Tales of the Pretty: Riding the Belle Curve

“Oh, you know,” said Camilla. “Scotty. ‘Capote Duncan.’ ‘Dash Peters.’” I nodded. “Capote Duncan” was the thirtysomething publishing type who was always out with beautiful young girls. “Dash Peters” was a well-known Hollywood agent who was frequently in New York, also a squire of P.Y.T.’s. Both had also dated and broken the hearts of women who were in their 30’s and usually pretty accomplished at something besides looking good.

“I dated Dash Peters, too,” Teesie said. She touched the back of her short, dark hair. “He kept trying to get me to spend the night with him at the Mark Hotel. He sent me baskets of flowers, all white ones. He was begging me to come over and take a sauna with him.”

“I met him in the South of France,” said Camilla. Sometimes Camilla spoke in a weird fake European accent, and she was using it now.

“Did he buy you anything?” Teesie asked, trying to be casual.

“Not really,” Camilla said. She motioned to the waiter. “Can you please bring me another frozen margarita?” she asked. “This one isn’t cold enough.” She looked back at Teesie. “Just some Chanel.”

“Clothing, or accessories?”

“Clothing,” Camilla said. “I already have too many Chanel bags.”

There was silence for a moment, and then Shiloh spoke up.

“I hardly ever go out anymore. I can’t take it. I’ve become very spiritual.” A thin piece of rawhide hung from her neck, twisted around a small crystal.

‘Hello Kitty’

“Older guys are gross,” said Camilla. “I won’t go out with them anymore. A couple of years ago, I realized, why do need to go out with these ugly, rich old men, when I can go out with gorgeous rich young guys? Plus, these old guys don’t really understand you. No matter how much they think they do. They’re another generation.”

“I don’t think older guys are so bad,” Kitty said. “Of course, when Marcus first called me up and said he wanted to go out with me, I was like, ‘How old are you?’ He really had to woo me. The first time he came to pick me up, I walked out with dirty hair and no makeup. It was like, if you want me so much, get a look at the real me. And after that, the first time I spent the night with him, the next morning I woke up and he had a bouquet of my favorite flowers in every room. On the mirror, he wrote in shaving cream, ‘Hello, Kitty.’”

The women squealed. “That is so adorable,” Teesie said. “I love men.”

“Marcus loves it when I mess up,” said Kitty. “He loves it when I buy too many clothes and I can’t pay the bill. He loves to step in and take care of everything.”

“Men are needy and we’re the goddesses that give to them,” Kitty said triumphantly. She was well into her second margarita. “On the other hand, men are…bigger. Larger. They’re comfort.”

“They give you something that women can’t,” Shiloh said, nodding. “A man should provide for his girlfriend.”

“Marcus makes me feel really safe. He’s allowing me to have the childhood I never had,” said Kitty. “I don’t buy this whole feminist idea. Men have a need to be dominant—let them.”

“It’s other women who are really the problem,” said Camilla. “At the risk of sounding obnoxious, being beautiful is such a power, you can get whatever you want,” said Kitty. “And other women know that and don’t like you, especially older women. They think you’re invading their territory.”

“For a lot of women, when they reach 30, they start to realize their age,” said Camilla.

“But they get mean,” said Kitty. “They make comments. Women just assume that I’m an idiot. That I don’t know anything. That I’m stupid. That I’m with Marcus for his money. You get spiteful and wear an even shorter skirt and more makeup.”

“Nobody bothers to ask. They just assume,” said Teesie.

“That’s why most of my friends are men.” The three other women looked around the table and nodded.

What about sex? I asked.

“I tell every guy they have the biggest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Kitty. The women laughed nervously. Kitty slurped up the last bit of her margarita through a straw. “It’s survival,” she said.

 

Candace Bushnell began Sex and the City as a column in The New York Observer in 1994; it subsequently became a book and a series on HBO. She is also the author of Four Blondes, Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle, which is being filmed as a pilot for NBC starring Brooke Shields. Ms. Bushnell is also the host of Sex, Success and Sensibility, a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard.