If you are a woman over the age of 22, there is a very high chance you have watched Sex And The City.
Even if you were a wee thing when the show first aired, one of the most significant shows of pop culture history somehow manages to find a way into the binge-watching lists of women across the globe – and for good reason.
Women owning their sexual power first made waves back in the last ‘70s. But SATC – which first aired in 1998 – thrust this idea into a public forum and women talking candidly about sex became mainstream.
Yet, one of the biggest questions to arise from this female-centric show was this: Would you choose Aidan or Big?
Carrie Bradshaw, a character forever tied to the actress that played her: Sarah Jessica Parker, has two ‘great loves’ throughout the six series and two movies (the latter of which we won’t speak of). These are Aidan and Mr Big.
Carrie first meets Big in the pilot episode, and he’s who she ultimately ends up with, Aidan is introduced in season three and despite his big love for Carrie, she can’t help but repeatedly break his heart.
Simply put, Aidan is the perfect man, Big is a jerk.
Big embodies all the attributes of a ‘fuckboy’ – a charming phrase coined by Millennials for men who screw women over and acting like they’re in a relationship while refusing to put labels on anything.
Big was with Carrie for a year and couldn’t say he loved her – which lead to their first break up. He moved to Paris without consulting her, hence the second break up. He then returned from Paris, not only with a new woman but a woman who was his wife – after telling Carrie he would never marry again.
Aidan, on the other hand, a tall, handsome furniture maker (read: good with his hands) was ready to settle down and have a family. Aidan had so much love to give and so many redeeming qualities: He liked dogs! He had a (hand-built) cabin in the woods! He bought the apartment next to Carrie’s so they would have a larger space! He forgave her for cheating on him with Big! Aidan was the best, hands down, but he was too good for Carrie and she knew it.
Having first watched SATC in my late teens, I began to rewatch it a few months ago, and in my 20s the series took on a whole new meaning.
When I began to rewatch back in June I had a boyfriend, and to my alarm he had so many similarities with Big. While SATC definitely wasn’t the driving force behind our breakup, what the four core women (Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha) discussed in the first few seasons made me re-evaluate my relationship and brought up a hefty amount of red flags (he refused to call me his girlfriend, wouldn’t tell his family about me, didn’t make future plans etc).
It ended amicably – we’re still friends – but having completed the series now, it’s made me realise that I deserve my Aidan, or my Harry, my Smith or my Steve (yes, Steve because let’s be real – he would never cheat on Miranda).
These four men, the good-hearted men end up with the women for a reason: They love them. They are willing to work through tough times in the relationship and not just run at the first sign of distress like Big (or my ex, a fair-weathered friend). They are kind and loving and good people – and while fictional, there are men out there like this and I would never want any woman or man to settle for a relationship where they don’t feel loved and understood.
Yet some women adore Big, which worries me. Yes he’s handsome and rich and ‘comes to his senses’ at the end of the series and realises he loves Carrie and chases her to Paris to stop her from the self-obsessed Russian.
But (and this is a big but) Big is a terrible boyfriend, he makes decisions without consulting his partner, he defines the terms of the relationship and there are never any signs of compromise between them. Even in the movie when Carrie and Big discuss marriage, Carrie says to him, “I didn’t think marriage was an option”. Even though marriage was something Carrie desperately wanted, Big refused, then miraculously changed his mind and then he still left her at the alter.
So yes, I have a vendetta against Big and I understand why Carrie and he ended up together. After all, Carrie was no angel and the lifestyles they both led suited each other, but the speech that Carrie gave Big right before she left to Paris should have been the end of their relationship then and there.
She was right. He DID do this to her every time. Every time she was remotely happy with someone else he reappeared to interfere with her life again.
While we only had small glimpses of Harry, Steve and Smith, there was no question that these were kind men who loved their respective partners – the same way Aidan adored Carrie.
Three months ago I was in love with a Mr Big but I now know that I deserve to love and be loved by an Aidan – as we all do.