Today, if you’re single, you might be doing what I’m doing. Reading the Sunday papers, tweezers in hand, so in fact multitasking! Walking my dogs with no one moaning that something ahead ‘looks like a slope’. I’m making a vegan balti for dinner, followed by a triple bill of Keira Knightley, culminating in Pride and Prejudice, without cries in the background of, ‘I can’t stand anything with bonnets!’
I won’t have to ask anyone to do anything. Dear god, my printer has just spewed out, all on its own, a progress report. It’s more proactive than any man I’ve had in my life! No one will criticise me. No one will say, ‘Can’t you wear the other tracky bottoms?’ Or, ‘The curry you took two hours to make from scratch would be better without the coconut yogurt.’ This from someone who doesn’t own a teaspoon. No one will smoke in my bathroom. No one will shout, ‘Mini Puppy!’ in anything other than a sing-song voice. Most importantly, no one will say, ‘Why are you watching the Sex and the… whatever it is reboot?’
I’ll tell you why. These women saw me through my darkest moments: cheating husband, divorce. Carrie Bradshaw is me, even down to her Apple Mac: as hers evolved, so did mine. She hides from editors who moan her column is late. She writes books. She has no money. She’s considering a half face-lift and internet dating. Steve (Miranda’s husband) even has a hearing aid.
I had a spat with a columnist the other day who couldn’t see the point of the reboot And Just Like That, saying the women are now fragile, flummoxed by technology. And in a way she’s right: they are fragile. Miranda has a drink problem, is confused about what it is to be woke. Carrie needs an operation on her hip. The intimate scene where Miranda had to help Carrie to the loo revolted this other columnist, and I’m sure many viewers.
Thing is, the commentators criticising how these now older women are being portrayed have no inkling of what life is like for so many of us. Most commentators have mortgages almost paid off, a husband they’ve finally managed to train, giant children. But like Carrie and co, not every woman is lucky enough to get to almost 60 and be sorted. In her frailty, again Carrie’s life mirrored mine. I was so ill last year that Nic, my friend and assistant, had to steer me to the bathroom, hold a cup of water to my lips, and worse. There was no one else. No man turned up to help me. No family member got in touch. It was a revelation to see scenes where Carrie relied on her friends and only her friends: in sickness and in grief.
Like Miranda, I too had one of the first Blackberries in the 90s. I was one of the first on Fleet Street to learn how to put together a Sunday newspaper using a computer instead of cow gum and a scalpel. But, even today, like Miranda, I can be flummoxed by passwords, updates, clouds: the reason, after I gave my old iPhone to an ex, that I was bombarded by photos he had taken by mistake: I hadn’t erased that phone. Ewwwww! Photos that made me even more glad I live alone. What on earth is that?!
But there was a line in episode eight that made me yell at the screen in outraged dissent. It was from Carrie to Miranda when she announced she was about to tell Steve she was leaving him. ‘Are you sure? Because alone in theory is very different than alone in reality,’ she told her softly.
Yeah! It’s better!
I’ve seen Couples Therapy, and I don’t know how these people stand it. Their relationships aren’t worth saving! I’m sick of men annoying me. Even when I’ve blocked them, they manage to creep under the door, wanting the last word. Yesterday, a package arrived on my doorstep. It contained a Useless Box that does nothing – the sender’s avatar? I looked it up on Amazon, and it said, ‘Suitable for five-year-olds.’ Cryptic! Chippy! Money wasting! Yeah, I know who the child is here. As Steve said as Miranda broke his heart: ‘I’m too old to rally for us again.’