Book Review: 'Is There Still Sex in the City?' by Candace Bushnell

Dance club or intimate restaurant?

He picks you up, or you meet him there? Fine dining, quiet walks, an adventure outing, or all of the above? Ach, since the last time you tried having a relationship, everything’s changed but nothing has. On second thought, as in the new book “Is There Still Sex in the City” by Candace Bushnell, maybe you’ll just stay home tonight.

Though, famously, Candace Bushnell loved New York very much, her ardor began to cool after the deaths of her dog, her mother, and her marriage in quick succession. As she scrambled to keep from losing her apartment, too, she realized that it was time to move on, literally, so she found a farmhouse on the edge of the Hamptons and settled in with two poodles, to enjoy middle-age.

She was not – absolutely not – ready to date again.

Neither were nearby friends Sassy, Queenie, Marilyn, Kitty, or Tilda Tia, although the occasional one-and-done wasn’t completely off the table. No, they’d gotten divorced, gamed, had their hearts fractured, and they eyed relationships with near-total suspicion. It was painfully obvious that dating at almost-60 would be far, far different than it was at almost-25 – and men were different, too.

Bushnell tried biking with Tilda Tia because it seemed like a good way to meet men, but strawberry vodkas were better on a hot day. She tried Tinder, and learned that while it was addicting and perhaps even confidence-boosting, even men knew that men only wanted one thing from it. She took a long look at “cubbing” (dating much younger men) and other ways to prepare to dive into the dating pool again, and she went through her very own MAM (middle-aged madness), as she says most women do. She dated much older men before deciding that it wasn’t her ideal situation.

And then! Bushnell got her own MNB (my new boyfriend) and it was good. He was not a creep or a SAP (senior-age player). Happily, he showed her that sex wasn’t the only thing found in the city or outside it…

The break-up left you stunned, but now you’re healed, ready, and you’re putting on a good date-face. Maybe.

Maybe you should start with “Is There Still Sex in the City?”

In a half cautionary tale, part Girlfriends Manifesto, and part reportage from what may forever be a battle of the sexes, author Candace Bushnell offers advice to women in the middle of middle age and those suddenly single again. Yes, it’s funny and yes, there are tales in this book that will make you shake your head but the best takeaway is the back-patting feel of camaraderie. Second-best: there are happy endings.

Third-best: not everyone gets one, even the second time around.

“Is There Still Sex in the City?” answers its own question with an emphatic YES! and that could be the right balm for any woman, but particularly for those over 50. If that’s you and you can handle the occasional profanity, this is a book you won’t mind taking out.

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