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Waxing Literary: I’m so tired of Sex, I could just die.

Posted Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 at 10:30 am by Kat in Cultural Bees. More in 10010

After a whirly weekend of all things Sex and the City (seriously, was it possible to so much as walk down the street during the past few days without tripping over Sarah Jessica Parker’s ubiquitous image?) I have just about had it with the fab SATC foursome and their insipid culture of cosmo-sipping, handbag-worshipping, man-chasing life-about-town. And, as with any other relationship that’s run its course and left us feeling used and unwanted, some rebound sex is in order… preferably with a totally unsuitable individual who is everything one’s former lover was NOT.

Unfortunately, because this is the books column, I am not really supposed to write about sex– even when it’s dirty, sweaty, ill-advised revenge sex that everybody likes. No, that subject matter is the exclusive domain of Brian “Holding Hans ” Hansbury. (Not that he takes advantage of it, the jackass.)

And so I am left to work within the confines of Literary-Figurative Rebound Sex, rather than Real Rebound Sex, and that is why, today, I am writing about Sylvia Plath.

No, really!

This is not in any way an insult to Sylvia Plath, who was certainly a literary genius in myriad ways (ex: her poetry ) that have nothing whatsoever to do with, y’know, flirtinis.

But if we consider the theory of parallel universes — that somewhere, in another dimension, lives a person who is simultaneously you and yet not-you — then Esther Greenwood (the protagonist of Plath’s semi-autobiographical The Bell Jar ) is Carrie Bradshaw’s dark half, inhabiting the gritty, through-the-looking-glass New York of the 1960s.

The parallels between the two women are pretty extensive: the same single-minded obsession (for Bradshaw, romance; for Greenwood, writing); the struggle with magazine culture; the identity crises; the love-hate relationship with Manhattan; the older-woman mentor; the new understanding of life after another person’s death; the ultimate, unsuccessful attempt to leave it all behind. (Note: Yes, I just drew a parallel between moving to Paris and a suicide attempt. ) They’ve even got the accompanying sidekicks: Greenwood’s “Pollyanna Cowgirl” Besty and free-spirited Doreen to Bradshaw’s Charlotte and Samantha. (Miranda’s double is not present in The Bell Jar; perhaps she has already moved to Brooklyn.)

Don’t believe me? Look at the books’ covers, which share some eerie color-scheme and lady-leg-based design similarities:

Okay, so this argument may have its weak points — Carrie Bradshaw did finally find love and happiness, whereas Esther Greenwood simply “stepped into the room” for her (we hope) exit interview at a mental hospital — but as far as I’m concerned, these contemporary parallels are still more than enough incentive for me to run back into the arms of Sylvia Plath for one last sordid fling.

Particularly after a weekend so pink and pretty and bubbly that the entire city seems to have a hangover.

  • Amen to that sister, I’m sick of it too. And I’m not even in Manhattan.

 
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