How Mobile Phones Would Have Ruined The Spontaneous Romance Of SATC


by Anna Brech |
Published on

Modern technology was just on the cusp of fruition in the last episodes of Sex and the City in 2004.

Die-hard fans may remember that Carrie received an old-school text from "John" - aka Mr Big - in the finale scene.

But for the most part, Carrie and the gang relied on landlines and, y'know, face-to-face dating.

It's this dynamic that Sex And The City creator Candace Bushnell says could never exist in a modern age of dating apps and smartphone addiction.

"Technology’s been the biggest change [since SATC was first published 20 years ago]," Candace tells the Guardian in a new interview.

"I go to a bar and 90% of people are on their phones. It’s easier for people to retreat into themselves, whereas if you lived in the city then, you were interacting with all different kinds of people every day. Now you get into the elevator or on the subway and it’s like Clan of the Cave Bear."

Would Samantha and Richard have hit it off over Tinder? ©YouTube

And while you might assume that the brave new world of dating apps would offer up ample prospects for a juicy storyline or two, Candace says that's simply not the case.

"I was really shocked by how unromantic Tinder is," the author says.

"When I talk to girls in their early 20s some say, 'What’s a date like?'

"Twenty years ago, you had to go on dates. But Tinder has pushed us up against a very harsh reality and I think younger people see themselves as commodities in the dating world. And I have to say, that never crossed our minds 20 years ago, the idea of having to make myself more attractive on my profile, this whole idea of marketing oneself."

It is surreal to think of Carrie et al suddenly drafting up profiles and Whatsapping about suitable matches - when for years, they've nurtured more impulsive dates in smoky downtown bars.

And then, rather than just ditch each other at the swipe of a thumb, they built up those relationships over the course of late-night phone calls and lengthy, heart-felt voicemails.

Carrie and Big, on an old-school date ©YouTube

Of course, a mobile phone or two might have helped that night when no-one showed up to Carrie's birthday celebrations. Or when she stood up her new group of pals in Paris.

But, on the whole, we can see how our isolating phone habits might have put the ice on spontaneous romance of the kind so beautifully captured time and again in SATC.

In this latest interview, Candace also admits that Carrie and Mr Big probably wouldn't have lasted the distance of their on-off romance in real life.

"Well, I think, in real life, Carrie and Big wouldn’t have ended up together," she says. "But at that point the TV show had become so big. Viewers got so invested in the storyline of Carrie and Big that it became a bit like Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. They had become an iconic couple and women really related to it; they would say 'I found my Mr Big' or 'I just broke up with my Mr Big.' It became part of the lexicon."

And the author believes that, despite the massive changes in our cultural landscape since SATC first aired, it still holds significance for us all.

"We all grapple with the issues in Sex and the City," she says. "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 doesn’t really change."

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