About this book
Is There Still Sex in the City?
Twenty years after her sharp, seminal first book Sex and the City reshaped the landscape of pop culture and dating with its fly-on-the-wall look at the mating rituals of the Manhattan elite, the trailblazing Candace Bushnell delivers a new book on the highs and lows of sex and dating after fifty.
Set between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and a country enclave known as The Village, Is There Still Sex in the City? gathers Bushnell’s signature short, sharp, satirical commentaries on the love and dating habits of middle-aged men and women as they continue to navigate the ever-modernizing world of relationships. Throughout, Bushnell documents twenty-first century dating phenomena, such as the “Unintended Cub Situation” in which a sensible older woman suddenly becomes the love interest of a much younger man, the “Mona Lisa” Treatment — a vaginal restorative surgery often recommended to middle-aged women — and what it’s really like to go on Tinder dates as a fifty-something divorcée. Bushnell also updates one of her most celebrated stories from Sex and the City, about “Bicycle Boys,” a breed of New York man who is always trying to bring his bike up to women’s apartments. Once an anomaly, Bushnell charts their new ubiquitousness, in addition to where, and how, to do your own man stalking via bicycle (and whether or not it’s worth it).
Six months into my retreat, I got a call from Tina Brown. She had a story idea for me. Now that the appropriate time had passed since my divorce, I should throw myself back into the dating world and write about what it was like to be dating over fifty. I could do internet dating. I could hire a matchmaker . . .
I cut her off.
I don’t think so.
I wasn’t ready to start dating. But most of all, I didn’t want to. I’d been in relationships for nearly thirty-five years. I’d even experienced the full relationship cycle — fall in love, get married, and get divorced.
And now I was supposed to do it all over again? Was engaging in the relationship cycle the only thing I could do with my life? I thought about that good old definition of crazy: Doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result.
It was time to put an end to the cycle. And so I decided for the first time in thirty-four years, to be man-free.
This also meant being sex-free. At this point in my life, I’m not a casual sex person.
I didn’t talk about it, of course. The topic of sex, once the source of so much amusement, embarrassment, fear and joy, rarely came up. My single friends had been single forever and not dating and therefore not getting any, while my married friends were married and dealing with kids and also — I imagined — not getting any.
About the Author
CANDACE BUSHNELL is the critically acclaimed, internationally bestselling author of Sex and the City, Lipstick Jungle, The Carrie Diaries, One Fifth Avenue, Trading Up, Four Blondes, Summer and the City, and Killing Monica. Sex and the City, published in 1996, was the basis for the HBO hit series and two subsequent blockbuster movies. Both Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries became popular television series.
Awards and Praise
PRAISE FOR CANDACE BUSHNELL AND IS THERE STILL SEX IN THE CITY?
“Perhaps no one has better excavated our kinky underpinnings than Candace Bushnell, author of the original ‘Sex and the City’ columns and progenitor of the show that made Manolo a household name. Fifteen years after Carrie Bradshaw sighed her last ‘I couldn't help but wonder,’ Bushnell is back with Is There Still Sex in the City? The protagonist, Candace, is a recently divorced writer who trades her Manhattan life for a cottage in the Hamptons … [Is There Still Sex in the City? is] brimming with the snappy rhetorical questions and taxonomic acronyms that became Bushnell's signature back in the stiletto days … While Carrie was a bright-eyed anthropologist, Candace and her friends are survivalists; even beyond the City, it's a jungle out there.” — Vogue
“What comes after cosmos and toxic bachelors? Fuelled by chilled rosé, Sex and the City scribe Candace Bushnell is masterfully decoding a new era of single life.” — USA Today
“From Cosmos to rosé, her current beverage of choice, Bushnell may drink pink. But she knows how to write dark.” — Associated Press
“The book captures the buoyancy of the writer’s brand … As with the show, there’s a lot to relish. Bushnell’s portrayals of the women in her circle somehow feel both forgiving and clinical, with an anthropologist’s matter-of-factness … Bushnell wrestles smartly with the theme of aging, with how being a ‘fiftysomething’ woman is different from being a ‘thirtysomething’ woman … This Bushnell writes most gracefully about topics that are not sex and dating … The city is big, Bushnell implies, but not endless. The sex never left it. But was sex ever really the point?” — The New Yorker
“As she did in her bestselling Sex in the City, Bushnell examines her own and her friends’ experiences with dry wit, delivering sharp social observations about the trials and piquant pleasures of looking for love at a certain age.” — People Magazine
“While [Bushnell] doesn’t bring back Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, or Samantha, it feels a bit like we’re at brunch with middle-aged versions of those archetypes, and they’re still talking about love and sex because, well, of course. The book, part memoir, part fiction, is a guide to the Ides of Fifty … Much like in the original SATC, Bushnell and her friends experience every romantic possibility so we don’t have to … Bushnell also touches on poignant aspects of what she calls ‘middle-aged madness’: the death of a parent, the isolation of divorce, the ache of realizing that even the most gorgeous among us will eventually become invisible.” — Time Magazine
“Before Carrie Bradshaw was written into existence, there was a sexy blonde scribe pounding Manhattan’s pavement in search of love —or its lustiest approximation — armed with nothing but a Cosmo, a computer, and couture. We are of course talking about Candace Bushnell, the original Carrie, whose New York Observer column-turned-book Sex and the City became arguably one of the most era-defining television series in history. Over twenty years later, Candace’s new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? (also in development as a TV series) delivers a new set of hilarious and heartbreaking truths to its audience — this time about divorce and dating after fifty in a Tinder-hindered world. You won’t get Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha 2.0 in this version (sorry, diehards), but with Bushnell’s Botox-needle-sharp observations and an equally engaging crew of girlfriends, you’ll be too glued to your Kindle to care.” — Greenwich Magazine
“Sometimes it can be fun to wonder what became of our fictional heroines … what of Carrie Bradshaw? After she bagged her Mr. Big, did she list her $40,000 shoe collection on eBay, move to the suburbs, have a bunch of kids, and grow old gracefully? Or did Carrie find herself in her fifties child-free, single again, and wondering how to get back in the game, only to have her gynecologist recommend a Mona Lisa laser treatment because ‘your vagina is not flexible enough’? Ugh. Such are the humiliations awaiting the female in middle age. That you-gotta-laugh-or-you-cry place is where Candace Bushnell, with her usual sparkling candor, begins Is There Still Sex in the City?.” — New York Times
“Bushnell’s literary penchant for what keeps us intrigued never disappoints.” — Hamptons Magazine
“Bushnell’s voice is as knowing and sharp as ever … As with SATC’s ‘toxic bachelors’ and ‘modelizers,’ there’s a new taxonomy: ‘Cubbing,’ the pursuit of older women by younger men; or ‘MAM,’ for middle-aged madness, a late-onset midlife crisis for women. She also updates a chapter on ‘bicycle boys’ — then, the charmingly rumpled literary types on vintage bikes, now wealthy guys in Lycra.” — Washington Post
“It’s hard out there for a cougar. But for Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, it’s exactly the age when women need her the most. Her latest book addresses … women in their fifties and sixties who suddenly find themselves dating again. As with its predecessor, there is no shortage of catchphrase-worthy sentiments.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Bittersweet, amusing, and well observed.” — Guardian
“Sometimes funny, sometimes silly, sometimes quite sad — i.e., an accurate portrait of life in one’s fifties.” — Kirkus Reviews
“The effervescent Bushnell still has the ability to make readers laugh with her casually dry one-liners.” — Bookpage
“Bushnell’s voice is as knowing and sharp as ever.” — New Hampshire Union Leader
“Narrated in the smart, sassy voice that legions of fans came to love during the six-year run of the show in the late 1990s and early 2000s.” — Toronto.com
PRAISE FOR CANDACE BUSHNELL AND SEX AND THE CITY
“Bushnell [is] the modern flame carrier of an established literary tradition: that of American (usually New York) women writers depicting the rigid social and slackening sexual rules of a very particular American (and, again, usually New York) set through a mix of close personal knowledge and fiction. Edith Wharton, Dorothy Parker and Mary McCarthy can all be cited, in varying degrees, as Bushnell’s predecessors, with a bit of Elaine Dundy thrown in … Compared with the hugely popular television series, the book is tough, unapologetic, and jittery with anxiety … hilarious, hard-edged, delightful, harsh, elegant and fun.” — Guardian
“The book that sparked a cultural phenomenon.” — Oprah
“I did not move to New York because I watched Sex and the City. I moved to New York because I read it … [It is] dark and cynical and weird … Everyone is mean, and selfish, and complicated, and many of them are not rich, and most of them have wardrobes that go unmentioned … All are reported with Bushnell’s savvy reporter’s eye.” — Garage Vice
“Fascinating … Hilarious.” — Los Angeles Times
“Sly … Sharp.” — People
“A breath of fresh air…. A forceful display of the merits of the journalistic approach to sexual relations … a realism that rivals Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities.” — Wall Street Journal
PRAISE FOR CANDACE BUSHNELL AND THE CARRIE DIARIES
“If ever a book resounded with positive messages for young people, it’s this one.” — USA Today
“An enjoyable romp of a read.” — Entertainment Weekly
“An addictive, ingenious origin story.” — Los Angeles Times