Decades after Carrie Bradshaw, a young and hopeful writer for a NYC newspaper, and her girlfriends took on the challenges of sex and dating in the big city, author Candace Bushnell re-examines life in her new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? with a new group of female friends as they navigate the highs and lows of middle age today, along with the challenges of mating.
Twenty years ago, Candace Bushnell reshaped the landscape of pop culture, first as a reporter for the New York Observer and then with her book Sex and the City. It became a huge tv hit and spawned two movies, developing a loyal, female following. She published nine books in total, including The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to Sex and the City, and Lipstick Jungle, about successful business women friends and their lives with challenges, perks and sacrifices, both of which were popular tv shows.
Is There Still Sex in the City? is inspired by real happenings, based on Bushnell’s and her friends’ escapades with men, their female friendships and the ups and downs of midlife. A keen social observer, her stories are delivered with distinct style and humor.
I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing Candace Bushnell on the eve of the release of her latest book, Is There Still Sex in the City? at the Westport Library in Westport CT in front of a crowd of more than 300 people and we learned how her new book came about and some of her findings when researching middle age dating trends!
After her unexpected divorce, Candace left New York to take some time away and she retreated to CT where she had a house. When Tina Brown asked her to come back to the city and write about middle aged dating she refused, but soon after she received an email from a young woman reporter begging her to help. All of this young woman’s friends were on Tinder and they were unhappy – they needed Ms. Bushnell to jump in and find out what was going on. And so she did.
Back and forth between NYC and the Hamptons, Candace and her middle aged friends were the source of information on how things go over 50. Parents die, kids leave home, people get divorced, jobs are lost and opportunities for reinvention are created during the tumultuous time for women which Ms. Bushnell calls Middle Aged Madness.
She read a funny excerpt from the book about how she was peer pressured into going out on a date with a former Ivy League football star who said he was in his late 60s but turned out to be 75, closer to her dad’s age, and all he wanted was sex.
We talked about technology and its impact on dating today, and Candace referenced her book when saying how there is a whole group of young men in their 20s and 30s who are interested in dating women 30 plus years their senior – this trend is called Cubbing and it can happen to the most unsuspecting of middle aged women!
In her book, she says, “Society colludes to tell men they’re a little bit better than they actually are while it tells women they’re a little bit worse.” She agreed that the MeToo movement has allowed women to stand up for themselves more than before but believes men and women both feel the pressure to stay youthful. There are special surgeries and luxurious creams available to keep women looking and feeling young, but ultimately everyone has to make choices on what they want to invest in based on their own personal comfort level.
We talked about how in the 1990s working for The New York Observer, she was asked to investigate Jeffrey Epstein due to some suspicions about a private plane and models, but was warned by someone close to him to stay away and stop asking questions.
Around the same time Charlie Rose asked her which was more important to her, writing or a relationship and back then her answer was writing. Candace Bushnell’s priorities still stand, as she is passionate about her work and disciplined to accomplish her goals every day. She enjoys spending time with her current boyfriend but they maintain their own residences and alternate time together and time apart.
If you loved Sex and the City and the dating adventures of the iconic women friends in NYC, you will love Candace Bushnell’s new book that is a satirical tale based on her life after divorce and how she and her single, divorced and widowed friends tried to get back in the game in middle age.
Earlier this year the WSJ came out with an article about the new rules of middle age and Bushnell was quoted as saying “We are not going to do our 50s the way everyone is telling us we’re supposed to.” She believes after our reproductive years we are reinventing ourselves, starting new ventures and taking chances and learning new things more than ever before.
Recently the NYT published an article about Bushnell’s Sunday routine which included snuggling with and walking her standard poodles, surfing the internet, writing, exercising and eating. Maybe not what you expected from an ex-party girl, Candace admits to wearing the same pair of pants all the time and going out in NYC without makeup.
When asked which reality show is her favorite, she enthusiastically answered “Married at First Sight“. She believes it is beneficial to have therapists meeting with the couples to give them tips on relationships and coaching throughout the early weeks of marriage.
Filled with heartbreaking and humorous anecdotes revealing adventures and challenges, Bushnell tells it like it is, sex and dating over 50 in all its glory and ugliness… she introduces us to labels she developed to categorize types of men, like the Hot Drop, Bicycle Boy and the Spouse-Child. And of course there are the well preserved Super Middles (middle aged people that are like they were before, only better)… and then everyone else. It’s not easy looking for love and Candace Bushnell keeps up chuckling through disappointments as she and her friends face the challenges of new hopeful romantic relationships and the settling for status quo companionships. Do the vibrant and experienced women over 50 today have strong relationships and good sex in their future?
When asked if there is still sex in the city, Candace says Yes, but probably a lot less. And is the sex good? She says it’s probably the same as it was before – if you enjoyed sex when you were younger you would feel the same over 50.
Hooray for us loyal fans… the fascinating conversation about women and dating over 50 will be played out on the big screen in the future – Paramount Television has picked up the rights to turn this one into a show!
It was a joy to learn more about Candace Bushnell, her life, career and new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? Pick up a copy today for tips and insights about life, love and sex after 50, and enjoy some good laughs!
About the Author:
Candace Bushnell is the critically acclaimed, international best-selling author of Killing Monica, Sex and the City, Summer and the City, The Carrie Diaries, One Fifth Avenue, Lipstick Jungle, Trading Up, and Four Blondes. Sex and the City, published in 1996, was the basis for the HBO hit series and two subsequent blockbuster movies. Lipstick Jungle became a popular television series on NBC, as did The Carrie Diaries on the CW.