Sushi and Prosthetic Cock – MCV (newspaper) 2008

Provided that one is neither (a) Hilary Clinton nor (b) stricken with fashion sense so grim as to make Donald Trump appear chic by contrast; itís impossible to have a bad time in New York City.
Nonetheless, pulmonologist
I managed.
This was due less to my natural talent for misery and more to the intrusion of four imaginary sluts.
When the missus and I booked our top-drawer lodgings and cut-rate passage to the worldís greatest city, we ought to have considered the entertainment calendar.  Damnit, we ought to have been told by the US Consulate that our downtown reverie would be ruined. By Sex and the Fucking City.
In vulnerable (by which we mean drunk) moments, Iíve watched and tolerated this phenom. And, as Iíve been paid on a number of occasions to write critique of its premise, (to wit: all biatches just love shoes and sex with repellent financiers with nostril hair called Mr Big) Iíve even read the book by Ms Bushnell.  As I sort of felt I owed her the royalty. And, you know, I didnít hate it. I just hate people who love it.
Kind of like sushi and prosthetic penises, SATC is ruined by its noisier advocates. Itís quite tolerable per se. But, a raucous minority spoils private pleasure for the rest of us. If youíve ever heard (a) a smug gaijin overpronounce the word ìunagiî in a Japanese restaurant or (b) a smug lesbian talk about the length, girth and surgical quality of her new faux donger, you will know absolutely what I mean. Zealots ruin things for others.
Even before arrival at JFK, I could smell SJP zealotry.  Rather literally, as it happens.
Covet is Madame Parkerís signature scent.  This, Iím told, she herself eschews in favour of a Comme des GarÁons number.  Which is unsurprising.  Sheís a stylish woman and Covet smells a lot like week old salad left in the lingerie drawer of a reasonably hygienic old lady.  The missus told me that sheíd no wish to sleep with an octogenarian vegan.  So, I immediately reverted to my Caleche which makes me smell EXACTLY like Grace Kelly in Rear Window. Sadly, the lass in 71K had not been similarly advised.  Poor lamb.  She had no one to tell her that Covet should be renamed Shite.  Like nearly all of SATCís female fans, she was single.
I knew this because she disclosed it at least fifty times to her neighbour.  Iím single.  Iím single.  Iím going to New York City to buy Jimmy Choos, Find Me a Man and be issued with an apprehended violence order by all four primary cast members of Sex and the Fucking City.  Did I tell you, Iím single?
No wonder, I said from deep within my valium and Tyrellís tinged haze.  You stink like an ancient raw foodist who ventured to cover her stench with geranium water.  Now shut up or Iíll tell you that you are not, in fact, dressed like Kristin Davis.  That flouncy off-the-shoulder horror makes you look like Eva Longoriaís less attractive older sister.  After sheís been force fed by a hungry Komodo Dragon who ate her and then threw her up.
I love you, Grace Kelly, said the missus.  I love you too.
By the time weíd boarded the E Train en route to our remarkable hotel, weíd talked each other down off the ledge.  Eva on the plane was an exception. The streets of NYC would not be awash with the suppurations of excitable foreigners.  Those SATC freaks, whoíd look exactly like the people you see behind the hosts on the Today Show but with nicer shoes, would be eclipsed by the muscle of Gotham.  And, anyhow, none of them would be staying in our hotel.
Actually, blessedly, none of them were.  The single ladies and clammy queens who had, as it turned out, visibly flocked to New York to catch a glimpse of the gals in their natural setting were all staying in discounted quarters.  Theyíd spent all their dosh on absurdly expensive clothes.  One ostensibly sane Canadian lass I spoke with at a tea-shop estimated her combined travel and couture budget at $US16,000.  This, a little mockingly, approximates the average cost of a wedding.
She was not staying at The Peninsula.  We were.  And here we felt more content and chic than SJP herself.  Thereís a certain glow that high thread count, obsequious service and incandescent lighting confers.  Even to ladies entirely dressed in curios won on eBay.  We were safe, we were beautiful and we didnít smell like Covet.
For an entire twelve hours, we managed to dodge the SATC stench.  Until I saw Cynthia Nixon glide out of a cab and float into the foyer of The Pen.  This didnít really count as an unwelcome SATC intrusion, we decided.  Not only is Cyn a declared Friend of Dorothy and thereby rare and special; she looked hot, seemed very nice and was, in all likelihood, not a fan of the show.
But, fans of the show were just about everywhere else.  Downtown, in Brooklyn and, oddly, at a dyke night at Union Square called Eden.  Are you wearing Covet, one Eve asked another.  Well, yes, as it happens.  Minutes later, they were at it like Kim Cattrall and Sonia Braga in Series 4.  Much, it must be said, to the delight of a Lesbro (a subspecies amiably tolerated by the dykes of New York) who looked a lot like Mr Big.
Natives and Today Show blow-ins alike, it seemed, were enamoured of SATC.  A friend of mine explained this as the fault of Rudy Giuliani.  Along with Disneyfying Times Square, forcing homeless persons to be homeless in boroughs far less tolerable than Manhattan and, Iíd guess, fining people for wearing fabulous mauve pimp suits, he could shoulder this responsibility.  New York, he explained, had become far too much like America.  It was the stewardship of Giuliani that turned New Yorkers from their preferred cultural heritage of Mrs Parker, Mr Ginsberg et al into people that could actually stomach and view SATC The Movie.
And so, it is only in spending far too much money at midtown hotels or in drinking far too much bourbon at a less-than-chic downtown bar that the visitor might snatch a moment of the great cityís vanishing grace.  Perhaps a chance conversation on the subway might unfurl.  For the rest of the time, amuse yourself in looking at fixtures like the Brooklyn Bridge or Woody Allen.  These are fossilised, utterly non-functioning mementos of another New York.
The giddy girls and uncool queens were everywhere in June.  Looking for Carrie et al, they reminded me of a lower carb version of the children at Main Street, USA, Disneyland.  Theyíd seen the show, bought the merch – Balenciaga, not mouse ears – and now they were here to look at a thing that reminded them of another thing.  To wit: an American place that doesnít exist anymore.  If, in fact, it ever really did.
And then, of course, after all this nostalgia for the unreal, theyíre ingeniously prompted into buying more stuff. More mouse ears. (SATC the movie has seven promotional partners and namechecks supermarket products like Garnier with which Carrie would NEVER foul her perfectly unkempt ramparts of hair. Enjoy your new mouse ears.)
But, then again, you should see my own credit card bill.  Eva, the Eves, all the queens and the woman I met at the tea-shop (where, by chance, Moby the popstar owner was jiggling his organic silver needle leaves in a faux-humble pot) probably spent only a little more than I. They drink Cosmos, I drink Kentucky Straight.  They buy Miu Miu, I buy fifty year old pencil skirts that smell of old lady.  (But not, mercifully, of overcooked flowers.) They read Candace Bushnellís snappy version of a spinsterís New York.  I prefer Dorothy Parkerís. Weíre each of us looking for a New York thatís been eclipsed by too much time, too much scrutiny and far, far too much merchandise.

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