed upon gender need some re-tooling, we’ll be doomed to continue accept the archaic know it all machismo of John Wayne as ideal and the vacant, plastic smile and shape of Pamela Anderson as healthy.

Don’t get me wrong; “Sex and the City” is not the cure for the common cold. Nor is it the common ground that Israel and Palestine can agree upon. The show can’t even help bridge that inane, invisible bridge between Mars and Venus that was set up a couple of years back.

Hell, sometimes its characters are extremely annoying and embody every righteously stuckup snob I can’t stand in real life (again Charlotte, we’re looking at you here). But the fact remains that my enthusiasm for the show and the responses that I have received due to said enthusiasm says more to me about our culture than “Sex and the City” ever expressed in the 29 minutes its episodes usually span.

I challenge all of you to really think about what you expect as appropriate responses and attitudes for a man and a woman and then think about how fair these ideas actually are considering that both sexes go through many of the same taxing life experiences, especially during a time like college. The line between masculine and feminine can get mighty blurry, and all I’m essentially talking about is a TV show. Now you go think about all of this while I go finish up season 4.