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Sad Over Sex and the City

Is it just me, or are other women out there feeling kind of left out?

From the sound of it, every woman in the nation is ganging up with three of her best girlfriends to go see the Sex and the City movie when it opens this weekend. The New York Times reports that 70 percent of women are planning special group outings to see the film (which I'll be calling SATC from here on out).

But not me. Even if I were a fan of SATC, which I have to admit I'm not, I would be hard-pressed to scrape together three girlfriends to go to the movies with me on a weekend night. That suddenly strikes me as pathetic.

It's not as if I don't have female friends. I have wonderful, long-lived, deep, meaningful, and fun friendships with a handful of women, many of whom I've known since I was a child.

But these days, about the only way we could watch a movie together would be to all agree to load one into our computers at the same time. Because, as emotionally close as my friends and I are... geographically, we're all over the place. Even those who live close by are, like me, so busy with jobs and husbands and kids and life in general that to sneak off to the movie theater together is just not on the to-do list.

And yet, in our e-mails, we continue the friendships we started in person, when we were younger and our time was more free. We're confidants, sharers of trivial news from our daily lives (the robin eggs outside our kitchen window have hatched!), keepers of each other's secrets, stewards of each other's histories.

Just not going-to-the-movies buddies.

Linda Sapadin, a psychologist practicing in Long Island, New York and author of the 2007 book Now I Get It! Totally Sensational Advice for Living and Loving, agrees that the SATC franchise (for those even less in the loop than I am, the show was a huge hit for six seasons on HBO) has promoted the "sense of cameraderie" among female friends who spend a lot of time together, in person. Women who get together with their buddies this weekend to see the flick, she says, are "emulating that cameraderie and making this a happening."

Doing things with friends, Sapadin says, makes women feel like, "Yeah, I'm part of a group doing something." For many of us middle-aged gals, she notes, "It's a sense of togetherness we don't feel anymore. We're so isolated, so involved with family that our time for friendships is smaller and smaller."

Sharing an activity like seeing SATC on opening weekend, she says, "takes us back to college, when we did things with our friends all the time. It feels like a reunion."

So it's no surprise that I'm feeling left out. Because if taking part in the fun takes us back to college, sitting on the sidelines takes us back to high school. "High school still affects us," Sapadin says, "Those feelings of inclusion and exclusion. The more you hear about [women going to the movie together], the more left out you feel."

Sapadin's suggestion? "Go see the movie and create your own happening," she says, meaning that I should get my far-flung friends to do the same and chat with them by e-mail afterward. "Empower yourself. Take action and do what you want to do instead of regretting and missing out."

That's supposed to sound good... but it only makes me feel more pathetic. I think I'll just sit this one out.

Pass the popcorn, please. And maybe a tissue.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  May 30, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Psychology  
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I empathize. My close girlfriends (and even my mom) who I enjoyed the show with now are scattered across the country, and my local friends didn't watch it. I think perhaps we'll find there are more women at the theater alone enjoying the movie than we think (I'll be there - but probably at an early show).

Posted by: E | May 30, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I never watched the show, had no interest in it at all, and am sick of it being shoved down my throat now. Hype, hype, hype. Get a life.
Frankly, I've never understood the habit of women going to the ladies' room in groups, either.

Posted by: Out of the Loop Broad | May 30, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought going to the movie with busy friends was a waste of good friend-time - why sit in a dark room for two hours when you could be doing something that allowed for conversation?

Posted by: h3 | May 30, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I've always found SATC to be a gigantic, selfish fantasy of urban life. However, I recognize that it promotes women's lib by flaunting our lust for decadent fashion, pushing the bar on sexual frankness, and showing that prioritizing one's girlfriends is an essential part of a woman's life.

Instead of gathering the girls for a screening, Ms. Huget, you can celebrate what SATC has done for women and "create your own happening" by carving out time for yourself and your girlfriends, local or far-flung. It's about feeding your emotional well-being with the connections to other women that are so important to keeping us sane in the rest of our lives.

While I don't endorse Carrie's Blahnik obsession or Samantha's sexual appetite, the female camaraderie that SATC inspires is one selfish, liberating thing I can get behind.

Posted by: Neither here nor there | May 30, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Ok, people, it was just a tv show. I watched it, I enjoyed it, I even have 3 really good girlfriends, but why is it that SATC has to become a symbol of...anything? I watched it, not because I like shoes or fashion or because I wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw, but because if you looked past all frivolousness, it was a really good, well written smart show. Something our present crop of tv offering sorely lacks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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