Sex in the Square

Obsessions come in many forms and functions. Mine blindsided me at the beginning of the summer and I haven't been able to shake it since then. While some obsessions can be costly--such as Manolo Blahnik shoe fetishes--and others dangerous, mine was of a more educational nature.

My apartment in Manhattan this summer had access to cable, introducing me to HBO's "Sex In the City"--a work of pure television genius. The show exposes the lives of four swanky Manhattan women, complete with their thoughts about and justifications for their risqu escapades. Just as important, the show sells itself on sex. Advertisements feature the main character posing, legs spread, above the Empire State Building. Gratuitous displays of nudity and sex-kitten ensembles are encouraged, if not expected.

The show takes place in New York City and its aura certainly pervades the Manhattan social scene like nowhere else. But where do the rest of us fit in? Sure, the Manhattan mystique makes the characters' lives seem more sexy and savvy than those here at Harvard, but the sex in the Square certainly lives on.


There is a dose of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda--no matter how dilute--in all of us (and men, this goes for you too). For better or for worse, there are subsets of the Harvard population which resemble the four main characters on the show with striking similarity.

Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is a hopeless romantic who writes a sex column for the New York Star. Her style is eclectic, her addiction to nicotine wands make smoking look glamorous, and her and her friends' sex lives provide great fodder for her columns. Fifteen Minutes, The Crimson's weekend magazine, best represents the Carrie contingency on campus. They tend to dress a little bit better than the rest of us (at least than the rest of us at the paper), start the trends and be in the know. Carrie's articles would probably be published in FM, and I can name some FM'ers who would gladly fill Carrie's shoes.

Kim Cattrell plays Samantha Jones, a sexy PR executive who loves to live the high life as much as President Clinton enjoys his cigars. She unabashedly lusts for one-night stands, and, in recent memory, has slept with a munchkin, a guy who pops Viagra for the extra thrust, and a man so large even Samantha feared she would get lockjaw. She cut off her romance with L.A.'s Dildo King--despite his phenomenal size and stamina--because he wanted more than just the sex. It would be safe to call Samantha a slut. On the other hand, she never hesitates to indulge herself--something we could use a little more of on campus.

It would be unfair--and unjust--to call just one subset of undergraduates the reigning Samanthas of the Square. The Final Clubs are too easy a target. The Pudding comes close, but the club is too gentrified and too exclusive to compete with Samantha's anthem against discrimination. Perhaps the group of prep school graduates who hook-up on the weekends and frequent the Grille like its their job is closest to the mark.

Charlotte York, played by Kristin Davis, is an art gallery dealer in Manhattan. She always wears her hair perfectly coiffed and she likes her men as elegant and polished as she herself likes to dress. She recently got married in a $14,000 dress--paid for with daddy's credit card--as a born-again virgin.


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