Is There Still Sex in the City?by Candace Bushnell
From the pioneering, New York Times bestselling author who brought us Sex and the City comes a wry, witty, and wise look at sex, dating and friendship in New York City after fifty.
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 wilds 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? follows a cohort of female friends—Sassy, Kitty, Queenie, Tilda Tia, Marilyn, and Candace—as they navigate the ever-modernizing phenomena of midlife dating and relationships. There’s “Cubbing,” 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 divorcee. From the high highs (My New Boyfriend or MNBs) to the low lows (Middle Age Madness, or MAM cycles), Bushnell illustrates with humor and acuity today’s relationship landscape and the types that roam it.
Drawing from her own experience, in Is There Still Sex in the City? Bushnell spins a smart, lively satirical story of love and life from all angles—marriage and children, divorce and bereavement, as well as the very real pressures on women to maintain their youth and have it all. This is an indispensable companion to one of the most revolutionary dating books of the twentieth century from one of our most important social commentators.
A Best Book of the Summer at Us Weekly, Elle, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, and PopSugar
“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… [The book 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.”—Lauren Mechling, Vogue
“What comes after cosmos and toxic bachelors? Fueled by chilled rosé, Sex and the City scribe Candace Bushnell is masterfully decoding a new era of single life.”—USA Today
“From Cosmos to rose, 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, but it also has a… mellow quality… 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… This Bushnell has softer edges than the erstwhile Observer columnist… The city is big, Bushnell implies, but not endless. The sex never left it. But was sex ever really the point?”—Katy Waldman, New Yorker
“As she did in her bestselling Sex and 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
“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 50… 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.”—Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time
“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 50s 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?.”—Allison Pearson, New York Times
“For legions of fans still under Carrie Bradshaw’s spell, the release of Candace Bushnell’s latest novel is worthy of celebration. The catch: The posse of older—and seemingly wiser—heroines has moved forward unresolved about the ebb and flow of that thing called ‘sex and love’… this social commentator is less keen to judge and more inclined to explore difficult questions. The jury may be out on whether there is still sex in the city, but this much is true: 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.”—Jancee Dun, Washington Post
“Calling all Carrie Bradshaw fans: Bushnell returns two decades after Sex and the City with a new book about sex and dating after 50.”—Us Weekly, “Hot Reads”
“Is there still sex in the city? Obviously. But you don’t want any dummy telling you about it. Candace Bushnell only. The original!”—Elle, “Best Books to read this summer”
“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 50s and 60s who suddenly find themselves dating again. As with its predecessor [Sex and the City] there is no shortage of catchphrase-worthy sentiments.”—Entertainment Weekly, “Summer’s Hottest Reads”
“This book is not quite what it seems. And that turns out to be a pleasant surprise. It’s Candace Bushnell’s meditation on what happens when life takes a wrong turn for her and her group of girlfriends. It’s bittersweet, amusing and well observed. It starts out being about sex and dating but really it’s about disappointment, regret and self-acceptance… I found this side to Bushnell refreshing and compelling… This is a book about whether we can accept who we are when things don’t turn out how we wanted them to.”—Viv Groskop, Guardian (UK)
“Like its predecessor, it’s a dishy report on the friendships and sex lives of New Yorkers, now inescapably middle-aged.”—Newsday, “Best Summer Books”
“You know the title. You watched the show. Maybe you even saw the movies. Candace Bushnell is back doing what she knows best: chronicling the lives of women and how they find love. This time, she turns her lens on middle-aged men and women, and the result is pure magic. At turns wistful and sad, thoughtful and funny, Is There Still Sex In The City? is even better than the original.”—PopSugar, “Best New Books to Put in Your Beach Bag”
“A collection of commentaries and recounted hijinks (and lojinks)… Sometimes funny, sometimes silly, sometimes quite sad—i.e., an accurate portrait of life in one’s 50s.”—Kirkus Reviews
“The effervescent Bushnell still has the ability to make readers laugh with her casually dry one-liners.”—Bookpage
“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.”—The 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
“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
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.