What will you be doing when Sex and The City (SATC) hits the theatres on Friday, May 30th? If you are female and haven't thought about getting together with friends, you must be living in a cave. The trailers and marketing blitz have reached a feverish pitch.
On that evening (and the weeks and months that follow), single, divorced, widowed and married women will be making a beeline to local theatres in their Manolos---sort of like voting with their feet. They are seizing a girl's night out (GNO)---away from husbands, boyfriends, jerks, work, housekeeping, caregiving, cooking and kids to enjoy and support one another.
The larger-than-life friends we all wish we had---Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda---are making it to the Silver Screen, providing the rest of us the kick in the butt we need to take time off to rekindle our own friendships. A small sampling of what's happening:
After the movie, 20-something Kristin Albano and friends will be heading to a favorite Italian place in the North End for Cosmos and dinner. Women never have enough time for friends: "Since we've all graduated from college, it's hard to keep up friendships," she says. "We work and have boyfriends, families and many other things that need our attention."
Sarah Socarros and three others (Is this group of four a mere coincidence?) will shop, dine, and catch the flick at the Dolphin Mall followed by cocktails. "This is the perfect excuse because guys aren't really that into the phenomenon. We can be more candid - a la SATC if ya catch my drift," she says.
Carol Stevenson and friends (suburban mommies with young kids) will dine at The Bowery and go to The ArcLite Theatre and order Cosmos. Designer duds don't always cut it when your days are spent changing diapers and cleaning up spills so this group is looking for fashion and fun. "My friend Sylvia is a great planner of adult-only functions," she says. "Who needs a better excuse than a chick flick? Women love the fantasy of the lives the women on SATC lead. Most of us have never been able to be that carefree, even before we got married and had kids!"
Another group from Sherman Oaks has chosen The ArcLite where Monica Sagaser will be one of ten 30- and 40-somethings celebrating friendship. "The truth of the writing and the characters is compelling and addictive," she says. "The girls of SATC are imperfect and make lots of complex, humorous and entirely identifiable mistakes. Also, the complexities of friendship are integral to every episode. We all dream of having that special BFF---but the world is too busy."
Sarah McClellan-Brandt and three others will be sipping Cosmos at a local (only in Texas) "movie tavern." "It's a great excuse for a GNO because SATC is something guys understand but don't want any part of," she says. "There are so many women who will let their female friendships wither once they are in a serious relationship but SATC shows how important it is NOT to do that."
It's never too late. On May 30, Dominique Pryor-Anderson will purchase tickets online to watch the movie with 19 other friends on May 31 at the Paradiso Theater, followed by sushi and drinks. "All women have or want to have camaraderie like the girls had on the show," she says.
"As a woman living in NYC, I feel it necessary to pay homage to a show that embodies the essence of women across our great city," says Denise Espinal. "It always feels good when you see yourself in someone else and I believe each one of the SATC characters is relatable. She had intended to share the special night with five of her closest friends until "word spread" and now there are thirty. "The impact that the show has had on my life is worth spending a night out in the city, wearing brand new stilettos and getting all dressed up to sit in a movie theatre. In a city full of stress and mayhem, busy schedules and deadlines, it's good to find an escape."
Lauren Burke sent out e-vites to 25 co-workers and friends in Birmingham. (She even sent me one, on the condition that I wouldn't come). "I will be having ladies over to my apartment for a premiere party. " They'll play SATC Trivia, with Season 6 of the show playing in the background." Lauren's asked everyone to wear an element of pink, or to rock a big Carrie flower, or to come with some Samantha bling. But for her too, it's the friendships that count: "Women love to talk about their lives and relationships. When you have a bad date, at least you have a story to rehash with your friends!"
"All my girlfriends, their sisters, and their sister's friends are planning a big night out," says Natasha Nelson. "We all grew up together and since many of us have started families and companies, we don't get a chance to hang the ways we used to. Most women I know have girlfriends but the SATC girls really spend a lot of time together and seem to be each other's true support."
Three weeks ago, Dani Gibbs relocated to Minneapolis be with her fiancée. She had planned to attend a GNO with old friends in LA (at the ArcLite too, coincidentally). Suddenly, she was in a new place without any old friends. It didn't stop her. "I used MinneapolisLinkUp.com to host a quickie event to meet some people and then inquired about doing a GNO for SATC and--TA-DA! Yep, chicks in Minneapolis were interested too. It's a good excuse because it's a girlie movie and common ground for a lot of different women/personalities," she says.
GNOs are an every-other-week-thing for Julie Ma and her friends, most of who just graduated from college. There is always an excuse to "catch up with life, talk about whom we're dating, how work is going, what our goals are, and to meet people and network," she says. "We live in a fast-paced world and you have to have girlfriends to catch you when you fall, rescue you from the creepy guy on the dance floor, toast your successes and back you up on challenges." After cocktails and hors d'ouevres, Julie's group will see a midnight show.
Skirt! Magazine has invited lucky Kristin Harmel to attend a premiere in Atlanta on Tuesday. Kristin, who fancies herself as a real-life Carrie of sorts, is making an evening of it with fashion designer friend, Amy Tangerine. "We plan to get our hair blown out and wear our Carrie Bradshaw best. Then we'll head out for dinner and drinks," she says. "I'm a big believer in looking inside ourselves for happiness and establishing strong female friendships instead of looking for men to 'complete us' -although I think it's wonderful to find a man to compliment the lives we've already built for ourselves." Kristin already has plans to see SATC a second time as part of a foursome in Pittsburgh with friends Kristen, Megan and Amber.
Mary Ann Miller and three friends are attending a Pittsburgh preview on Friday evening. "They were avid followers of the TV program and while I wasn't as committed to watching, they always kept me up to speed," she says. The local women's center and shelter is sponsoring a cocktail party followed by the screening. The group has been meeting monthly for dinner for almost a decade and has silver Tiffany bracelets with a GNO charm.
After Cosmos and appetizers at a friend's apartment, Megan Erhardt and 20 friends will be hailing cabs to Georgetown to watch the movie. For her group, the movie will bring back lots of memories. "Many of our best college memories include watching the show or referencing scenes, fashion, relationship issues." Her pal, Mariel Poole, will be there too. "Girlfriends become your extended family," she says.
On a grand scale, an organization call Success in the City, whose goal is "uniting women of achievement" will host a day-long SATC festival with a pre-party the night before. "The event is called, BIG, REALLY BIG, BIGGER THAN MR. BIG!" says CEO Cynthia de Lorenzi. An after-party is planned at Saks Fifth Avenue in Tysons Galleria Mall, aptly called "Saks in the City"---with Cosmos, shopping discounts, and networking opportunities. Guests will receive a SWAG bag and an opportunity to enter a drawing for an Eiffel Tower Purse like the one that Carrie carries in the movie.
Suzanne Agasi is planning the ultimate SATC GNO. Her 150th clothing swap, Swap in the City, will be celebrated on Friday May 30th at the Intercontinental Hotel. Each participant will get a ticket for the Century 9 theatre a few blocks away. Four hundred SATC aficionados are expected to de-clutter their closets and exchange clothes at the swap that benefits three local shelters.
It's not surprising to find that female friendships trump Sex. Friends help define who we are and who we want to become. The movie release provides proof positive of our need for close friendships and offers one convenient avenue to nurture them. Women need to find more ways.
Irene S. Levine, PhD is a freelance journalist and author who blogs about female friendships at HuffPo and www.fracturedfriendships.com. She is a professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and is working on a book about female friendships, The Myth of Best Friends Forever, which will be published by Overlook Press.