Sex and the CityIn honor of the demise of this long-running show, I here reprint my comment from three years ago -- before I had Blogger and instead posted such notes under the heading "Unsolicited Comments." I never did see the show, but felt moved to ponder the ideas that I imagined inspired it.
Sex and the city: two good ideas
2001 July 17 Tuesday -- Last week the sidewalk across from our building was lined with huge circular lamps that flooded our bedroom with yellow-orange light, easily penetrating our semi-opaque window shades. It was - we found out next morning - the filming of an episode of "Sex and the City" that forced my bedmate and me to dig out our airline masks, like the one the Lone Ranger used to use but without the slits. The concierge in our building told me that they had scores of extras lined up that night, and the main action was occurring around a nearby rooftop pool where I frequently see, from my home office window, models being posed for photo or film shoots. It seemed like a lot of expense for a single TV episode, but hey, what's money for, anyway?
I've never seen the show, and wouldn't know the actresses if I ran into them in the elevator - which I probably have, given the popularity of our building with such types (we're two blocks from Washington Square, from which New York University and its film school have spread out to engulf most of the territory where East Village meets West). Nevertheless, the incident got me to thinking about sex and the city.
I think they are both good ideas. In fact, I think they are the two best, most civilized and most liberating principles for forming community, especially when they occur together. Sex is pretty good, or can be, anywhere, of course, but in a city - well, it can become part of the project to remake yourself as the kind of person you want to be, which is what cities are all about.
There are other principles for forming community, of course, but they are the opposite of liberating. The worst is tribe, or "race," or ethnicity, or any other label for an inherited status. Creed is another, not quite so bad because it is possible, at least theoretically, to change your creed - but hardly anyone ever does unless s/he lives in a city. For obvious reasons. Back in the village, they never give you a chance to experiment, and the only way you learn about other options is from the tourists. And the reason there are tourists is because cities are constantly sending out people who want to explore other ways of being and new experiences. Including sex.