A Lesson from Two Ingrates

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What we can learn from Carrie and Charlotte’s ‘grass is greener’ attitude

By Lorraine Duffy Merkl

Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.

If this Dale Carnegie adage is true, then the women of Sex And The City 2 certainly are successful, but they sure ain’t happy. If, like Carrie & Co., your attitude of late has been lacking gratitude, you must take in this movie. Seeing what ungrateful looks like 30 feet high and 70 feet wide is enough to scare anyone straight.

Dissatisfaction really lies in the storylines of Carrie and Charlotte, who had me wanting to throw my popcorn-filled hands in the air. (Samantha’s story is about menopause and Miranda’s is about having a new boss who doesn’t like her; both characters deal with their issues in a positive way.)

Carrie (a.k.a. Mrs. Big) is bored with her exquisitely decorated pad/millionaire husband/Manolos-are-no-object life. Straight out of the grass-is-greener playbook, she indulges a flirtation with her one-time fiancé, Aidan. Carrie a cheater? I’ll never tell. But just the mere idea is evident from the trailer. That she might even entertain the thought of stepping out on the man for whom, over the course of six years, she pined, saw off to Paris, waited out his marriage, cheated with and forgave after he left her at the altar, made this once “every woman” appear every inch the spoiled brat.

Charlotte “I want a husband! I want a baby! A baby! A baby!” York achieved her dream life, yet, “They’re driving me crazy.” This coming from a woman who does not work, yet has a full-time nanny. Her baby “cries all the time” (does she not have a pediatrician who can advise her?) and her daughter ruins her outfit while making cupcakes. Perhaps if she weren’t wearing vintage designer duds while baking, it really wouldn’t have been an issue.

Both Carrie and Charlotte are guilty of what my grandmother used to call “complaining with two loaves of bread under each arm.” They are living the lives people come here in hopes to attain, but most never do.

So why is it that when some people reach their goals, they can still feel let down?

According to www.slowdownfast.com, problems arise because we often don’t know what we really want. Do you really want to get married or have a baby or be a lawyer, or are those other people’s expectations you’re trying to satisfy? If so, when you finally get “what you thought you desired, it isn’t really what we wanted after all.”

In relation to the movie, discontentment can also occur when your life changes but you don’t—as in, when a married woman still wants to run around like a single gal. Also, when you go into a situation with unrealistic expectations: for example, thinking yours will be the children who’ll never have tantrums or get dirty.

“Being grateful for what one does have can promote a sense of well-being and diminish dissatisfaction,” advises www.slowdownfast.com.

Will Carrie and Charlotte see the errors of their ways? You’ll have to find out for yourself. Despite the snarky reviews, the movie is dazzling: the clothes, the shoes, the opulent locations alone are worth the price of admission. I could have done without the road trip. Part of the allure of SATC has always been that NYC was the fifth friend, if you will. New York beats the new Middle East and anywhere else any day.

Just as with the first film, whose bigger message was forgiveness, SATC2 could possibly have you ready to utter something New Yorkers aren’t always given credit for: saying “thank you.” 


Lorraine Duffy Merkl’s debut novel, Fat Chick, from The Vineyard Press, is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

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