and just like that-min

When Will An IRL Carrie Bradshaw adopt me as her ethnic BFF/prop?

I'm ready!

Words by Stacy Nguyen

Nguyeners and Losers: A weekly JoySauce column full of hot takes and emotional deep dives on pop culture and celebrity news. This column is a manifestation of the countless hours of ‘research’ and ‘analysis’ of stuff like Reddit AMAs and YouTube convo threads that writer Stacy Nguyen likes to obsess over at 11pm.

I got struck by Omicron a few months ago. It resulted in a dozen or so days of earnest quarantining, lying in a puddle of my own sweat, in a full-sized bed that creaked every time I moved. In that delirium, I decided to cancel my HBO Max subscription because I told myself that I’m a freaking Starz subscriber now.

Also in that delirium, I decided to fleece the shit out of HBO by watching every current show they had before my subscription ended. 

Carrie Bradshaw Fashion GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

That was how I started watching And Just Like That, a sequel of Sex and the City, which still stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kristin Davis, and Cynthia Nixon. (Kim Cattrall notably does not appear, because she had a massive falling out with Parker and Executive Producer Michael Patrick King. For what it’s worth, I’m #TeamCattrall in that beef.) 

Where Sex and the City featured four white women in their 30s navigating love, toxic heteronormative relationships, sex, and the city with nary a person of color in sight, And Just Like that features three white women in their 50s navigating love, sex, sexual fluidity, gender expansiveness, aging, woke culture, and the city—with at least one person of color paired with each of the white main characters. 

I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I, too, think I would make an amazing POC BFF to a rich white woman.

Afterall, every white woman needs an ethnic bestie who is fascinated by her life!

New York Hbo GIF by Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

In the show, Charlotte’s new POC BFF is played by Nicole Ari Parker. She wears thigh-high boots and can call in favors to get profesh food truck-slash-caterers to nonprofit-slash-volunteer events tout suite—and you’d think she’d be too cool to hang with someone uppity like Charlotte, but nah! They’re on the PTA together!

Miranda’s POC BFF is her new law professor, played by Karen Pittman. Miranda is back in school because she gets that it’s no longer the look to be a corporate lawyer, so she’s pursuing a master’s in “human rights.” Miranda’s friendship with her prof starts off a little awk because she assumed her prof was a student (because she’s Black! And a woman! And young!) and then explained that away by talking about her prof’s braids and name-dropping Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist to prove she’s not racist. It’s the stuff meet-cutes are made of! 

Double Take Sunglasses GIF by Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

Carrie’s new POC BFF is her realtor Seema, played by sexy-ass sophisticated woman Sarita Choudhury. Seema is a pathetic spinster who can’t land a man despite being so worldly and hot. Her parents make her sit at the kids’ table during family gatherings even though she’s in her 50s. She confides all of this to Carrie, who responds by showing up to Diwali at Seema’s parents’ house wearing this number that gets erroneously portrayed as a sari. Seema’s seemingly ethnic-conservative parents don’t even slap Carrie across the face for the offense. Not even once.

I watched And Just Like That passionately and avidly in a sweaty COVID stupor—simultaneously fascinated, confused, and mesmerized. I was fascinated by how much white women believe in themselves. I was confused over what had happened to Steve’s ears. I was mesmerized by the way Carrie spent money. (Because of Carrie’s flighty tendencies, Seema got two thickass real estate commissions in a period of like, a month. What does Carrie’s accountant think of this wackadoodle spending?) 

Other people were definitely similarly engaged because this series got the greenlight for a second season, despite being initially marketed as a one-off miniseries. The renewal made me think about this show’s target audience: white women who grew up salivating over the fashion in the original Sex in the City and were vicariously thrilled by the acceptable yet scandalous exploits of the main characters—women who, like the characters, are now also older, more advanced in their careers, with significantly higher annual incomes. 

Like, gauging on the popularity of this sequel series, these women must exist in droves IRL.

New York Hbo GIF by Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

But where are they? Where are they! For real, point me to them. 

Rich white women: I am available for active listening and hot takes-giving

Even though I grew up in the Seattle suburbs, I’m still what Ali Wong calls a Jungle Asian and I have refugee parents, which makes me marginalized enough to be the sassy and supportive BFF to any rich white woman friend/benefactor who is the daughter of a man who got in at the ground floor of Microsoft or Amazon or Boeing (if they’re old money)—a friend in her 50s who has spent decades hanging out exclusively in Seattle’s super elite Denny-Blaine neighborhood, who now wants to the explore the non-white side of the city because 2020 did a number on her psyche. 

I, too, have thigh-high boots. They admittedly cost $30 and are made of pleather, but that’s what I’m saying! I need a rich white lady to laugh indulgently at my adorable cluelessness before saying a bunch of harmless microaggressions to me about how she thought I was some other Asian when we first met. (We’ll LOL over that!)

Sex And The City GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then she’ll take me to a store that doesn’t even have clearance racks, to buy shoes that cost an entire month’s pay to teach me about her culture. In turn, I would teach her about mine by taking her to the mom-and-pop shops that sell áo dài. We’ll inexplicably walk out with a midriff-baring two-piece ensemble. 

I’ll bring my new friend over to my parents’ house for Tết, where they will not aggressively shit-talk about her behind-her-back-but-really-to-her-face by exclusively communicating to each other in Vietnamese.

Instead, they will chortle over how charming my new white friend is and say stuff in fluent American English like, “Stacy! Where have you been keeping her! She’s hilarious!” 

Of course, I will hang my head sheepishly as I walk back to the kids’ table and contemplate my future arranged marriage because my parents are that charming mish-mash of appealingly progressive but also ass-backwards ethnically conservative—but not before I admit to my entire extended family that life is indeed a richer tapestry when you diversify your network and hang out with people outside of your race!

And—because I’m a graphic designer—my new friend will also commission an ultra modern logo from me and tepidly push along a super drawn out design process because she is kind of lost in life. I will design exactly one million logos. And to each one, she will be like, “It’s … okay.” I totally won’t want to strangle the shit out of her at all because my time is plentiful and costs nothing! 

Eventually, she will be worn down by her own self, and she’ll randomly pick a logo based on nothing at all. She will pay me an assload for all of the work that goes into manifesting this symbol of her modern new fabulous life and podcast that is apparently super popular despite her complete inexperience in podcasting. But then after some soul-searching, she will figure out that the new logo isn’t her at all. Rather, the creaky old serif logo with drop shadow from 1998 is more her. She’ll tearfully admit this to me and will be like, “Stacy, what do we do?”

New York Hbo GIF by Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ll magnanimously be like, “Okay, the cool thing about rebranding is that it’s a lot like real estate transactions. You can totally change your mind whenever, and it’s really easy to go back to an AOL-esque logo. Just pay me for the extra labor it takes to call every vendor and cancel production on everything. I get that clarity sometimes doesn’t come until the 13th hour. Girl! You’re so hilarious and poignant!”

And then we’ll drink cocktails on some rooftop bar somewhere and cheers to our fabulous, urban life.

New York Hbo GIF by Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

White ladies: I’m ready for this. And for you. Call me.

In summary:

The injustice done to Kim Cattrall!: Loser

‘Volunteering’ lazy painting skills instead of just giving money to a nonprofit when you’re a rich person: Loser

Making out like a bandit due to a rich person’s indecisiveness: Nguyener

Published on April 29, 2022

Words by Stacy Nguyen

Stacy Nguyen is a Seattle area-based Vietnamese American writer, artist, and designer whose work explores the ways race and gender are reflected within the lens of popular culture. She makes a lot of logos and moves shapes around in a pleasing manner in her day job. She used to be a journalist and news editor, but now she mostly writes hot takes on celebrities. This is because she watches an obscene amount of TV that she should be embarrassed about, but is inexplicably not.

Art by Frankie Huang

Frankie Huang is a culture writer, editor and illustrator. She proudly descends from a long line of stubborn, bossy women. Follow her on Twitter @ourobororoboruo