BRING ON BELLE DU JOUR, SEX AND THE CITY: DON’T COME BACK

Greetings,

There was a story in one of today’s papers about the hunt for a webmistress of sorts: Belle Du Jour, a London call girl, is posting her thoughts here. It’s already generated a huge sensation across the Pond, so much so that Belle has signed a six-figure book deal with a major British book publisher.

So with the worldwide sensation of Salem Pax – the Iraq war blogger who’s terrific war coverage earned him a publishing deal and a column in the British newspaper The Guardian – and the growing power of the Belle Du Jour site, two of humanity’s most talked about topics have brought blogging officially into the mainstream – sex and death.

Belle’s site is sexy without what I call the “Sex In The City” Factor – a pretensiousness and self-referentialism that only a gigantic ego can bring. Naturally, the blog has its detractors, people who believe that it couldn’t possibly be written by (in that unmistakable British tendency to think about class before ability) a temptress from the gallows of urban life. I can see it now: a tony pub near the Thames, full of aristocratic wannabes yearning for the Trans-Atlantic cachet of a place in both SoHo in New York City and a flat near London Bridge, drinking some dark-as-night ale in pint glasses and claiming moral superiority over those who sell their bodies for money. Meanwhile, no one in the pub is squeaky clean either. One’s probably cheating on his wife, another’s getting insider stock tips and the other’s so deeply in debt she’d be pulling herself out of the interest payments alone long after she’s dead.

I’d use the “glasses houses” metaphor here but it’s been beaten to a pulp.

I’ve never understood exactly why people feel the need to be self-righteous over “prostitutes” and what they do. It’s hard enough in a world so mindlessly self-interested, so unyielding towards others, that we’d pass judgment on people who have run out of options and simply need to pay the rent. Some are indeed addicted to hard drugs, no question there. Some are doing it as a side job on top of another, more “mainstream” form of employment. But many are doing it because they’ve got no choice. You either do something you don’t want to do (which is what the vast majority of us do every day of our adult lives, I might add) in your life to pay the bills, or you try to improve your lot in life. I’m sure many people in the world’s oldest profession don’t want to be there and are coming up with ways to get out, whether through school, getting better jobs or getting out from the clutches of a pimp or some other thing that ties them to the street.

The point is, judging someone for what they do is hypocritical and myopic. Everyone makes decisions in their lives that they regret – the key is to let go of the past and look forward to a future you have a choice over.

SEX AND THE CITY: The end for one of television’s most beloved shows came last night. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha’s adventures came to a close after six seasons and, in my mind, not a moment too soon.

I used to appreciate Sex and the City. For the first two seasons, it was the best written show on TV. It had four women who defied stereotypes and brought out a side of New York City in ways that would make Woody Allen blush. The sex was surprisingly hot at times (although it should be made known that Sarah Jessica Parker was the only one of the four leads never to go nude on screen, which is kind of odd considering that the series was always about Sarah’s character, Carrie Bradshaw) and the character development robust and engaging.

But then something happened.

By Season Four, the show degenerated into a hodge-podge of domestic set pieces, each more absurd than the last. It was inevitable: SATC’s hook – a quartet of sexually assertive thirtysomethings – became increasingly stale, and the writers tried to make the characters discover the “joys” of domestic bliss. Never mind the fact the show was, at the beginning, an unabashed fairy tale of materialism. Every action by Carrie and her friends was nearly consequence-free, every new shoe part of some unlimited bank line of credit only HBO could provide. It was fun, gloriously amoral and hedonistic.

Then Carrie wanted to get married to Mikhail Baryshnikov. Terrific, an episode entirely filmed at the Metropolitan Theatre! Sounds hot to me, break out the hot wax!

By the show’s finale, this “growing up” of the four leads proved that an endless revolution (that is, to say, that women can be as sexually outgoing as men) may be cool, but it’s always dated. The initial thrill of Sex and the City was, at least to some of my female friends, like an act of rebellion: women get this idiotic idea implanted in their minds from the moment of puberty that it’s not okay to enjoy sex, and that there is no middle ground between the Sweet Prude and the Nasty Slut stereotypes. Sex and the City nurtured that act of rebellion and encouraged it.

And we’re all better for it.

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