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Keep Calm and Carrie On

Keep Calm and Carrie On
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Photo Courtesy of HBO

BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

Eighteen years ago this summer, the groundbreaking HBO original Sex And The City premiered.

The actual ages of the four friends were never discussed, until 2001, when in Season 4, Carrie Bradshaw celebrated her 35th birthday. (Remember the dinner party fiasco at Il Cantinori in Greenwich Village? No one showed because they were either held up at work, stuck in traffic or got the address wrong, and Carrie had to pay for her own cake.)

This means that SJP’s alter-ego is now 50.

I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble, but IMHO Carrie’s marriage to Big ended as well as Candace Bushnell’s.

If you recall in the second feature film, Mr. & Mrs. had settled into daily wedded life, and differed on how to spend their non-working hours. The writer and gal about town had fallen in love with a handsome, rich man about town. Suddenly though, his attitude about NYC’s nightlife was been there, done that. (He was older than she was and had to be 60-plus by then.) The farthest “out” that Big wanted to go was onto the terrace, until the Chinese food arrived and ball game started. Proof: For their anniversary, Carrie gifted her husband with an engraved vintage Rolex watch, while he installed a flat screen in their bedroom, on which to watch old movies.

After she confessed to him that while on vacay with her friends, she and her ex, Aiden, shared a moment, Big gave her a black diamond ring, and they agreed to compromise when it came to going out vs. staying in.

Um, yeah. I think that lasted about as long as the latest fashion trend. There was always something puerile about Carrie; a forever young quality that she could only hold on to if she continued acting as she always had – wearing the most fab outfit, being on “the list,” and being seen with the most sought after man in Manhattan on her arm. I think when Carrie realized that ‘til death do us part was with the homebody, old-before-his-time guy, well, she probably justified her exit by recounting the times he had left her for Paris, Napa, and, of course, Natasha.

Older and wiser Carrie is still running around with her Manolos – in her purse. Like me, and many I know, her long, slender feet are no longer able to handle pounding the pavement in heels. Flats are now her BFFs, and as any true New York woman, she has the shoe-swap thing down to a science.

As far as jobs go, I believe Carrie probably has the funds to reinvent herself. Her books were quite successful (and then there’s the divorce settlement), plus she made a name for herself as a writer from the original column she wrote. I don’t think at 5-0, she’s making the rounds, trying to hustle up freelance assignments – even at Vogue.

I’d bet my own Manolos that Carrie has her own podcast a la, again, Candace Bushnell, as well as a website akin to Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP. Both, of course, play to a duel audience: educating the newbies on the adage that in NYC one is always looking for a job, a date, or an apartment; and empathizing with her peers about aging in the city that never sleeps without an Ambien prescription.

And naturally, Carrie’d still have Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. Because they’re older, not dead, there is still talk of “boys,” like the ones that Samantha and Carrie are now meeting on OurTime; meanwhile, Miranda and Charlotte are caught up in the “road to college” frenzy for Brady, Lily and Rose. Now instead of their relationships, there’s talk of mysterious aches and pains, and whether they should go see the doctor.

The one thing Carrie won’t be doing is posing most of the questions she had as a younger woman, which served as catalysts for her SATC columns: Can you ever really forgive if you can’t forget? To be in a couple, do you have to put your single self on a shelf? Is a relationship a relationship without the zsa zsa zsu?

She’s been around long enough to finally have some answers.

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Lorraine Duffy Merkl
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels BACK TO WORK SHE GOES and FAT CHICK, for which a movie version is in the works.