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American comedian Margaret Cho, who popped up in series four, said Sex and the City was like watching gay men play with dolls. True or false? Words: Gareth Davies

hannel 4’s American import Sex and

the City has been taken to the

collective bosom of both padded and peep-holed-bra wearing women of a certain age. My Sex addicted girl-friends claim they’re fans because they recognise elements of themselves in the onscreen characters. Straight men watch it. if at all, for the cast’s collective phwoar-factor.

But the show was developed and written by a creative team of predominantly homosexual men. So how are gay men able to accurately portray modern women, when straight men spend most of their lives yearning to understand the female self?

The short answer is, of course, irony. We gay men know women because we don’t need to.

The longer answer is . . .

Women associate with the show because they, and gay men, view the world from similar metaphorical windows. To generalise


sickeningly, we like the same things: psychedelic cocktails. dancing round handbags, Kiefer Sutherland. We share lifestyle preoccupations: waxing or shaving? Does plaid go with corduroy? How many calories in a Bacardi Breezer?

And maybe it‘s just a vicious rumour. but gay men are often thought to be more ‘in touch‘ with, and better able to communicate. their emotional baggage than straight men. The gay writers simply created a series of true-to-emotional-life, if heavily fictionalised, characters from their own experiences. But ‘Gay Sex and the City” wouldn’t draw the vast ratings the networks demand. so the characters are cunningly disguised as straight women. Really, they’re as much ‘real women’ as pantomime dames.

So, you heard it here first. Sarah Jessica Parker is actually just a man in a dress. Straight guys might now find it uneasy viewing with that on their consciousness.

Darren Star



1. It provides us with aspirational role models. Male TV idols? What out-of-work actors. egomaniac shrinks or lunatic priests? Here's four young people with well-paid jobs that don't involve garrotting. embalming or counselling the public. who live life to the 'shag-yenwimmin-and-drink-yer- wine' full. They love their mams (if not their mothers in-law) and are good friends. but not like those sickly. sickening sycophants round at Central Park. 2. It’s often painfully familiar. Not since the toe-curling. pre-teen traumas of Kevin in The Wonder Years has the pitfalls of life. love and sexual politics been so skilfully portrayed. And that’s for both sexes.

3. Carrie and so are truly medferrlt. Part Ozzy Osbourne. Traci Lords.

Ollie Reed and Michael Barrymore. the fantastic four do hedonism with class. PC TV means that only The 80er Family are allowed to spark up these days and they're slobs. so it's OK - but 8&tC takes the politics of puffing and humping to new artful peaks. And a cocktail isn't just a fashion accessory for these people: it's friggin' essential.

4. It’s very, very funny. And not in a Iighting-your~farts or sniffing-your- flatmate's-underwear kind of way.

5. Forget luddlte laddettes and men's mag muppets. the sac girls are every man’s fantasy women. Let's see now. there's the scatty one, the gently flirty one. the anally retentive one and the sexually aggressive one. Or the fashionista one. the artsy one. the career—minded one and the celeb-stalking one. Or there's the buddy one. the motherly one. the sisterly one and the big sister's slutty pal one. And of course. the cute blonde one. the brassy blonde one. the sweet brunette one and even a ginger one. Who couldn't find their ideal woman in there? (Mark Robertson)

20 "1' LIST 1?. Dec 2002—2 Jan 2003

Street. Glasgow. 0747 204 7750.

Edinburgh alternative: The Outsider. George IV Bridge. 0131 226 3131.

I Labels at

Harvey Nicks

Pure fantasy made reality. Nicks stocks collections by top international designers such as Joseph, Nicole Farhi. Paul and Joe. Stella McCartney. Mui Mui. DKNY and Gucci. Simply a one- stop designer mecca. Harvey Nichols, 30—34 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, 0737 524 8388.


"’“ii‘air’vey Nichols Glasgow alternative: Cruise. 180 & 223 Ingram Street. 0141 572 3200.

I Splurge at Oloroso

If you want to impress. then look no further than Oloroso. The setting is unrivalled. the food simply to die for. the clientele resolutely fabulous and the overall experience is worth a Fendi's weight in gold. Don your best garb. position your posterior close to a window. order the finest house cocktail and savour every moment.

Oloroso. 33 Castle Street. Edinburgh, 0737 226 7674. Glasgow alternative: Amaryllis. 1 Devonshire Gardens. 0141 337 3434.

E Bouti ues In the Italian entre

The Italian Centre is easily the most effortlesst elegant shopping area in Glasgow. Situated in the heart of the classic merchant-designed buildings. its array of boutiques such as Armani. Versace the first in Europe outside ltaly Cruise. plus chic cafes and bistros. make it an exclusive yet essential shopping destination.

Ital/an Centre, 7 John Street. Glasgow, 0747 552 6368. Edinburgh alternative: Arkangel. William Street. 0131 226 4466.

ll Second-hand at Starry Starry Night Venture off Byres Road and you'll find a treasure trove of one-off luxury items at Starry Starry Night. It stocks beautifully-kept party clothes and accessories. from bags and jewellery. to frocks and tuxes. It's well worth popping into periodically to