“It’s all about self-esteem,” Lisa said. “Men have to feel that there are limits and you’re not going to take anything.”
One well-known problem is living with a guy before you’re married, and then he doesn’t do anything about asking you to marry him. This can be taken care of with dispatch. “Just heard a story,” said Marguerite. “Woman, living with a guy for a year. One morning, she wakes up. ‘Are we going to get married?’ Guy says No. She says, ‘Move out right now.’ He asks her to marry him that weekend.”
“One of the biggest mistakes women make is that they don’t discuss marriage from the beginning,” said Lisa.
“I can’t take it,” Carrie thinks, waking up one morning. She lies there, watching Mr. Big until he opens his eyes. Instead of kissing her, he gets up to go to the bathroom. “That’s it,” she thinks.
When he comes back to bed, she says, “Listen, I’ve been thinking.”
“Yeah?” says Mr. Big.
“If you’re not totally in love with me and crazy about me, and if you don’t think I’m the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your life, then I think I should leave.”
“Uh-huh,” says Mr. Big
“Really, it’s no problem.”
“O.K.,” Mr. Big says, somewhat cautiously.
“Sooooo … is that what you want?”
“Is it what you want?” says Mr. Big.
“No, not really. But I do want to be with someone who’s in love with me,” says Carrie.
“Well, I just can’t make any guarantees right now. But if I were you, I’d hang around. See what happens.”
Carrie lies back against the pillows. It’s Sunday. It would be sort of a drag to have to go. What would she do with the rest of the day?
“O.K.,” she says, “but just for now. I don’t have forever, you know. I’m probably going to die soon. Like in 15 years or something.” She lights up a cigarette.
“O.K.,” says Mr. Big. “But in the meantime, could you make me some coffee? Please?”
Naomi, who got married last year at 37, is the president of an ad agency and typical of most of us women in New York. “I dated every kind of man—all shapes and sizes. Then one day, the right guy walks in the door and he was the antithesis of everything I always thought I wanted.” In other words, he wasn’t the proverbial bad boy.
When she was 35, Naomi was waiting for a cab on Madison Avenue, dressed in a suit and high heels, and a long-haired guy zoomed by on a motorcycle and he didn’t check her out. “Suddenly, the allure of the starving tortured-artist type became passé,” she said. “I was always paying for their goddamn dinners.”
Carrie goes to a book party at a museum and she brings Sam. She hasn’t seen Sam for a while. She hasn’t seen any of her girlfriends for a while because it seems like she spends all her time with Mr. Big. They’re both wearing black pants and black patent leather boots, and as they get to the stops, Z.M., the media mogul, is coming down and getting into his car.
He laughs. “I was wondering who those two women were, stomping down the sidewalk.”
“We weren’t stomping,” says Sam, “we were talking. Call me sometime, huh?” she says.
Z.M. says, “Call me,” and you know neither of them will.
Sam sighs. “So how’s Mr. Big.”