How channeling my inner ‘Sex and the City’ changed my life

When I found myself with three single best friends at NYU, I turned to one of my favorite shows for inspiration.


Samson Tu

(Samson Tu for WSN)

Alexa Donovan, Staff Writer

I like to consider myself to be one of the Carrie Bradshaws of the world. Perhaps we are not one hundred percent alike — where she falls victim to Manolo Blahniks, I fall victim to hand-me-down Repettos. My comparison isn’t completely illogical, though: I am a writer, I love New York City more than I love myself, I dress up no matter what I’m doing, and I have three best friends for whom I would do just about anything. 

“My heart was just shattered into a billion pieces and then run over by a truck multiple times,” I described via text on Aug. 26, 2022, two days before I arrived at NYU. Trust me, being heartbroken is one of the worst ways to begin college. I was 18, miserable and utterly exhausted by romance. 

My mother quickly pointed out the truth: “New York cures all heartbreak — and screw anybody who makes you feel unwanted.” 

I knew deep down, despite my many fears, that she was correct. I was confident, independent and strong before the heartbreak, and I knew what I had to do to get these qualities back. As cheesy as it may sound, I had to channel my inner “Sex and the City.” 

I had always wanted to live my life as the main characters Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda and Carrie do. Being a single young woman in New York City gave me the opportunity to act out a fantasy I’d been harboring since I first watched the show. I couldn’t pass it up by sulking around for months over someone who didn’t want me. 

Each “Sex and the City” character has a different purpose. Miranda is a strong woman, never afraid to stand up for herself and speak her mind. Samantha revels in the independence of her sexually liberated, go-getter lifestyle. Carrie is the glamorous girl who overthinks everything and often makes terrible decisions, which usually teach her lessons about life and love. Charlotte is the compassionate and reserved woman that everyone needs in their life, to ground themselves. Together, they form a group of four women who value and respect each other. They realize that love for themselves and their friends must come before romance. That said, they never hold back from seeing what the city offers, each experiencing a range of relationships with a wide variety of men over the course of the show. 

Following in their footsteps, I became a woman on a mission to live freely and for myself, alongside great friends. This meant immersing myself in the New York social scene, accepting the highs and lows of dating and friendship, and letting nothing get me down.

I quickly found myself with three glamorous, lighthearted and compassionate best friends. Not only was I grateful to have met them, but I was excited to learn that they were also single and ready to take in all that New York had to offer. 

On her way to the film studio, Tisch first-year Chiara Collin-D’Augelli is often clad in a mini skirt, knee-high boots, faux fur and tiny sunglasses. CAS first-year Gaia Palazzo, when not in the chemistry lab, can be seen in all of her Italian chicness, wearing a knee-length purple trench coat and blue jeans, perfectly fitted. Tisch first-year Laini Sharifi rocks her homemade scarf with two pigtails and eclectic boots, to and from the Meisner Studio on Jay Street. 

The four of us manage to find joy in everything we do, from the mundane to the extraordinary. And dating for us has been no different — New York City has so much to offer. From British models to rockstars, we have met every type of person. 

Going to a school the size of NYU makes it easy to find people to have fun with, even if you never talk to them. I think I was the one who coined the term “dining hall crush” when I saw a cute guy at lunch one day. It’s quite an easy concept: If you see a cute person somewhere, they become your location-based crush. We all have a dining hall crush, class crush, Bobst crush, etc. Admiring a stranger makes a boring lecture interesting, even if we never build up the courage to speak.

Then there are the men we actually talk to. Whether on Hinge or in person, dating in New York City can be fruitful if you keep an open mind. We’ve all had our embarrassing bar moments, our awkward ran-into-a-failed-first-date-from-Hinge moments and our “Oh god, he’s ghosting me” moments. But having every type of experience, good or bad, is what defines being young and single. Doing it alongside your best friends makes what I call the “flops of solitude” a bit easier. 

Chiara felt disappointed by the general lack of interest from potential partners, and Gaia agreed. What do people in a city of over 8 million have to lose? Apparently a lot, since people can be very reserved, and often hesitate to shoot their shot.

Gaia found herself stuck in hookup culture, which made it difficult to foster meaningful connections. Despite the fact that, statistically speaking, it should be easy to find someone you truly connect with in the big city, it can be difficult. With the constant stream of new faces you’ll meet, it can be hard to make a meaningful connection with someone.

In the suburbs, we noticed, you’d at least speak to someone before you made out. Now, you just need to make eye contact at the club. While that can be enjoyable for some, if you’re someone looking for love, it is quite a difficult transition to come to terms with. 

Laini told me that she found herself disappointed when it felt like nobody was giving her attention. If everyone is so hormonal and on the prowl, why did it feel like nobody wanted her? But this changed when she shifted her perspective, and asked herself why she would want to date anyone who wouldn’t even acknowledge her when she said hello to them.

I think my heartbreak woes were cured when I started to experience all of these strange yet fun parts of life. In a city of over 8 million people, none of the ups and downs of the New York City dating scene seem to matter too much the next day. 

Above all else, what dating in New York has taught me is that nobody else should ever make me feel down about myself. Knowing my own worth and having my friends right beside me is all I need. Whether a mission is successful or miserably fails, just like Carrie, I still love myself — and I love my friends more than I will ever love any experience with a random guy. 

Contact Alexa Donovan at [email protected].