502. Unoriginal Sin
The worst thing about not being in a relationship, is when your job is to write about being in a relationship.
Remember that guy who wore sandals? Randall, the sandal guy we went on a couple of dates?
- Like, six years ago? - Yeah. Is that anything? - His name was Randall?
No, but I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here, ladies. Last week, I wrote about my search for the perfect French fry.
- I saw that. - It was cute.
- French fries. - You didn't read it, did you?
I don't always have time to read your column.
- Okay, then. Even my friends find me irrelevant. - I read it every week.
- You have a little man hanging from your breast. What else are you gonna do? - Eat.
I'm in a dating desert. They're gonna have to change the name of my column to just "... and the City." Or they'll just cancel it.
You're on the side of a bus for god’s sake.
Then why did my editor call? He never calls. I'm not getting laid. Therefore, I'm getting laid off.
You're not getting laid off.
I don't know if you read the rest of the paper, but these are troubled times. People with real jobs are getting laid off. This is not a good economy in which to be whipped cream. Last night, I actually started writing about my sock drawer. Men as socks.
"Socks and the City."
I think you and I need to go find some men.
There are no men. That's the problem.
There are men. You just have to know where to look for them. When are you free?
I'm not trolling for men just for something to write about. You people go have sex, report back.
I can help if you want to write about baby-proofing.
I'll tell you how to baby-proof. Use a condom.
What can I get you?
I'd like the veggie scramble and wheat toast.
I'll have an order of fries. Maybe I'll make it a two-parter.
I'd like the Denver omelet and hash browns. Thank you.
I'll have the fruit plate. And I'm back with Richard.
- Richard, whose death we've been plotting? - Maybe there are no men.
I finally agreed to listen to what he had to say.
I've never known anyone like you. I was in over my head. And then I got scared.
- He got scared? - That doesn't excuse the...
Okay, that coming from you is almost as disturbing as the news itself.
I get scared, I hide under the covers, not between somebody's legs.
Perhaps you had to be there.
Perhaps you'll have to be there around the clock to make sure he doesn't get scared again.
Being scared is not an easy thing for a man to admit.
So what? They get a medal for correctly identifying a feeling? We do that all day long. I feel pissed off.
D.N. R: Do not resuscitate.
I'm not an idiot. I understand, as a woman of the world that Richard is a very charismatic and successful man. And an interesting pussy might cross his path now and then. And he might fall...
- Into it?
And if he does, it's just sex. That might be a flaw in him. But you know what? Nobody's perfect. Some women can't even get their husbands to pick up the dry-cleaning.
- You're comparing not wanting to pick up the dry-cleaning with...Charlotte, do the thing. - No.
Look, I know he loves me. I believe he's sorry, and I believe he'll try his best.
Then that's your choice, and we should all respect it. Now, how about this for a column? "Desperate Women Who Will Believe Anything."
The next day, two parents covered outlets to prevent their baby from getting shocked.
I was thinking...maybe we wanna get Brady baptized.
For grownups, there is no such safeguard.
Neither of us even goes to church.
I know that, but it's tradition. I was baptized, my father, my father's father. Everybody in my family gets baptized. It would really mean a lot to my ma.
You never even had a mother when we were going out. This is the first I've heard of her. You're just trotting her out to make a case for religion.
It's not about religion. It's not about God. It's just something you do in case... so the baby don't end up in limbo.
- You don't even know what that means. - I do so.
So, what is it?
It's a place where babies fly around without bodies...just wings under their neck.
That sounds like something we should worry about.
Brady isn't even crawling yet, and you've got us baby-proofing every inch here. But you won't let someone put water on his head so he won't go to hell?
Miranda didn't believe in hell, except the hell she was in right now.
This is why I was worried about having you involved. Why should I go through a stupid ceremony just to make your ma happy?
It's nice. Everybody sees the baby. You have cake. Some people give you money. What's wrong with Brady having a party?
I don't believe in it.
If you don't believe, it's just water on the kid's head.
Downtown, Samantha's faith was faltering.
- My friends don't believe you. - Am I dating your friends?
With your track record, I wouldn't put it past you.
- What exactly seems to be their problem? - This... is their problem.
- We talked about that. - Yeah, but Miranda thinks it's bullshit. What's to stop you from getting scared every time a hot woman walks by? She wanted to know.
I don't give a shit what your friends think. I love you. And I've got something for you. Unless Miranda wouldn't approve.
Now it was Samantha's turn to be scared.
Don't worry, it's not for that finger. It's for this one. So, when you flip me off, I'll have something shiny to look at.
There it was. A canary diamond I'Il-try-not-to-cheat- and-eat-when-I'm-scared ring.
Samantha wasn't sure if she was in heaven... or limbo.
Meanwhile, I was clearly in hell.
That afternoon, Charlotte and I went trolling for men.
He's kind of cute.
We were playing One-One Hundred. It's like a road-trip game for urban singles. You watch the men come in your direction and you see how many out of 100 you'd sleep with.
- Okay, yes. Eight out of forty-six. Where are you? - Zero, thirty-two.
Zero? What about the guy with the dog?
I don't like dachshunds for men. Can't handle a real dog, can't handle a real woman.
He was gorgeous.
That's another thing. Men who are too good-looking are never good in bed, because they never had to be. Zero, thirty-five.
- None of them? - They were gay.
It's imaginary. There must be someone in Gramercy Park that you'd have imaginary sex with. You're being too picky.
- You're an imaginary whore. - I am not.
You have slept with eight men, and we have only had appetizers.
You should come with me next week to Dr. Cheryl Grayson's seminar. I've been before, and it's really inspiring. And there's time for questions and answers. Plus she has a new haircut, and I hear it's very cute.
Why would I go to that?
- Because you're becoming cynical. - That's why I wouldn't go. It's kind of a Catch-22, isn't it?
- You might get a column out of it. - Sign me up.
I think you'll really enjoy it. Her philosophy of written affirmations has helped me let go of negative thoughts. Not this guy. No, he's balding. He's got a big head.
So, you still have some negative thoughts.
Oh, my God, he's coming over here. Don't look up.
- Aren't you Carrie Bradshaw from the New York Star? - Gabe, hey.
- You two know each other? - This is my editor.
- This is Gabe Manning. - Hi, I'm Charlotte.
Hi. I'm glad I ran into you, since you don't return your calls anymore.
I know. But I am just now researching my next column. And I think it's going to be super fun and sexy. See, we sit here and we pick how many men out of 100 we would want to sleep with.
No one's asking you to fuck every guy in town. We're only a weekly paper.
We don't actually sleep...
That’s the reason why I've been trying to get in touch with you because an editor from Clearwater Press called. They're interested in turning your columns into a book.
I'm having a Cosmopolitan with the woman who wrote about Cosmopolitans. Now, if only I could find a man...
Trouble finding a man. Ever considered writing about that?
That's a great idea. Let me get a pen.
The next night, I met with publishing powerhouses, Lily Martin and Courtney Masterson.
Seriously, Carrie, this is such a thrill. All of us at Clearwater Press read your column religiously.
God, I don't even do that.
I even have the one on "Ten Men to Avoid" on my refrigerator.
But not in that icky, Cathy comic kind of a way.
- God, no. I hate that shit. - Me, too. Anyway, I predict this book will be huge. - Huge.
'Cause many single women are desperate for something like this.
And you're looking at two of them. One, two.
The good news is you have an inventory of columns to choose from.
Some we don't have to include. Like that last one on French fries. That didn't make the fridge, did it?
We want to fast-track it, and get it on the shelves by Christmas... slash, the Jewish Hanukkah.
You can pick and choose the columns, about 25 or 30, then write an introduction and a dedication to clarify the tone of the book.
- So, you mean...What do you mean? - You know, what's the message?
Just... here are my favorite columns.
Yes, but also, is it hopeful?
Is Carrie Bradshaw an optimist or a pessimist?
What's your point of view? You know, after all the breakups and the disappointments, and the train wrecks, you still believe he's out there, right?
- Or should we just shoot ourselves now? - No. Yes. Hopeful.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what I believed. But my cynical side suspected optimism would sell more books.
My best friend is going to be a published author. It's so fabulous. It even makes me more fabulous.
I don't know. I think I enjoy being slightly under the radar. I take comfort in the fact that many people, present company included don't ever see my column.
I'm waiting till it's coming out in hardback. I hope it's big and glossy.
Like my mistakes. Is this really something you encourage?
Do it. Newspaper is out. It's all about books. Everyone who's anyone has a book.
I'm not sure what you just said because I was temporarily blinded by a piece of jewelry. Let me see that.
It's from Richard. I think it's his way of saying, "I'm sorry."
Wow! What do you get if it happens again, the Hope diamond?
That's what this is. I-hope-that-fucker- doesn't-break-my-heart-again diamond.
Evidently, we were both turning our pain into gold.
That night, I started to think about belief. Maybe it's not even advisable to be an optimist after the age of 30. Maybe pessimism is something we have to start applying daily... like moisturizer. Otherwise, how do you bounce back when reality batters your belief system and love does not, as promised, conquer all? Is hope a drug we need to go off of, or is it keeping us alive? What's the harm in believing?
Repeat your affirmations daily if you want to let love into your life. Open yourself. Breathe in the possibility of love. What is not love is fear. It's time to let go of your fears and embrace your dreams.
Miranda still wasn't a believer. But her faith was renewed when she found a church that seemed to suit her. And a suit that seemed to fit her.
- I'm waiting in the rain. - I know. You said 10:45.
It's my fault. I'm sorry. He's not with her.
I know. I told you she'd probably leave him with the baby nurse. This is my ma. Ma, Miranda.
Hi, Mrs. Brady. So nice to meet you.
No, Mary, please. You're so fancy. I wanted to wear my nice dress, but the dry cleaner's doesn't open until 10:00. I was hoping that you'd bring little Brady, since I haven't seen him yet. You know, Stevie gave me a picture. I've been carrying it around in my wallet. It's a little creased. I should have put it in a frame. I Xeroxed it at the phone company, and everyone in my division said he looks like me. So, I'll see him at the ceremony. I'm just grateful to be included. Especially since I know you aren't Catholic and you didn't want to have a christening. But the idea of this little baby burning in Hell...
All right. I'm just saying, my oldest son, Jackie, had a baby who died. Two weeks old. We're still reeling. His wife is black. She's not very friendly. Thinks I have a problem with her. But I don't. I don't. Listen. Maybe the priest doesn't need to know you aren't getting married.
- We're not lying to the priest, Ma. - Now you're religious.
- The Hobbes party? - We spoke on the phone.
- I'm Father Andrew. Come on inside. - Sorry we're late.
Hello, Father. I'm Mary Brady. I go to Saint Agnes in Queens. They're not getting married.
- Is she drunk? - No, just a couple of beers.
I don't want the baby referred to as Catholic. No original sin. No renouncing of Satan.
It's not that she's a fan of Satan, it's just that she doesn't want to talk about him.
In fact, no mention of Satan, the Devil...
Miranda was surprised the priest was so flexible. But the truth is, in these troubled times, the Catholic Church is like a desperate 36-year-old single woman, willing to settle for anything it can get.
This is not what I had in mind when you asked if I wanted to go dress shopping.
Believe me, I'm less thrilled than you. He has to get baptized and wear a dress.
Baby's first drag show. It's a very odd tradition.
Don't even get me started. It's all about cleansing this little baby of his sins, when clearly babies come into the world with a clean slate and we're the ones that fuck them up.
So, you're a pessimist, right?
Have we met?
It's for my book. I have to figure out if I'm an optimist or a pessimist. And I don't know anymore. I don't know what I believe.
- Neither do I, and I'm having a baptism. - So, how do you rationalize that?
One less bath I have to give him. Mostly, I'm doing it for Steve. He's been pretty good to me. Known him for three years, and I didn't meet his mother till yesterday.
- What's she like? - Imagine Steve in a wig, drunk.
- Yikes. - Yeah.
So, listen. How would you feel about being Brady's godmother?
Really? What would I need to do?
Officially, you provide the baby with spiritual guidance. Unofficially, you stand with me so I have somebody to roll my eyes at. What do you say?
- I don't know. Spiritual guidance? - And there's cake from some bakery in Queens.
The really sugary kind, with the thick white icing?
- Maybe even a buttercream cross on top. - Now you're talking. Spirituality and cake.
That night, Charlotte dragged me to the Fountain of Belief. It was mostly women. Apparently, women are the main market for hope.
Welcome. Would you like to take an affirmation?
Saying no would get us off on the wrong foot... it being an affirmation and all.
- Thanks. - Enjoy.
"I believe in the good in people." That's nice. What does yours say?
"I believe this is hooey."
- Are you going to make fun of everything? - No, I'm not that quick.
- What did you do today? - The usual. Helped pick a christening gown for my friend's illegitimate baby.
- I'm so happy she decided to do a baptism. - She asked me to be the godmother.
- What? - It's not a big deal.
It is a big deal. It's a huge responsibility. I know people whose friendships have ended because someone was a disappointing godparent.
Why are you so... Did you want to be the godmother?
No. I just think it wouldn't kill you to acknowledge that some things are sacred.
- I do acknowledge... - We're not talking.
- We're not? - No.
Are we talking yet? Okay, let me know when we're talking. I believe this is going to be a very long evening. I believe we are the only normal people here. I believe in the good in Charlotte who dragged me here against my will when I wanted to stay home and just be negative.
What does the gown look like?
Table for two.
I know you're trying to make me feel bad, but I gotta tell you, that turns me on.
Right this way.
Are we okay?
We're fine. I almost forgot. You're going to Miranda's baptism with me Sunday.
It'll be all day. It'll be boring. It'll be mandatory.
- What time? - 2:00.
- Are you going to do the thing again? - No. Are you? - Samantha, I love you.
Although he appeared to have reformed, Samantha wasn't ready to forgive his sin.
Love will come to you only when you truly believe you deserve it.
Meanwhile, an hour and 20 affirmations later...
Love will raise you up. Fear will pull you under. Only love is real.
Yes. Go on, stand right up.
Yes. I just wanted to thank you, Cheryl, because the affirmations have really worked for me. I prayed for love, I believed in love, and last week, I fell in love. And he's perfect and kind and giving, and I now know that I deserve that. So, thank you.
Thank yourself. You did it. Isn't that inspiring? Anyone else? Did you want to say something?
Yes. Hi. I was wondering... I'm wondering how long that woman was doing her affirmations because I've been doing mine every day, and I want to believe, but nothing is happening. I just don't think it's working. I just don't think it will work for me.
I hear fear. I hear doubt. You have to believe love to receive love. Keep repeating your affirmations, eventually your heart will catch up with your head.
That's the thing, though. I did find love. I believed that there was someone out there for me, and I met him, finally. And we had a beautiful wedding. And then everything just fell apart. And I'm worried. I'm afraid that he took away my ability to believe. I hate him for that, because I always believed before... and now I just feel lost. I'm trying to put myself out there, but I feel hopeless.
Perhaps you're not really putting yourself out there.
No, she's out there.
I mean, emotionally and physically. Maybe you're not looking for love in a real way. Maybe you're not really trying. Maybe you're not really out there.
Believe me, she's out there.
Sunday afternoon, we all gathered for a baptism in the little church that would.
You, with the flower-thing. Steve tells me that you're the godmother. I'm the godfather. Steve's second cousin, Patrick. It'd make a good story. Little Brady brought us together.
Someone who isn't related to Steve. No offense, Patrick.
None taken. I'll check you later, gator.
That's a nice dress.
I didn't want Brady to show me up. By the way, I think your baby's godfather baptized himself with some bad cologne.
Brady's grandmother invited the folks from Molly Maguires.
I know you've got your hands full with the drunk and the skunk, but I have to tell you something.
- I'm too fat to be wearing this, aren't I? - No. You look beautiful. No, it's me. Are you sure that I am godmother material? Shouldn't you maybe pick someone a bit more maternal?
No, I like that you're not.
Here's the thing. This is such an awesome responsibility. I don't know my own view of the future.
I think I'm possibly one bad date away from bitter. Don't you think that I'm getting a little cynical?
Not compared to me. Carrie, you're my best friend.
Just so you know, Charlotte's dying for the job and I think she'd probably be better at it.
I don't know if I believe in any of this. But I believe in you. I want you to be my baby's godmother.
I did spring for the hat.
- Who presents this child to receive the sacrament of baptism? - We do.
"Give him an enquiring and discerning heart. The courage to will and to persevere. A spirit to love, and the gift of joy and wonder. In the Lord's name, we pray."
Lord, hear our prayer.
"In baptism, we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament. Through it, you led the children of Israel out of their bondage. Through it, we are reborn."
There isn't enough holy water in the world to cleanse you.
Brady, I baptize you in the name of the Father...and of the Son... and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I couldn't help but hope the water would wash away some of my original cynicism.
Isn't this the most beautiful goddamn Catholic you've ever seen? Sorry, Father. But he's a cute fucking kid.
- Honey, congratulations. - I didn't do anything.
- You got me to a church. - Beautiful baby. - Thank you.
- And just for the record, I did get scared. - Okay, whatever. Thanks for coming.
- He's such a player. - I don't know. Maybe things will work out between them.
That night, I dedicated my baby, my book, to hopeful single women everywhere... and one in particular: My good friend, Charlotte, the eternal optimist, who always believes in love.