Even though it doesn’t have vocals, the peppy, jazzy opening tune of Sex and the City is still one of the most recognizable theme songs on television — as memorable as Carrie’s “naked dress,” the ladies’ love of Cosmopolitans, and many of the columnist’s iconic, though occasionally absurd, quotes about sex, relationships, and New York City. Carrie Bradshaw never claimed to be as wise as our mothers (whose advice somehow always ends up being correct, even if we fail to see it at the time), but how exactly did she become the guru that all of her friends — as well as all of the women of NYC — went to for advice? For being a forward-thinking sex columnist, Carrie has remarkably narrow-minded perspective on many things, including but not limited to sexual orientation, finances, and the power balance in relationships. While some of her more profound “Later that night I got to thinking…” muses will always have a special place in viewers’ hearts, she had quite a few quotes that quite frankly are just ridiculous.
Fashion is not food
“When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I bought ‘Vogue’ instead of dinner. I found it fed me more.” No. Just no. No matter how thick that issue of Vogue is, you cannot eat the pages of a magazine (at least, you can’t get any nutritional value from them). And giving young aspiring fashionistas the idea that keeping up with monthly style news is more important than eating is not healthy or inspiring. I understand what she means, hypothetically, but foregoing a meal to afford a magazine is just not good advice. Hear it in Season 4, Episode 2
“And finally, the most important breakup rule: no matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never go through it without your friends.” I love Carrie’s undying dedication to her friends. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte are there for each other through thick and thin, supporting one another through breakups, infidelity, job setbacks, pregnancy issues — and that’s just the big stuff. They also had each other on speed dial for input on what to wear, where to eat, and every other mundane thing. Except, it’s not right for Carrie to say you’ll never get through a breakup without your friends. Yes, they help you. But ultimately, each individual must move on on their own. Heart it in Season 2, Episode 1
Don’t take financial advice from Carrie Bradshaw
“I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet.” Carrie is a sex columnist because she’s good at writing about sex. As the bus ad says at the beginning of every episode, “Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex (and isn’t afraid to ask).” What Carrie Bradshaw is not good at is giving sound financial advice. Or, apparently, asking for it. Although she could probably rake in a nice nest of cash by selling her nicer, lesser-worn things on resale platforms (tbh I don’t know if she ever re-wears anything she owns), it’s not exactly the smartest way to invest. Hear it in Season 6, Episode 1
Sad but true
“When men attempt bold gestures, generally it’s considered romantic. When women do it, it’s often considered desperate or psychotic.” This quote is unfortunately ridiculous not because Carrie is off the mark, but because she’s so dead on. This is one of the unfair dichotomies that exist in today’s dating landscape. What everyone considers amazing and romantic when done by a man, they categorize as clingy and insane if done by a woman. The double standard isn’t right, and it makes me feel depressed that Carrie said this in the very beginning of the 2000s and 17 years later it still rings true. Hear it in Season 4, Episode 6
Please tell me this is a joke
“I’m not even sure bisexuality exists. I think it’s just a layover on the way to Gay Town.” As a strong LGBTQ+ advocate — and as a person — this quote appalls me. This whole episode treats bisexuality like it’s some strange fetish that should never be spoken about, let alone practiced. None of the friends seem open to it as a concept, even going so far as to believe it’s not real. Even Samantha, typically the most sexually progressive in the group, only encourages Carrie to be open to dating a bisexual man because bisexual people are more open to sexual experiences, though she doesn’t necessarily think it’s a legitimate orientation. Especially in today’s day and age, this comment — just like a joke about using a gun to kill oneself — is completely inappropriate. Hear it in Season 3, Episode 4
“Year after year, twentysomething women come to New York in search of the two ‘L’s: Labels & Love.” This quote certainly makes New York, the biggest city in the U.S. and the second biggest in the world, seem very small. For someone as open-minded as a sex columnist living in one of the most progressive places in the country, she has really no excuse for some of her BS quotes. Carrie seems to have a pretty narrow view of the world at times. So much of her content is personal, which is great, except when she fails to take into consideration all of the other persons around her. Look at her friends: Miranda came for law (at least it’s an “L”), Samantha for PR, and Charlotte for art — okay, fine, kind of a husband. There are other passions besides fashion and men! Hear it in the Sex and the City movie
What’s wrong with being slutty?
“I revealed too much too soon. I was emotionally slutty.” I repeat: For as open-minded as a sex columnist living in one of the most progressive places in the country should be, Carrie seems to have a pretty narrow view of the world at times. Who is she to use the word “slutty” in a derogatory manner? Whatever her personal opinion on sleeping with someone on the first date (and we see her do it more than once), does she need to compare it to being open emotionally as if either one of those things is bad? Hear it in Season 5, Episode 8
Whose definition of perfect is that?
“I will never be the woman with the perfect hair who can wear white and not spill on it.” I’ve used a lot of dating apps, and even though I’m not a fan, never have I ever come across a man’s profile seeking “a woman with perfect hair who can wear white and not spill on it.” Since when was that the ideal? True, in this particular episode she’s comparing herself to Natasha, Big’s 25-year-old wife (for the brief amount of time it lasted before Carrie herself got involved in its demise), but those are definitely not the factors that made Natasha as beautiful or even as poised as she is. Sure, these would be great qualities to master, but honestly, it sounds pretty boring, too. Hear it in Season 3, Episode 3
You might regret that later
“Destroy all pictures where he looks sexy and you look happy.” I get it. When you’re going through a breakup, you don’t want to keep a million reminders laying around of how amazing he was and how great you were as a couple. But once you get over it — and you will get over it — you might want some of those memories, if for nothing else to see how incredible you look when you’re happy and to know that you can look that way again. Now that everything is digital, it’s all too easy to scrub any evidence of your coupledom from your social media feeds. But that’s not an accurate portrayal of your life, now is it? You might want to reminisce about that period of time later… in a completely healthy “I can’t believe I wore that!” kind of way. Hear it in Season 2, Episode 1
Quite the generalization
“Men who are too good looking are never good in bed because they never had to be.” This says a couple things to me: Carrie is intimidated by good-looking men, and she also must not think any of her boyfriends were that good looking because she seemed to have a pretty good sex life with the big players in her intimate history. I think she would be pretty horrified if a guy she was seeing told her that women who were too good-looking weren’t good in bed. Also, news flash: unattractive men can be bad in bed too. So can average looking men. Any man, really, has the potential to be bad in bed. (Fortunately, there are ways to help him get better.) Hear it in Season 5, Episode 2
That’s not objectifying at all…
“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just somebody I’m trying on.” Hey, if you’re in a situation with no strings attached, then more power to you. But otherwise, this statement comes across as callous and insensitive. Men aren’t sweaters or shoes that can be tried on and discarded if they aren’t the perfect fit. Yes, hypothetically, you are trying out every person you date and ultimately end up breaking up or staying together forever, but does she really have to explain it in terms of shopping for this season’s couture? Hear it in Season 1, Episode 3
Well that’s sexist
“People say ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ These people are usually women. And these women are usually sorting through a breakup. It seems that men can get out of a relationship without even a ‘Goodbye.’ But, apparently, women have to either get married or learn something.” Yes, Carrie is almost always speaking from the perspective of a straight female, pursuing straight men, in a city that is notorious for its difficult dating scene. But she often fails to given strong women the credit they deserve, or recognize men for their foibles. I’d be pissed if someone broke up with me on a Post-It note too, but that’s Berger, not all men. Additionally, everyone should learn something from a relationship — even one that works — and that shouldn’t be seen as a negative consequence or a coping mechanism. Hear it in Season 6, Episode 5
“Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies.” Sure. This quote is accurate… enough. Except in Carrie’s romanticized view of the world, no one should settle for anything less than butterflies. But butterflies don’t always survive in harsh weather, so wouldn’t you rather base your relationship on something a little more sturdy? At least caterpillars can evolve and grow to become butterflies, you know? Once you’re a butterfly, the next step is to die. Plus, it’s easy to have butterflies with just about anyone in the beginning of a relationship. Getting past that point, to the hard stuff, and making it through that… that’s what you really need to do. Hear it in Season 5, Episode 8
What New York City is this?
“New York City is all about sex. People getting it, people trying to get it, people who can’t get it. No wonder the city never sleeps. It’s too busy trying to get laid.” I’ve lived in New York City for more than four years and I don’t think this is accurate unless I’m missing something. Power, money, or prestige? Maybe. Fame, success, or career satisfaction? Sure. But sex, though it’s often used as a tool to achieve all the other things, isn’t the end goal, as far as I’ve noticed. In fact, it might even be more of a way to distract ourselves from our progress (or lack thereof) at achieving whatever it is that we’re actually trying to find in this concrete jungle. Hear it in Season 4, Episode 18
Not a good thing to lose
“My mind was yelling how angry I was, but my heart… my heart. And just like that… I lost my head.” It’s easy to lose your head when your heart says one thing and your mind says another. But in this episode, Carrie is talking about sleeping with Big, her ex-boyfriend who is married, while she herself has an amazing boyfriend of her own. You can only excuse your heart for so much bad behavior before you ultimately have to lay the responsibility right back where it originated: in your head. Hear it in Season 3, Episode 9
That financial advice thing all over again
“I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!” Did Carrie really not realize how much money she sunk into the items filling her closet? She makes plenty of references to buying things she “can’t afford” and does it anyway. And have you seen her apartment? IRL I don’t think she’d even be able to afford the monthly rent OR any designer shoes. Then again, TV shows are notorious for depicting entirely unrealistic New York City apartments so, there’s that. Hear it in Season 4, Episode 16