Sex And The City Relationships, Ranked In Order Of T4T Energy
Previously in this series.
Sex and the City, for all its flaws, deserves credit for giving such careful, thoughtful attention to the various relationships, romantic and otherwise, between trans people in New York in the 1990s, at a time when few other shows dared to do the same. Sure, there were trans shows like 3rd Rock From The Sun and Felicity, but none of them had the same staying power, none could match SATC for the sheer volume of iconic moments – Steve and Aidan’s top surgery fundraiser, Carrie accidentally showing up for Natasha’s appointment at Callen Lorde, Charlotte offering Carrie a vial of Depo-estradiol from her own private stash after the gatekeeping fiasco at Amagansett.
Samantha and Richard
The fact that James Remar has been doing voiceover work for Lexus commercials since 2009 feels transmasculine somehow – from man to voice, from actor to car. They’re both maximally gendered, like someone gave each of them several lifetimes’ supply of Woman and Man, respectively, and they’re trying to drain it out of one another as quickly as possible via sex. Moderate T4T energy.
Miranda and Steve
Less T4T than you might think! The vibe is more “cis lesbian goes through an identity crisis when her partner transitions, hilarity and mild transphobia ensues.”
Carrie and Big
The nicknames they have for each other are T4T, certainly – “Mr. Big” and “Kid,” are you kidding me? And while “deep-set male emotional pessimism” on the one hand and “an unfounded sense of female unworthiness” on the other certainly set off my T4T Geiger counter, as does the sight of Carrie wrapping herself in cigarettes, fur, and aviator sunglasses to seduce and destroy a member of the New York Yankees after Big breaks up with her for the entire city of Paris. And moving to California to avoid an ex is reasonably, although not exclusively, T4T, although the absolutely hallucinatory fantasy in the series finale that Big could ever win Miranda’s approval feels like a purely heterosexual construct. Men were often publicly cruel about Sarah Jessica Parker’s remarkable cathedral of a face in the late 90s; this felt incidentally though not intentionally transmisogynist and merits inclusion, or at least acknowledgement. Inconsistently T4T.
Carrie and Berger
He’s always dressed in too many layers and needs a haircut, she tries to cover over their sexual incompatibility by buying him better clothes – this is T4T at its worst, with all cylinders misfiring.
Samantha and Maria
I never know to what degree everybody’s joking when we say things like “HRT makes you gay.” Let’s say…40% joking. From Torrey Peters: “t4t is a promise. You just promise to love trans girls above all else. The idea—although maybe not the practice—is that a girl could be your worst enemy, the girl you wouldn’t piss on to put out a fire, but if she’s trans, you’re gonna offer her your bed, you’re gonna share your last hormone shot…We aim high, trying to love each other and then we take what we can get. We settle for looking out for each other. And even if we don’t all love each other, we mostly all respect each other.”
Charlotte and Trey
First of all, transsexuals invented mother issues, so jot that down. Second of all, I defy you to find me a more transmasculine figure than Dale Cooper, or a straight man with a more serious case of Best Little Boy In The World Syndrome (“The best little boy in the world never had wet dreams or masturbated; he always topped his class, honored mom and dad, deferred to elders and excelled in sports…The best little boy in the world was the model IBM exec…The best little boy in the world was a closet case who ‘never read anything about homosexuality’”) than Trey MacDougal; the pressures of trying to live stealth together prove too much even for this over-achievers. T4T, but sideways.
Charlotte and Harry
Charlotte’s pretty much the same, but now with a cheerful bear-ish sort of trans guy, who happily does Trans March once a year and then pretty much forgets about it; just enough community involvement that they have a natural stress release. See, she’s relaxed enough to eat yogurt now!
Samantha and James
You want me to mine for transsexual resonance between Samantha and the guy with the micropenis? This is a trick, and I’m not falling for it. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Carrie and the Russian
Bad T4T vibes – “he’s small, so he must be safe,” completely interested in just getting his and forgetting about trans liberation, weird macho Paul Preciado vibes, still extremely hot.
Samantha and Smith
Same haircut? T4T. Significant, but adults-all-around age gap? T4T. Birth name embarassing (Jerry Jerrod) so he lets his girlfriend rename him? T4T. One of them is in recovery? T4T. Tangentially connected to Gus Van Sant? T4T. Casually monogamous after a few attempts at openness? T4T. Surprise hormonal imbalance and early menopause? T!4!T! He’s equally into gym-body maintenance and relaxed-but-intense emotional intimacy while she’s guarded and self-protective? You better believe that’s T4T, baby!!!
Carrie and Aidan
This one is obvious for a reason! His name is AIDAN. He makes FURNITURE. He has a DOG and a lot of LEATHER NECKLACES. He embodies the FANTASY OF SALVAGEABLE MASCULINITY, and builds EMOTIONALLY MANIPULATIVE CHAIRS. They have a COMICAL HEIGHT DISCREPANCY and DESTROY THEMSELVES on the ALTAR of domesticity; marriage is not liberation, etc. The T4T to end all T4Ts. They’ll never get that coffee, and he’s just going to keep having kids named “Tate” with his subsequent cis wife in order to keep the marriage fantasy going.
And of course, the T4T honorable mention goes to Enid Frick and Martin Grable (Candice Bergen and Wally Shawn) in a wonderful mixed-glamor relationship.