Why I Hate Mr. Big
Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of Sex and the City on E!. I’m a latecomer to SATC; my dad was way too cheap when I was younger to even consider paying for HBO. It wasn’t until I lived on my own that I developed a fondness for the show. Hell, I’ve even shelled out good money for the mediocre (at best) movies. But, I have a bone to pick. It’s been eating away at me for years, and it’s about time I said my piece.
I hate Mr. Big. Okay, let me be fair. I have a healthy distaste for Mr. Big. What I hate is Mr. Big and Carrie together. He might be a fine enough person, but he was terrible for the leading lady of SATC. And considering that many women have turned to this show as their essential guide to dating in your 20s, 30s and 40s, I feel that I must address why Mr. Big is terrible for Carrie. Please don’t judge the amount of thought I’ve put into this list (clearly I have too much time on my hands):
- Bad influence. Ever notice how the worst qualities in Carrie came out when she was with Mr. Big? He didn’t bring out the best in her; he brought out the worst. When Carrie was with Mr. Big, she put herself last, droned on and on about her problems with him at the expense of being there for her friends, smoked, and was needy and self-destructive.
- Once a cheater, always a cheater. Mr. Big cheated on Natasha with Carrie. I will say it again: Once a cheater, always a cheater. It’s likely he’ll cheat on Carrie as well.
- Wants what he can’t have. Mr. Big only wants Carrie when he can’t have her. The minute she moves on, the minute she finds someone else, he swoops in and finds a way to ruin everything. He only wants what he can’t have – because the minute he has her, he does something to screw it up.
- Commitmentphobe. I’m thinking mostly of the show here, but the main problem between Carrie and Mr. Big was that he couldn’t commit to her and love only her. It took him years and years, and breaking Carrie’s heart multiple times, in order to finally decide he wanted only her.
- Not that cute. Oh yeah, I said it. Mr. Big was simply not that cute. And, he was older than Carrie and a heavy-duty smoker. He wasn’t going to age well, I’m just saying.
- Two failed marriages. By the time that Carrie and Mr. Big finally got together for good, he had two failed marriages. Red flag anyone?
- Stood her up on her wedding day. Frankly, I don’t care how big of a deal Carrie made the wedding or how nervous he was with the situation. He should have spoken up. This is the girl that he had been courting for years, and supposedly was “the one.” Man up and walk down the aisle.
- Lazy in getting her back. After standing her up on her wedding day, he didn’t do hardly a thing to get her back. Did he send flowers? No. Did he drive by her house and beg her to talk with him? Nope. Did he write her a letter about how deeply sorry he was and she was his whole world? Ummm no. Did he approach one of her friends and try to get a message to Carrie that he loved her and wanted her back? Sadly, no again. What did he do? He sent a bunch of e-mails to her. Sure, they were love letters, but they weren’t even written by him. Are you kidding me? You stand a girl up on her wedding day, humiliate her and break her heart into a million little pieces, and a couple of e-mails is the trick to getting her back?
- People don’t change.
Okay, so that’s the real reason Mr. Big is terrible for Carrie. I am a firm believer that people do not change. And before you begin to tell me about your friend’s brother’s roommate’s uncle who was once a terrible, cheating bastard who sucked the people in his life dry, found some version of God and is now the best person ever, works at a soup kitchen in his free time, is the best husband ever, best father ever and is a whole different person you wouldn’t even recognize him … just stop. I believe that these stories, for the most part, are myths. These are the stories that we tell one another so that we give people a second chance.
It’s easy to give someone a second chance. It seems hard, but it really is much easier than the alternative. Just giving up on someone, accepting them for what they are (and what they are not) is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do. It’s much easier to believe in the fairytale that this person might somehow change, like your friend’s brother’s roommate’s uncle. (And seriously, why have I never heard one of these transformational stories about someone’s brother, best friend, mother or husband? Why is it like playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to find someone who has changed?)
It’s kind of like the theory in “He’s Just Not That Into You.” When a guy treats you like crap, don’t believe the stories of someone else’s boyfriend who treated her like crap but then suddenly changed and now they are living happily ever after. They are the exception. The rule is: People do not change. Take them or leave them. But do not try to change them. And do not lie to yourself and say they have changed when they simply have not.
What irks me the most about the Carrie/Mr. Big dynamic is that the message SATC sends women everywhere is that after years and years of Carrie dealing with Mr. Big’s crappy behavior, he finally changed. He finally became the man she wanted and needed. See, persistence pays off. Waiting for a crappy guy to finally get on his white horse pays off. Accepting sub par treatment from a man pays off in the long run.
It doesn’t. This hardly ever works. If the Carrie and Mr. Big love story were real life, we’d see that she will be hurt. Again and again. He’s never going to be the man she needs.
I’m self-aware enough to know I’m projecting a little here. And over generalizing, maybe just a smidge. A couple of weeks after my ex fiancé and I broke up, I recall someone asking me, “Do you think he’s changed?” In that moment, my “people don’t change” theory was born. So, I apologize if my tone is a little alienating – I’m working through some stuff here.
Before you think I’m a complete pessimist, I should concede that I think it’s possible that people can change. But this kind of change hardly ever happens. The average person will not see a truly changed person in their lifetime. I think that something huge has to happen to inspire change in someone. It needs to be something that alters the fabric of their life so deeply that they completely reevaluate everything. Sadly, I think that some people really believe that they’ve gone through this kind of transformation, only to realize months or even years later that they are back to where they started. It just doesn’t stick.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this – do you believe people change? Any Mr. Big fans out there that can tell me why I should give him another shot? Have you ever witnessed real, transformative change first-hand?