There’s one big difference between women who get married in New York and women who don’t. “Basically, it’s like, get over yourself,” Rebecca said. “Get over the idea that you should be marrying Mort Zuckerman.”
“I narrowed it down to three qualities,” Marguerite said. “Smart, successful and sweet.”
They also never believe that they will not get married. “I always thought that it would take me however long it would take me, but it was going to happen,” said Marguerite. “It would be horrible if it didn’t. Why shouldn’t I be married?”
But Manhattan is still Manhattan. “The thing you have to realize is that, in terms of socialization for men, getting them ready for marriage, New York is a terrible place,” Lisa said. “Single men don’t tend to hang around with couples. They’re not used to that idea of coziness and family. So you have to get them there mentally.”
Carrie and Mr. Big go to a charity event in an old theater and they have a beautiful evening. At dinner, Mr. Big swoops down on the table with his cigar and moves their place cards so they’re sitting next to each other, saying, “I don’t care.” They hold hands the whole evening and one of the columnists comes up and says, “Inseparable as always.”
They have a good week after that, and then something tweaks in Carrie’s brain. Maybe it’s because they went to dinner at one of his friend’s houses, and there were people there with kids. Carrie rode tiny plastic cars in the street with the kids and one of the kids kept falling off her car. The parents came out and yelled at their kids to go back in the house.
She decides she has to torture Mr. Big again. “Do you think we’re close?” she asks just before they’re going to sleep.
“Sometimes,” Mr. Big says.
“Sometimes isn’t enough for me,” she says. She continues to bug him until he begs her to let him go to sleep. But when she wakes up early next morning, the bug is still there.
“Why are you doing this?” Mr. Big asks. “Why can’t you think about the good things, like the way we were last week?”
He walks by the bed. “Oooh, look at that sad little face,” he says, which makes her want to kill him even more.
“I’ll call you about this later, I promise,” Mr. Big says.
“I don’t know if there’s going to be any ‘later.’”
Lisa was at a crowded party for a prominent publicist in a town house in the East 50’s. Lisa’s husband, a handsome man who is in some kind of business, was in tow. In between sips of pink margarita, she explained, “When I finally decided to look for someone, I thought about every place I’d ever met a man. It wasn’t at Bowery Bar, it was at parties at people’s houses. So I really spread the net. I went to every party at anyone’s apartment.
“When you meet a guy, my rule for the first few dates is, no big parties. It’s suicide. Do not be dressed up. Do not be on. Men want to feel comfort. You must elicit coziness. Talk about the person that they are, because most men’s self-image is them at 14.”
Back in her office, Marguerite nodded at a large photo on her desk of a curly-haired man on a beach. “My husband is such a find. He really understands me. When you find the right person, it’s so easy. People who have a lot of fights and drama—well, something is wrong. My husband doesn’t give me any argument. We never really fight about anything. He is so giving to me 99 percent of the time, if he wants to do something. I’ll give in.”
And then suddenly everything is weirdly fine.
Mr. Big calls. “What are you doing?”
“Oh, you know, that thing I do sometimes,” Carrie says. “Writing a story.”
“Remember how we said that someday we’d move to Colorado and raise up horses and shit? That’s what I’m writing about.”
“Oh,” says Big. “It’s a beautiful story.”
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.