Grow Up Carrie Bradshaw!

As a curly-haired writer living in a big city, I often find myself comparing my life to Carrie Bradshaw’s in Sex and the City. I know I’m not the only one: somehow her mediocre sex column pays for a massive apartment, a new pair of designer shoes each week, and countless brunches and cocktails with her girl gang or whichever man she is currently on. She’s an icon for so many women, and since Sex and the City has made it onto HBO Max, even more women in younger generations have been given access to her fabulous life. All of us who are just starting our twenties in the midst of a pandemic watch her life with an air of agony and ecstasy- we love it but it kills us knowing we won’t get this fabulous life again probably for a while. 

Grow Up Carrie Bradshaw!
source: HBO Max

The hit tv series revolves around Carrie and her three best friends’ lives- the good, the bad, and the ugly of being ‘single’ in Manhattan in the late 90s and early 2000s. And as iconic and COSMOPOLITAN as Carrie may seem to be, with a second look, her relationships with men are less than inspiring. Maybe I’m jealous of her outfits, her astonishing ability to ALWAYS have a financially stable, tall, dark, and handsome guy chasing her, or her girl squad. But while rewatching the show recently, midway through season four, I couldn’t help but wonder, “why is Carrie such an icon? She kinda sucks.”

Season four episode seven in particular left me with one thought – “Grow up Carrie Bradshaw.”

Carrie solves all her problems with sex

Maybe it’s her job as a sex columnist, but in this particular episode, it really struck me as she keeps having sex with her current boyfriend after her ex – with whom she cheated on Aiden – calls her and leaves a super seductive message. And to get Aiden to forget it when they’re done, she distracts him by flaunting around topless. Later, she shows up at the bar where Aiden was hanging with the boys in a sexy outfit to further distract him from their obvious problem. I’m no prude when it comes to a fabulous outfit, but a way to cater to a man’s weaknesses instead of focusing on the actual problem at hand, Carrie. 


Secondly, she won’t kick Big to the curb when the man she loves asks her to. Carrie cheated on Aiden and then crawled back to him because she realized he was WAY too good for her. And somehow, she is horrified when he’s at all still upset by it. The man she swore nothing was happening with and cheated on him with still calls… Can she really not see this issue here? With Big’s eyebrow raise and “what’s shakin’ baby?” calling all the time, I would be uncomfortable too. It comes to a climax at the end of the episode when Aiden point-blank asks Carrie not to see him again, to which she retorts, “I can’t do that – he’s in my life.” Big is in Carrie’s life to make her still feel wanted and dangerous. Meanwhile, she has Aiden begging her to just love him.

Grow Up Carrie Bradshaw!
source: HBO Max

Carrie manipulates her men and acts jealous to hide her own issues. If she can have a “friend” of the other sex in Big, Aiden can befriend the pretty, nice bartender at the place he owns down the street. Instead, she becomes accusatory to pass on her guilt and throw him under the bus:  “Why don’t you just fuck her, then we can both be bad.”


Carrie also uses her boyfriend to continue her friendships. When Miranda throws her back out, she sends Aiden to help her. It’s her friend, come on Carrie. Not saying you should drop your career, but when your friend is in desperate need? You help her. By sending a new boyfriend, Carrie is making it about her and how good of a guy Aiden really is-she isn’t thinking about injured Miranda on her bathroom floor. Instead of caring for her friends in need, she makes the situation about her and her sham of a relationship. 

Her fourth offense that appears in most episodes is that Carrie manipulates friends to listen to her issues without fully listening to them. She dumps all her problems on friends when they’re hurting too, without fully listening to them. It’s always ‘Oh yeah? Well, listen to my shit!’ When she finally does go to visit her injured friend, Miranda finally calls Carrie on her “bullshit bagels” that she brought over just to complain and talk about Aiden possibly being interested in someone else. And Miranda, as she always is, gets to be the voice of reason “Just because you cheated on him doesn’t mean he would cheat on you.” Come on, Carrie.

Projecting Issues on Others

The entire episode revolves around Carrie punishing herself then blaming it on Aiden. He’s obviously forgiven her because he got back together with her, but won’t forget. And he shouldn’t, he’s guarding his heart. She’s the one who can’t differentiate between forgiving and forgetting. When she repeats “You have to forgive me” over and over again in her doorway to Aiden, it is obvious he has, he just has to adapt to the relationship moving forward. He’s not trying to “torture” Carrie as she imagines, he is the one who took back the girl who broke his heart once. 

Grow Up Carrie Bradshaw!
source: HBO Max

It is obvious Carrie can’t forgive herself. She has identified herself as the bad girl and Aiden as the good guy that she has to earn love from. She tries proving to him how good she can be by doing things that are foreign to her – making breakfast, walking his dog, trying to quit smoking, etc. We see it so clearly, and yet she’s the protagonist so we cannot see outside her scope to put her in her place. But her friend Samantha can, and she does by telling her, “How much longer you’re gonna punish yourself, you may never get back in the nook.” Carrie needs to grow up and move forward in her relationship with Aiden. It may never be as loving and trusting and naïve as it once was, she has her obsession with Big to thank for that one. But it’s different and more honest, and if Carrie could accept that, as well as her past mistakes, maybe she could finally see how much Aiden really loves her. 

Final Thoughts

Maybe we can identify the issues we see most in ourselves. Maybe there are issues I can’t forgive myself for or friends I have manipulated to listen to me too much.  Maybe there is a thing or two I can learn from Carrie Bradshaw more than just her fashion style or the geography of New York City. I can learn to be a decent friend and partner by sometimes taking myself out of the situation and realizing not everything is about me. Or better yet, maybe it is about me, and accepting my flaws, and moving forward in my relationships. Carrie is teaching me to grow up, and we’ll grow up together through the rest of my twenties- whether I’m in blue jeans or Dolce and Gabbana. 

Am I alone? Does Carrie annoy anyone else? Or am I just projecting…Please let us know in the comments below!

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