504. Cover Girl
It is said that it takes a lifetime to figure out who you are.
This book cover is so you.
People in publishing move a tad faster.
It's just a mock-up and don't be thrown. We put your head on another person's body.
Okay, here it is: The cover of Sex and the City.
The best-selling Sex and the City.
No! I'm sorry. That just came out.
Not at all, that's good. You had a strong reaction. That's what we want.
We don't want people's reaction to be "no."
Right. Let me talk you through it. Blurred background, a fast-paced city and you naked, with nothing but your ideas.
No, I get it. But, see, no matter how fast-paced the city, I always manage to get my clothes on before I leave the apartment. See, Courtney, here's what concerns me. That cover is all about sex.
Well, sex sells.
Yes. But my columns are about relationships and when I do write about sex, it's just words. Reading about sex is a lot different than seeing it in front of you, naked on Sixth Avenue, hailing a cab.
- I totally understand, Carrie. - Okay.
No, okay, let me see it again. No, absolutely not. I would sooner die.
The next day, our talk turned from bachelors, baby bottles and Balenciaga blouses to books.
Bad, worse, loser, disaster. And you know the scary thing? I'm being kind.
Honey, relax. What could anyone say about you? You're fabulous.
That's sweet. But if I get the wrong book cover, I'm a fabulous target. People are mean.
People are not that mean. She looks like shit. Is her stylist blind?
I have just officially entered panic.
Stop. Talk to me. This is what I do. How do you see yourself on the cover?
You know, like a writer who somehow happened to have wound up on her book cover, Iooking smart, sexy, and properly airbrushed.
I can help you with that. I'll talk to the publishers. When's the photo shoot?
It's next Thursday, but I can't afford you.
True, my PR services are pricey. It'll cost you two martinis and a lunch.
Okay, I'll talk to my people.
What kind of diet book are you looking for?
I don't know. Something with a title like: How To Lose That Baby Fat by Sitting On Your Ass.
- How about The Zone? - How about "no."
Thought you were serious about this.
I am. Just as soon as I finish this nougat-caramel pretzel-devil thing.
Okay. I'm going to go look for this book I read about.
- What's it called? - Starting Over, Yet Again. See you.
There it was: The Self Hell aisle.
As Charlotte looked at the titles: The Woman's Comfort Book, The Path to Love, Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting, Please Understand Me II, she couldn't bear the thought that she belonged there.
- That really helped me. - Travel?
That's adorable. This is psychotic. It's none of my business, but don't do that. I did. I lost 24, gained 46.
But The New York Times...
Will New York Times come to you at 2:00 a.m. and pry the cookie dough from your hands? I don't think so. Weight Watchers. It's the only sane way to go. They even have dessert.
Where's Starting Over, Yet Again?
- Here you go. Good luck with Weight Watchers. - Thank you.
- Did you find your book? - No, it wasn't for me.
- Yeah, like I need his advice. - I'm a dead woman.
Who needs the Self Help aisle when you can self help yourself to amazon.com and get exactly what you need, overnight express, and shame free?
- That's quite a package. - Excuse me?
- That's quite a package. - Will you sign right here, please?
- There. How's that? - Pretty damn good.
I just got my nails done. Would you mind opening my package? Thank you. Now maybe I can help you with your package.
At exactly 12:15, I stopped by to pick up Samantha for our business lunch to decide what we thought was sexy.
- Do you want to keep going? - No, I've had enough.
Some women, like Samantha, know when to stop putting things in their mouths, while others, like Miranda, need a little help.
I'm much lighter metric.
- Excuse me. Hi. - Hi.
- There's been a mistake on my weight. - No, the scales don't lie.
This isn't a vanity thing. The other woman inverted the numbers. Look, if I'm gonna do this, I want to do it right.
- You've got the right attitude. Come on. Hi, I'm sorry. Can I scootch in a minute? - Sure.
- Thanks. Yeah! Elaine, you wrote down this woman weighs 158.2, but she weighs 152.8. - Sorry.
- Could you not yell out my weight? - I weigh 240. Goal weight 77.
- Here you go, and here's a name tag. - A name tag?
- Yeah, we all gotta wear these. Tom, Big Boned. - Miranda, Baby Weight.
Later that same day, Stanford came over for a fag and some flipping.
Finish that and get over here and start on Vogue. Tear out any outfit that might work for me. Try to pick something that won't be pathetic if I wind up in the half-off bin. You look very... Something.
I am very something.
- What's going on over there, Ms. Blatch? - I met someone.
- Oh, my God. Really? That's fantastic. - His name is Marcus.
- And is he a Roman? - No, he is not.
Too bad. I always adore a metal breastplate on a man. So, what does this Marcus do?
Okay, before I tell you, you have to promise not to judge.
- Do I judge? - We all judge. That's our hobby. Some people do arts and crafts. We judge.
- I'll be kind. - He's a dancer. Radio City Music Hall.
I feel as though my hands are tied.
He's a Broadway-caliber dancer working in the male chorus. Last Christmas, he danced the part of Arabian Coffee in The Nutcracker.
- And where did you meet your Rockette? - Standing in line at Starbucks.
You met a man who played Coffee waiting to get coffee?
We're both Grande House Blends.
What is that, a new zodiac sign? Hello?
How funny was that thing in my office today?
It was hilarious. I'm sending you the X-ray bill for my elbow.
- Could you have gotten out of there any faster? - No.
- Lighten up. - I am lightened up.
Good news. I got my favorite stylist to do us a favor and pull some looks for the cover.
Did you tell them what we're looking for?
Sexy chic, just like you said.
When are you meeting them? Maybe I should join you as well.
- Don't worry, I'll handle it. - But I have some ideas.
- You still want me to do this, right? - Yeah, why wouldn't I?
Fantastic. They can pull some stuff and we can go look at it. How's Saturday?
It's great, and I'll ask Stanford to come.
Is Stanford suddenly a stylist?
No, but he's gay and bitchy. My target test audience. You okay?
- I'm fabulous. We'll talk tomorrow. - Okay.
- Ask Stanford to come where? - Look at some outfits for the cover. Saturday.
I'll have to check with Marcus. We may have plans.
Oh, God. You're not going to turn into one of those couples, are you?
Judgey-wudgey was a bear.
I think it's pretty much agreed that it goes: Open minded: Good. Judgmental: Bad. But are we being too quick to judge judgment? Perhaps judgment is not so much a snap decision as an early warning and detection device. If it is instantly clear that a person, a place, or even a profession is not for you, is it better to ignore your better judgment and read between the lines, or should you judge a book by its cover?
You've got mail.
"Based on your recent book purchase here's a list you might be interested in."
The selected list included: Lonely Women No Men, Love Hurts, You Don't Have to, I'm Fine Now, and Reservations for One.
Charlotte refused to see herself as one of those type women.
It fell eight flights and landed at the feet of a woman walking by who was contemplating a divorce. She considered it a sign from God.
After three Weight Watchers meetings where they did nothing but talk about eating, Miranda Baby Weight and Tom Big Boned decided to go someplace and actually eat.
So then I did the one where you can only have the water, eggs, and grapefruit.
'Cause they're so good together.
Yes. Actually worked out well for me until I fainted on an Indian woman in the subway.
What about the one with all the prepackaged chemicalized food?
I don't know how they get all of those delicious artificial ingredients into such little tiny packages.
I know. Although, they did have this itty-bitty thing of tuna that I loved. I cut my tongue licking it out of the can, and knew it was time to stop.
- Did you ever try the cabbage soup diet? - No. I heard it gives you really bad...
- Gas? Yeah, it's true. That was the end of my fiance. - She sounds mean.
I think there was more to it than cabbage. We weren't very good together. She was very critical. The more she put me down, the more I ate. And to this day, whenever somebody criticizes me, I go right for those.
Glazed. They're my favorite.
Tell me about it. The best Weight Watchers meeting is down on 23rd Street. Can't go anywhere near it 'cause there's a Krispy Kreme next door.
How many Weight Watchers points do you think is in one of those?
Two hundred thousand?
Would it be terrible if we split one?
We're consenting adults. Sir, can I get a Krispy Kreme and a knife?
Here you go.
Whoever invented glaze is a genius. See, that is worth being fat for. I'm sorry, it's just worth it.
- I know how we can burn this off. - Really? - Activity points.
Weight Watchers turned out to be a lot more enjoyable than Miranda had expected.
- No! - Yes. I was all over his face.
- No! - Yes!
- Talk about loving yourself. - I'd rather just be good friends with myself.
- You know, when I was a lesbian... - I saw that coming.
...I could get in and out with nothing more than a fine lip gloss.
You're awfully quiet.
What is there to say? The man simply has bad manners. Keep a box of tissues on the nightstand. While he's stroking you with one hand, he grabs a tissue and subtly dabs his face.
Emily Post's polite pussy. So why didn't you just say something?
It's a little hard to criticize if you're with someone who overeats when he's criticized.
Miranda went out with an overeater, and he overate her.
Then, when he popped his head up he had such a proud look on his face.
They always look so proud, like they just came back from war.
And they all want that you're-my-hero kiss.
Not without a tissue and an Altoid.
It's a weird double standard, I guess. I'd be insulted if I'd just gone down on a guy and he wouldn't kiss me. Samantha, do you kiss after a blowjob?
No, she just signs the delivery slip and sends him on his way.
What's going on?
Apparently, Carrie has a problem with the fact that she saw me blowing the Worldwide Express guy.
I would like to point out that was her, not me, and when did I say I had a problem?
Please. You walked in, caught us, turned and ran.
What was I supposed to do? Sit and flip through Marie Claire?
Where did you see her blowing the Worldwide Express guy? On the street?
Of course not! It was in the privacy of my office. And it wasn't a Worldwide Express guy. It was my Worldwide Express guy.
- Your Worldwide Express guy? - Yes.
- Really? What's his name? - Joe, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Samantha, what's the big deal? We laugh about this kind of stuff all the time.
Fine. It's fine. We better go, Carrie. We'll be late for the stylist.
- Naughty, fabulous, camp. Harlow. - No.
I think it's a fantastic approach, and the publishers love the idea.
They wanted me buck-naked, waiting for the M11 bus. I thought we said "sexy chic." Who is this stylist? Frederick's of Hollywood?
Just go behind and at least try one on.
I can't wear this. I'll look like an extra from Moulin Rouge.
- You will not. The shoes are lined up in there. Scoot. - Don't say "scoot."
Knock, knock. Nothing in here I haven't seen and ruled out in junior high. Hi.
- Hello, doll. Carrie's changing. - Samantha, this is my boyfriend, Marcus.
- Papa's got himself a brand-new bag. - Carrie, come on out. I wanna introduce you.
Marcus Adante, Lady Marmalade.
Hi, it's nice to meet you. I don't usually dress like a high-class hooker.
That is not a hooker look.
Please! This screams hooker. What respectable New York woman would be caught dead wearing this?
I have one in red. Am I a hooker?
Could you guys wait outside for a second? We're having some trouble deciding on my outfit.
- No, let's get a second, and I might add, gay opinion. Doesn't she look adorable in that? - Yes.
- Stanford, isn't this the worst possible outfit for my cover? - Yes.
- What about you? What do you think of this? - It's not very modern.
Isn't he great? He's great. Can you wait outside for a second?
- What do you think? - Yeah, great.
Samantha, I really appreciate the help, but you and I have very different ideas about what's sexy.
- This is about the blowjob, isn't it? - What?
One little blowjob, and I'm a hooker with no taste.
This isn't about the blowjob. It's about the book cover. I don't feel comfortable being on a shelf next to a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt with my breasts hanging out.
What is the problem? I've seen you at cocktail parties wearing not much else.
Not lately, you haven't. And you know why? 'Cause it's time for ladies my age to cover it up. We can't get away with the same stuff we used to.
Jesus, again with the blowjobs! What is your problem?
I don't have a problem. You have a problem.
I have marabou-covered breasts. That is my only problem.
I'm not blind. I saw that look in your eye in my office.
- What look? - That judgmental look.
That wasn't judgment. It was shock. I thought we were having lunch.
Are you telling me you have no judgment about me and the Worldwide Express guy?
No judgment. But I do have a question. Will this relationship be priority-overnight or next-day delivery? Come on, Samantha. Lighten up, remember?
If I walked in on you giving a blowjob to a Worldwide Express guy...
You would never walk in on me, because that is something I would never do.
There! And I cannot believe that you would judge me after everything that we've been through.
Samantha, where are you going?
I'm gonna splash some water on my face, and then I'm going home. And I will not be judged by you or society. I will wear whatever, and blow whomever I want as long as I can breathe and kneel.
That night, Miranda had gone from facing her weight at Weight Watchers to waiting for her Weight Watcher's face.
- Give me those gorgeous lips. - Stop! No, I can't do that.
Why? What did I do?
It's not you. It's me. Literally me. I'm all over your face. I'm all over.
- Doesn't that happen to other guys? - Yes, but not so much.
So what are you saying? I'm a big, fat, sloppy eater?
No! I'm just worried that I might be too many food points.
- You're making jokes? - That's what we do. Miranda Baby Weight.
Yeah, but not when I'm vulnerable and naked. I'm not comfortable at this weight.
Never mind. You look great. Take a tissue.
- I don't want a tissue. I want a potpie. - You don't want a potpie.
You're right. I want seven. I don't think we should see each other anymore. I gotta concentrate on my diet.
I was just being silly. Come back to bed. Do what you were doing. You're good at it! Bon apptit!
The bad news was that from then on, Miranda had to go downtown to the notorious Weight Watchers meeting next to the Krispy Kreme, where she wouldn't bump into Tom. The good news was that she never wanted a glazed doughnut again.
Samantha Jones. Please hold. Hey, Carrie.
- Hi, is she in? Okay. - Hello? - Is she alone? Okay.
See? Live it, learn it. That's all I get for a tailor-made knock-knock joke? That's better. Two days, four calls, no answer.
I know. Sorry. I've been busy. Do we have to do this? Can't we just pretend the whole thing didn't happen?
Sure, if we don't want to talk on the phone again.
In a few days, the whole thing will blow over.
That's an interesting choice of words. Look, I'm sorry...
Carrie, stop. I don't wanna do the "I'm sorry" stuff with you. Anyone else, but not you. You and I are perfect.
- Sweetie, as lovely as that idea sounds, we're not perfect. - We're pretty damn close.
Make no mistake about it, it's not my personal style, but I really admire your ability to put your sex life out there.
- I brought some looks for my cover. I want your opinion. - You do?
Yeah. Just in there. I did judge you. Just a little. I feel bad, especially considering that you were so good to me during the whole Big-married-man affair.
Honey, it's not just you. I judge me. Ever since that fucking Richard, I don't even know who I am anymore.
And just like that, I realized what was under Samantha's fabulous cover.
And I'm sorry about the delivery guy. I had no idea what that must have been like for you, until I walked in on Stanford getting a blowjob from Marcus.
Yeah, he told me.
This is good! Just the jacket and legs.
With a sexy pair of shoes... Wait! Stanford was getting a blowjob? I thought he would be...You know, never mind. No judgmental.
Honey, we all thought that.
Look here at the camera. Move that up a couple of stops. Okay, smile. Go. That looks great. Keep smiling. You look gorgeous.
- Wait! - Move that key light.
Sometimes it takes a friend to make a picture perfect. But a picture-perfect friendship, well, that's just in books.
- Yeah, that's right. - Do you like it?
- Cable! - Isn't she fabulous?
Give a smile. Here at me, cover girl.