Sex and the City:
By Marian Jordan
The new film, Sex and the City, features four stylish New York women frequenting bars and talking bluntly about their broad range of sexual experiences. Clad in stylish attire and extremely independent, these women seem to have it all.
But this lifestyle of hookups, hangovers, and heartbreak only leads to emptiness, says author Marian Jordan. In her book, Sex and the City Uncovered, she exposes the myths behind the seemingly glamorous lifestyle. The following article is adapted from her book.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
After a hard night on the town, the women of Sex and the City hit their local breakfast spot to dish on the previous evening’s events and the men it involved. The night before, Carrie, as a local celebrity of sorts, was called upon to judge a firefighters’ calendar contest on Staten Island. One ferry ride and several Staten Island Iced Teas later, the girls found themselves in foreign territory. Samantha, of course, was enamored with the smokin’ hot body of one of the firemen, while Carrie met a handsome politician who had the hots for her. Charlotte indulged in one too many cocktails, and as a result she is nursing quite a headache the next morning.
Back on the island—Manhattan, that is—their get-together results in a lively discussion of the topic “Why do women love firemen?” Miranda leads the charge with her observations, and the others follow suit. Their conversation is the typical brunch banter until Charlotte chimes in with her reason, bringing the table to a stunned silence: “Women just really want to be rescued.” She sighs as she props up her aching head with her hands. You could hear a pin drop as the other women stare back at her in disbelief. Did she really just say that? At this point Carrie, in a voice-over, describes Charlotte’s comment as “the statement single women in their thirties are never supposed to think, much less say out loud.”
Knowing that Charlotte is the hopeful romantic of the bunch, it comes as no surprise to us that she utters the words that “single women in their thirties are never supposed to think, much less say out loud.” Of course, she is the one to confess, “Women just really want to be rescued.” But what’s the big deal? Did she say something wrong? Why are the others so shocked? Is Charlotte still drunk? Or maybe, just maybe, she has stumbled onto something. Do women really long to be rescued? Is there something deep down inside each of us that would love to have the white knight sweep in and carry us away? I think for most girls the answer is, “Yes!”
Recently I watched the hit show The Bachelor. This particular season the bachelor happened to be a real prince. Fighting for his affection and attention were twenty-five beautiful women. In the two-hour premiere, one common theme resonated from the women: they wanted the fairy tale. As the evening progressed and the alcohol flowed, the women revealed more and more of their hearts’ true desires. Each wanted to be chosen by the prince and for her childhood longings of being a princess to come true. As I watched the episode and listened to their comments, I thought, This is reality television. Hungering for love and desiring to be chosen, these women had picked up their lives and moved to a castle in Rome in hopes of being rescued by Prince Charming.
So why did the Sex and the City characters, and perhaps many of us, bristle at Charlotte’s comment? It seems the other characters are much too independent and savvy to admit this inner longing. They pride themselves on self-sufficiency and hope to evolve past any notions of having needs and longings, so they blast Charlotte’s old-fashioned idea with a dose of reality. Reality, according to Miranda, is that “the white knight only exists in the movies.” Her reply rings with bitterness toward men and a lack of trust in anyone but herself. The same is true of Carrie’s response, except she takes a different approach, saying, “Did you ever think we’re supposed to rescue ourselves?” There it is—the motto of the modern single woman: “I don’t need anyone, and I can do it all by myself.”
Charlotte does not buy their dismissals, and her response to their advice is revealing when she replies, “That’s depressing!” And we have to admit, it is, but why? Probably because as women, since the first time we played with Barbie, we’ve imagined Ken coming in his sports car to rescue her from the clutches of GI Joe. This is part of the fabric of being a girl. But surely, some would say, we’ve all grown up and put those childish dreams behind us. After all, hasn’t life taught us some pretty tough lessons? White knights don’t always come to the rescue, and sometimes, let’s face it, Ken actually likes GI Joe. For some of us, these life lessons have left us hard and a little jaded too. So, like Miranda, it’s easier to shove the desire to be rescued behind us and pretend it’s just a fantasy.
But what if it’s not? Let’s imagine just for a moment that it’s real—the fairy tale, the hero, and all the stuff that romantic movies thrive on. Let’s imagine for just a minute that it is a legitimate longing and examine why Charlotte’s confession resonates with us. Why do women long to be rescued? Why is this desire ingrained in the heart of every little girl? To answer this question, we must dig a little deeper and ask some fundamental questions.
First, what is meant by the word rescue? The word rescue means “to set free, as from danger or imprisonment; to save.” (Kudos, Mr. Webster.) From the damsel in distress, who is tied to train tracks as a high-speed locomotive approaches, to the princess, who is locked away in the perilous castle, the role of the hero is to save his lady from whatever enemy she faces.
I’ll be honest: life’s been so intense at times that I’ve daydreamed that someone comes along and takes me away from it all. I’ve gazed out my office window hoping to see Prince Charming ride up on his white horse (or in an SUV—I’m not really picky about the mode of transportation). Just like Charlotte, I did my share of barhopping in the past, hoping to meet “the one.” But I’ve realized the desire to be rescued goes much deeper than just a longing for a man. I know plenty of women with great men who still have this desire. Women identify with the longing to be rescued—young and old, married and single, rich and poor. Ladies, this desire is bigger than any man can fill.
Because this is a common desire, is there also then a common problem? In other words, is there something that we all need to be rescued from? Is there something basic to all of us that causes us to feel like we need help or we need to be set free? What is it that makes us hope and dream that someone will come along who can make all right in our world? Our desire to be rescued implies we are held captive … imprisoned.
But what is this prison?
I believe the universal prison in which we are all held is best described in a country song from the ’80s by Waylon Jennings called “Lookin’ for Love in All the Wrong Places.”
The song is a classic because everyone can identify with the problem. Here’s the point: this song describes, and human experience confirms, that humankind is in a prison—a perpetual and fruitless search for something or someone to make us feel loved, complete, and whole. Each one of us has an empty place in our hearts that aches to be filled.
You know the ache I’m talking about. You aren’t satisfied; you don’t feel complete; something is missing, and you keep hoping that the next relationship or the next job or even a new outfit will remedy the ache, but it doesn’t. Life can be going along great, and, yet, that empty gnawing is still there—the one that cries out, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for!” And as a result, we desperately search and we hunt for a love that will fill our emptiness and make us feel complete. And on and on and on we go.
This is my story. I went looking for love in all kinds of places, only to find myself more empty and confused as a result. From parties to people, from shopping to men, job promotions and even more parties … hoping something would bring me a sense of security or love. Happy hour eventually is over, the guy inevitably fails to be perfect, and food may fill a stomach but not a soul. My disillusionment eventually led to despair. Life seemed without hope and joy seemed elusive. I was captive to the emptiness.
I see this same desperation and disappointment in the lives of the women portrayed on the show Sex and the City. While on the surface everything appears glamorous and exciting, if you take a step back and evaluate their soul-searching questions, you see women who are hoping for someone to rescue them from the pain and emptiness they feel.
For example, let’s consider Charlotte. Like most of us girls, she hopes to find the love her heart longs for in a man. She is by far the most hopeful romantic of the crew. Over the six seasons of Sex and the City, we watched as she searched from man to man hoping to find “the one” who would complete her. Did she find him? Well, yes and no. She did get married (two times, in fact), but once she found a husband, did he fill her emptiness? No. The last season ended with Charlotte hoping the ache in her heart would be filled with a child. So, her search continues.
Can you relate? How often do you tell yourself the following?
• If I were married, then my life would be perfect.
• Or, If I had a better job, then I would be satisfied.
• Or, When I buy my own house, then I will be happy.
• Or what about this one? When I lose ten pounds, then I will feel OK.
We believe the solution to the restlessness we feel is remedied by finding something or someone to fill the emptiness in our hearts. But as we all know, those things may work for a season, but after a while that old familiar ache returns and we move on to the next thing or the next person, thinking that this time we will find what we are looking for.
This is why I call “looking for love in all the wrong places” a prison. For some of us it can be a life sentence. The pursuit to fill the void can be endless and full of disappointment. But that leads us to the most important question of all: what caused this emptiness in the first place?
The answer is found in the Bible. In Scripture we are told the story of God and how our problem of “looking for love” first began. The Bible tells us that humanity is created by God and for God. Translation: He is the Designer and Creator of Life, so in order to find out how things got all jacked up in our world, we must go back to the “Designer’s manual.”
Let’s play Fantasy Island for just a minute and imagine Dolce & Gabana designs a one-of-a-kind outfit just for you. It goes without saying that they would know best how this outfit is supposed to be worn (the perfect accessories, fit, shoes, etc.). Why? Because they are the designers. Hello? That’s the same with God. As our Creator, we need to look to Him and His Word (a.k.a. The Bible) to understand how life was meant to be lived. So for us to understand why we deal with insecurity, self-doubt, restlessness, and a perpetually empty soul, we must turn to the original design to see what God created us for and what went wrong.
In the beginning, God placed the human race in a beautiful garden that He filled with everything they needed for a life of joy, peace, and purpose. Adam and Eve were provided for and given the responsibility to rule over and care for God’s creation. And right from the start, God declared our identity (the “who am I?” question) when He looked on the first man and woman and declared us to be “very good” (Gen. 1:31).
This is a powerful moment. When God speaks over Adam and Eve the word good, He establishes their identity. You know how when you fall in love, one of the best things about being with that special person is how they make you feel about yourself? Well, that is the situation we have here. Our God-given design is one that when we are in relationship with Him, we know who we are and we know we are loved. As the Designer, He alone has the authority to name and define—and His declaration of His design from the very beginning was “very good.”
Here’s the thing: originally humankind didn’t need to be rescued from “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Why not, you ask? Because all was right and good in our world—we didn’t struggle with the self-doubt, insecurity, restlessness, and emptiness that you and I experience today. You see, it was never God’s original design for people to suffer from the nagging inadequacies we feel.
Uncovered. Naked and not ashamed! This is the condition of man and woman while living in the midst of the unconditional love of God. Adam and Eve didn’t know the meaning of insecurity. They didn’t ask questions such as, “Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will I be accepted? Am I lovable?” Eve never asked, “Does this fig leaf make me look fat?”
Identity is something that is bestowed. We cannot define ourselves. Today, we are always looking outside of ourselves for someone to tell us who we are, but for Adam and Eve, the question of their identity wasn’t up for debate. First of all, when God created them, He essentially said, “You are good and you don’t need to do anything to prove yourself or seek anyone else to tell you that you are worthy of love.” So, for Adam and Eve, the self-worth question was solved. If the God of the universe, who spoke the world into existence, said they were good—then that settled it.
Girlfriends, can you fathom walking into a room and never thinking, Do I look OK? Just imagine being fully known, explicitly seen, and fully loved—never fearing rejection, never meeting a new group of people and feeling like you don’t belong. Try to imagine having a confidence that isn’t based on fickle things such as money, a new pair of shoes, or attracting male attention.
The pure freedom and unshakable confidence Adam and Eve experienced were wonderful while they lasted, but the harmony and beauty of Eden were shattered when Satan entered the scene.
Satan (starring as the Serpent) scammed Eve into disobeying God. This deception is the root cause of our perpetual search for love and completion today—the real reason we are looking for love in all the wrong places and we all long to be rescued.
Satan tricked Eve. But it is important to note just exactly how this ruse went down. First, he caused her to doubt God by asking, “Did God really say?” Then he outright called God a liar when he suggested, “Surely, you won’t die.” By leading Eve to doubt the truthfulness of God’s word, Satan undermined her trust in God.
Satan’s scam was basically an attack on the goodness of God. His theory went something like this: if God is good, then He would allow you to eat of any tree. God must be bad because He said you can’t eat of this certain tree.
Eve bought into the lie. She rebelled against her God—her source of life, security, and love.
Perhaps you’ve been in a similar situation. You hear a great marketing pitch about a new cosmetic product that promises to eliminate wrinkles, cellulite, bad breath, and make you taller all at the same time. Sold, you charge the wonder pill to your credit card (at only $49.99 a month for the rest of your life) only later to discover . . . you’ve been scammed! The whole thing is a lie. The wonder pill isn’t so wonderful. It doesn’t deliver on its promises, and with it comes a whole new world of side effects. This is exactly like Satan’s promise to Eve, except the side effects of his scam were far more devastating—they were life altering.
Today, many women, like Eve, are deceived—
believing the lie that the love we hunger for is found in the alluring lifestyle portrayed on Sex and the City. Masked behind couture fashion, clever writing, and beautiful people is a life of searching and desperation. I know because I’ve been there myself. The lure is clever, but the promises don’t deliver. Here’s the big problem with deception: you don’t know it’s a lie until you face the consequences.
We were not created for life separated from God. When Adam and Eve chose to dethrone God and cut the cord of dependence—by deciding for themselves what is good and evil—humankind indeed got independence from God. And this independence is the source of every heartache, disappointment, and the emptiness we experience in the world today.
Today, we all experience the loss and separation that resulted from Adam and Eve’s fatal decision. Instead of knowing peace and security, we feel angst and incompleteness. Instead of knowing who we are and if we are loved, we are constantly searching and striving for someone to tell us who we are. Our desire to be rescued, therefore, finds its origin in the human need to be reconnected with our Creator—to be back in the place of security and rest that comes from being in His presence—simply, the place we were created to inhabit.
Charlotte is right. Women really do want to be rescued!
The Rest of the Story
I’m just a girl who believed the lie that the deep longings of my soul could be fulfilled in the lifestyle portrayed on Sex and the City. Rescued from the emptiness, I’m here to tell other women the rest of the story. God doesn’t abandon us. He knows our design. He knows apart from Him we are searching, restless, and incomplete. And because He loves us with this incomprehensible love, He comes to rescue us and set us free from our prison of “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
Adapted from Sex and the City Uncovered, by Marian Jordan. Published by B&H Publishing Group. Used with permission.
Marian Jordan is the founder of Redeemed Girl Ministries,
showing girls of all ages how to apply God’s truth and promises to their individual circumstances. She lives in Houston and is finishing her master’s degree at
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