Twenty years after Sex and the City was published, its author talks about the shows legacy, her run-in with Trump, and how Tinder has changed dating in NYC
Its been 20 years since the publication of the collected Sex and the City columns. In what ways do you see its cultural and social stamp today?
When I started writing the column, there wasnt a whole lot of interest in the single woman. It was a cultural reality that no one had spent much time thinking about. And people really felt that if a woman was single in her 30s, there was something wrong with her she must have terrible baggage or a terrible personality. But there have always been single women, and there certainly have always been single women in the big cities. It just wasnt something that anybody was going to write about.
Did you get the sense when writing it that there was something radical about approaching sex and dating with such candor?
I dont know if it was radical, but it was definitely something that hadnt been written about much except in womens magazines. I had always been writing for womens magazines about single women, but people didnt take them too seriously. So when I started writing for the New York Observer it was a much smaller audience, but also a very sophisticated one, both men and women. Things could be a bit darker and more realistic, whereas in a lot of womens magazines it was all about happy endings. Men have always had the luxury of there being all different kinds of men, and male writers, whereas there are only a few different kinds of women and you could be pigeonholed into three or four different types. Thats changed so much. So the Observer was willing to take a harder, more outrageous look at the behaviors and the attitudes of men and women. We set out to write about things that we thought could only happen in New York, where for some people, its more advantageous to be single than it is to be married. And the interesting thing was that they were actually happening everywhere.
Why do you think the show has so much staying power?
Human nature. We all grapple with the issues in Sex and the City. And now people grapple with them in a different way, maybe online. But the core of wanting to find someone, a soulmate, or not wanting one, the things that one learns about oneself when one gets into relationships, all that is human nature and that doesnt really change.