I went to the ABC News Web site earlier today and noticed (in the way one "notices" a flaming pileup of cars on the side of the road) the following headline: "'Sex and the City' Made Me Have Sex at 14." Curiously, though, when I clicked on the attention-grabbing headline and was taken to the actual article, the headline suddenly morphed into: "'Sex and the City' Fiend: Show Turned Me Into Samantha." As I found from reading the piece, this slightly less sensationalistic headline (it doesn't invoke illicit underage sex) still blatantly contradicts the actual words of Lisa, the interviewee, who is now 22.
Lisa describes how eight years ago -- newsworthy, indeed -- she thought smoking was cool because of Carrie Bradshaw's signature shaky-handed drag, and that one-night stands were fun because Samantha seemed to enjoy them -- but she then very clearly says: "It wasn't 'Sex and the City's' fault." Ah, but the headline "'Sex and the City' Didn't Make Me Have Sex at 14" just doesn't have the same ... je ne sais quoi.
As for Lisa, take heart -- her tale of "Sex and the City" addiction has a happy ending: She moved from New York to Utah at age 19, converted to Mormonism, married an LDS adherent and had two children with him. He forbade her from watching the show, had her sell her "Sex and the City" DVD collection on eBay, and they lived happily ever after. (I'm pretty sure there's a moral to this story -- something about finding a
prince patriarch in shining armor and fulfilling one's biological destiny.)
That's far too cheery a note to end on, so I'll leave you with this nuanced and classy concession by the article's author: "'Sex and the City' can't be blamed for creating a generation of sluts." Thanks, ABC! Next time someone at a highbrow cocktail party asks me about my thoughts on the origin of "Generation Slut," I'll smartly respond: "You know" -- squinting, while delicately sipping from my Cosmo -- "when it comes to the preponderance of sluts in contemporary culture, it's a chicken versus egg, nature versus nurture question."