Candace Bushnell has a new book coming out in a matter of days, Is There Still Sex in the City? I always enjoy when Bushnell has something to promote, because I find her so interesting. She has much more depth than her alter-ego Carrie Bradshaw, and Candace has seen some sh-t and she really thinks about the ways in which the world has changed around her. It’s a powerful thing for a 60-year-old woman to still be writing about middle-aged and older women as vital, powerful, intelligent and… interested in sex and romance. Candace was recently asked if there is *still* sex in her city, New York, and she said “It’s less… I think there’s not a lot of romance. Partly because of the Internet, everybody is in their own little phone bubble. People are more involved in their phones than they are with each other. Let’s face it, that’s a romance killer.” Candace also gave a fascinating interview to The Hollywood Reporter, which you can read here. Some highlights:
Why she wrote her character under her name with this book: “For me, being Candace Bushnell and what I do, [there is an] impulse to write about this passage in women’s lives that seems to be a real phase and one that I wasn’t expecting. You kind of think that life is going to go in one direction, and then it gets really fuzzy. I found myself in my mid-50s and living a life that I didn’t expect. I think I didn’t expect it emotionally. At the beginning when I got divorced I didn’t know anybody else who was divorced, and my only single friends were like me: single and without children. So, we really made a bond that we were going to look after each other. You go through a certain point, and then realize, wow, you don’t even fit into the algorithm. And you’re kind of erased in a lot of different ways. That’s true for men and women. It could be another 20 years of your life where you’re going to work and not going to retire, and you have to live your life with the same drive, except that you have to reinvent yourself. “Why am I here?”
The SATC women are in their 50s now: “These are women who are used to being out in the world. They have had careers and attempted to have it all. And maybe have succeeded, and now they’re finding themselves in a society that’s like, “Hey, we are not interested in you anymore.” These are women who are used to saying, “We don’t care what you think. We’re going to go out and change things.” It’s a demographic that is growing, literally, because people are living longer and healthier lives. On the other side of this are women who are starting businesses, and they’re kind of saying “F–k it” and they’re doing what they always wanted to do even though they didn’t have permission to believe in that aspect of themselves. Now they’re saying, “I don’t need permission, there’s no permission.” It’s also a group of women who have grown up with a lot of shame and a lot of shaming, so there’s also a desire to be free of that. It’s now or never. We are sick of all that nonsense.
How older women’s sex lives are portrayed in film & TV: “It’s really not portrayed. I’m probably going to make a generalization, like, it’s harder for older women to find sex, but I think if you’re a sexual person and you’re comfortable with your sexuality, you’ll be able to figure that out. But I do think that’s not portrayed at all. We’ve got to look at Hollywood: [Where are the] women over 40?
Bushnell also recounts – without naming names – how ‘90s New York was a rogue’s gallery of predators and terrible, abusive men and how most women who were in New York during that time have some awful stories about powerful men, men who are still around. She also talks about how she was sent to write a story about Jeffrey Epstein in 1994 and she got kicked out of his house and basically his lawyers did the most to shut down any article about him.
Also: “You go through a certain point, and then realize, wow, you don’t even fit into the algorithm. And you’re kind of erased in a lot of different ways.” I feel that. I feel that coming, and I feel like that’s a larger conversation being had by women in their 40s and 50s.