The Dec. 30 episode blew me away for quite a while after watching it, but it took a few minutes after it was done to figure out why.
My husband, Jon, had been watching from the kitchen table just behind me, sitting on the couch. I did my usual talking on TV thing – “Miranda, you’re still married” and “Miranda, Carrie is literally calling you!” – and he watched quietly, as he normally does. When it was over, all I could think about was how different it was from any sex scene Miranda had ever had in the original series. That watching what looked like an actual sex scene between a woman and a non-binary person was almost groundbreaking. And instead of savoring the moment, I felt terrified.
I walked into the kitchen, stopped, and turned to Jon to immediately look at the floor, play the violin with my hands, and shyly ask, “Can I talk to you about something?” Of course, he said of course. I started to feel myself stop and I went on to say that this scene made me feel really weird and it scared me.
I’m a 33 year old married woman in a loving and very healthy relationship, and the only words I could really stand were “this made me feel funny”. We talked about it for a while, and it turns out, unsurprisingly, I thought the scene was hot. And because of everything I’ve been through around my own sexuality and coming out, the feeling was immediately followed by abject fear and shame. All of a sudden, I was 16 again and I didn’t know who I was anymore.
We talked about it for a little while. Jon held my hand while I cried, he reassured me that even if I realized later in life that I’m a lesbian, he would still love and support me. But then I was able to put aside the panic and confusion and identify what was really going on in my brain.
Like so many other people, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing binary represented as the norm; there is very little room for nuance when it comes to characters’ sexuality in film and television. Even the most well-meaning depictions of homosexuality tend to fall into the heterosexual or gay/lesbian binary, so that bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality, etc., are simply ignored, symbolized, or fetishized. We feel like an afterthought. Christ, “SATC” first interacted with bisexuality by essentially calling it a myth and ignoring it altogether. Add to that the virulent biphobia in the LGBTQ+ community itself as well as the relentless assumptions made by the general public since I was in a straight marriage, and it’s a minefield. And that’s what I grew up with.
No wonder I had such an intense reaction watching this scene.
I’m just grateful to have Jon. He comforts me when I’m scared and makes me feel safe to be myself. To remind myself that my sexuality isn’t a party thing, a threat, or something I put aside the day we got married. It’s just part of my fabric.
Miranda’s homosexuality is part of her fabric, only now she has the awareness at 55 that I had at 28. With a husband and a teenage son. With a life. The binary is so ingrained in her (and Charlotte and Carrie) that she can’t even fathom what it means. Her very sense of self has just been turned upside down, and she must redefine that by first dismantling everything she has spent her life building. It doesn’t help that Carrie once had such a volatile reaction to bisexuality, a reaction that Samantha Jones supported.
But now everything is about to change.