I remember when I first discovered Sex And The City. I was 18 and beyond thrilled to hear characters on TV say so many of the things I had been thinking or wondering about at that time, and even more excited to see women liberated on network television. It was glossy. It was sexy. It was cool. But it was a little bit too perfect. Where Generation X had a squad of career girls making it in the Big Apple, we, the Millennials of Generation Y have an entirely different squad, barely squeaking by in the same big city setting, 20 years later - and we're okay with that.
Lena Dunham’s GIRLS (HBO), which is approaching its sixth and final season, has brought us a new kind of drama. Something a little less glamorous, a little more raw and a lot more real. GIRLS dares to be brutally honest, it's not afraid to be unflattering at some angles, and most impressively, to allow the characters - flawed as they may be - to say and do the things that we’ve all been saying and doing for like, years. It's not very often that you find something on TV that feels relatable to real experiences from our everyday life. And if I'm perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I'll cope when the show wraps, because these characters feel like friends to me. For now, though, while we wait for Season six to air, we can all savour 18 of the most on-point quotes from GIRLS that totally sum up the female experience.
15 We're All Carrie Bradshaw's Swirled With a Little Bit of Samantha Jones
“I think I’m definitely a Carrie at heart but, like, sometimes, sometimes Samantha kind of comes out.” – Shoshanna Shapiro (Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”)
Ask any girl which character she most closely relates to from Sex And The City and she will likely have an immediate response for you. Because you know she has thought about it before. Any girl who grew up in the 90's has thought about it before. I bet you have, too.
I love that, right up front, in the pilot episode of Season 1, GIRLS addresses the whole Sex And The City comparison head-on. First, there's the movie poster on the wall of Shoshanna's room. But when Shoshanna makes a statement about which character she feels she resembles, we already know that these characters will not be those same idealized characters that we know and love from SATC. These characters (from GIRLS) will be more like us in that perfectly imperfect way. Shoshanna is already just like us, playing the 'which character are you game?' (Admit it, you think you're a Carrie swirled with a little bit of Samantha, too.)
14 Never Tell a Woman What To Do
“I don’t like women telling other women what to do, or how to do it, or when to do it.” – Jessa Johansson (Season 1, Episode 2, “Vagina Panic”)
We already know Jessa's a free spirit from the very first episode. But in the second episode, we learn a little bit more about some of her guiding beliefs. Specifically, that she doesn't want to be told what to do or how to do it by any woman (or man). And she has a point. Females today are already subject to so much mansplaining, that, the last thing we need is another woman offering us advice for which we didn't ask (this doesn't include the advice we do ask for or seek from friends, family, loved ones, teachers, counsel, etc.). I'm a firm believer in the idea that as women, it should be our job to build each other up with love and support, not tear each other down with comparison or criticism.
13 Is It Really Too Much To Ask For?
“I don’t even want a boyfriend. I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with only me.” – Hannah Horvath (Season 1, Episode 4, “Hannah’s Diary”)
Don't we all? And is it honestly too much to ask for? Mad respect to Hannah for saying precisely, what we all feel every time a guy assumes that we're eager to make him our boyfriend or something. Spoiler alert: we're not. We're busy, independent women who don't need a man. And we certainly don't need labels as desperately as every single guy on planet Earth seems to think we do. All we want (and need) is to hang out with you all the time, meet your parents, be told we are the most beautiful girl in the world (every hour, on the hour) and be given a promise ring to signify that one day, you will be ours forever. Oh yeah, and for you to be our boyfriend. Cut us some slack.
12 They Should Have Warned Us
"You know what the weirdest part about having a job is? You have to be there every day, even on the days you don't feel like it." – Jessa Johansson (Season 1, Episode 4, “Hannah’s Diary”)
Why didn't anyone warn us about this? Why didn't adults see us heading for the real world and be all like, "hold up, girl, this whole job business blows, you may want to rethink your path"? Probably the reason no one said anything was because they figured it wouldn't have made much difference. Because all paths lead to jobs, and if we want to pay our rent or get drinks with the girls to lament over all the shortcomings of the "real world," we have to show up to those jobs...even on the days that we don't feel like it. If any of that felt a little depressing to you, this is the part where you re-think your career choice and decide to pursue something you actually want to show up for.
11 We All Get A Little Stuck Some Times
“Sometimes being stuck in my own head is so exhausting it makes me want to cry.” – Marnie Michaels (Season 1, Episode 8, “Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too”)
Sometimes? Try, all the freaking time. Ever spend hours of your day inventing impossible scenarios in your mind, or planning an extravagant wedding to your dreamboat of a boyfriend who doesn’t exist, or overanalyzing a text message above and beyond anyone else’s comprehension? No? Me either... All jokes aside, it’s really easy to get stuck in our own heads, cultivate our own anxieties, and mentally exhaust ourselves in a fit of over-thinking. Our inner mean girl is always waiting in the background of our consciousness to make sure we know when we have messed up, said the wrong thing, acted the wrong way, made a mistake, gained a pound, lost a job, or otherwise. Part of the female experience is learning to silence that inner mean girl and get out of our own heads.
10 We Are Our Own Worst Critics
“No one could ever hate me as much as I hate myself, okay? So any mean thing someone’s gonna think of to say about me, I’ve already said to me, about me, probably in the last half hour!” – Hannah Horvath (Season 1, Episode 9, “Leave Me Alone”)
If you’ve ever been in a bad fight with a best friend, broken up with someone, or compared yourself to an Instagram celebrity in a bikini, then this feeling is all too familiar to you. Self-loathing is a natural human emotion, and it’s definitely a natural female emotion. We are our own worst critics, and trying to live up to the impossible standards we’ve set for ourselves is, like, really hard work. In the age of text message breakups, Bumble BFF's, and comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet (and in magazines, on billboards, in music videos, and movies), it’s easy to let one negative thought spiral into another into another into another. We probably all need to cut ourselves some slack (Hannah included) and remember that the way we see ourselves is not the way our friends, loved ones or strangers on the internet see us.
9 When You Realize Prince Charming Doesn't Exist
"I'm attracted to everyone when I first meet them. And then it wears off. It always wears off." – Jessa Johansson (Season 1, Episode 9, “Leave Me Alone”)
Is it just me or is every nice guy you meet literally prince charming for like a week (or until you’ve seen him in daylight), and then all the shininess just wears off? He’s a loud chewer. Still lives with his parents. There are rhinestones on his jean pockets. He doesn’t tip well. Texts too much (or uses too many emojis). Or worst yet, you don’t like the way he squeezes the toothpaste. While it’s easy to find something attractive about almost anyone you meet and it’s easy to imagine a relationship with someone you don’t really know, as Jessa laments, all that initial attraction often wears off. If and when you do find someone you can survive an entire week with, it might be a good idea to hold onto them.
8 Having A Girl Power Moment
“I am ready to take this party by storm like, I am woman hear me roar!” – Shoshanna Shapiro (Season 2, Episode 1, “It’s About Time”)
I feel like this quote would make a really great motivational poster, or look good on a wearable button or something. When you're armed with confidence, you’re capable of pretty much anything, so if this isn’t your line of thinking when walking into a party, then it might be time to adjust. You don’t necessarily have to proclaim it out loud, so boldly as Shosh does in the premiere of GIRLS Season 2. But as a strong and independent woman, this positively empowering self-talk will ensure you have the best night ever and are the life of the party. At least, I think that’s how it works. Come to think of it; you could probably sub in any word you wanted for “party,” and apply your newfound confidence to almost any situation (job interview, first date, gyno appointment).
“I am ready to take this _________ by storm, like I am woman hear me roar!”
7 Some Endings Are Harder Than Others
“There are certain people who are meant to remain in your past. I made a mistake trying to repurpose you.” – Hannah Horvath (Season 2, Episode 4, “It’s a Shame About Ray”)
It’s the ex you tried to stay friends with after the breakup. The best friend you fell out of touch with after she betrayed you. The on-again-off-again relationship that hurts a little more every time you quit it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about growing up, it’s that people come into and exit out of your life at just the right times. The hard truth is that some relationships are meant to end. Some friendships have an expiration date. And some people aren’t supposed to stick. Trying to hold on too long, or to “repurpose” someone, as Hannah so eloquently puts it, is often a mistake and ends up only hurting you more in the long run. Learn from your relationships, but also learn from their endings. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and hard as it may be, say “so long” to those who don’t.
6 Being "Good" Doesn't Always Feel Good
“Sometime being really good all the time feels really bad. But I’m on a journey. It’s my journey and I’m okay.” – Marnie Michaels (Season 2, Episode 9, “On All Fours”)
Women are natural born people pleasers. Maybe it’s hormonal - our motherly intuition kicking in early or something, Maybe it has something to do with needing to please the patriarchy in order to survive and have basic human rights and stuff. Or maybe we’re just all really nice people. But here’s the thing about being a people pleaser: It’s utterly exhausting. Marnie puts it eloquently when she says that, “Sometimes being really good all the time feels really bad.” While Marnie’s journey isn’t everyone’s journey (I, for one, am definitely not destined to become a singer of any sort), her acceptance of her journey is the real takeaway, here. Like, sometimes when things feel really bad, if we all just took a step back to realize that this is just a small moment in the grand scheme of things, we all might feel a little more okay.
5 If It's Not A "Hell Yes," It's Most Likely A "Hell No!"
"It is really liberating to say no to s*** you hate." – Hannah Horvath (Season 3, Episode 2, “Truth or Dare”)
Sooner or later, every girl realizes that it’s high time she starts putting herself first, and sometimes, that means saying NO. Say no to lame pickup lines at a bar. Say no to fat-free ranch. Say no to people you can’t stand. Say no to all of those things you often say "yes" to because of peer pressure, because you’re trying to be “good,” or because you’re trying to please too many other people (none of which are yourself). While Hannah (and both you and I) realized that this sentiment doesn’t mean you can just take a rain check on things that are of actual priority, like, you still should probably do your laundry, wash your dishes, show up for work or school. Time is precious and it’s really liberating to spend more of it doing the things you actually enjoy.
4 Sometimes Life Is Messy
“My life is a mess and I know that was a personal choice but maybe it’s time for me to un-choose that choice.” – Shoshanna Shapiro (Season 3, Episode 6, “Free Snacks”)
You know that old saying that adults (the real ones, not you and I) love to say about how you've made your bed, and now you must lie in it? What they don’t tell you, is that you can totally strip that bed, wash all the sheets and re-make it whenever and however you choose. Because here’s the thing, we’re women, and sometimes we may want messy. Sometimes messy feels good, and it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and adrenaline of it all. Sometimes messy is fun, and it feels good to leave our beds disheveled even though we know our mothers would not be pleased. But it doesn’t matter because, as Shosh says, it’s a personal choice and it’s our prerogative to choose messy. And it’s also our prerogative to un-choose it if we want to, when and however we may want to.
3 Instagram Or It Didn't Happen
"I thought this would just be a nice opportunity for us to have fun together and prove to everyone via Instagram that we could still have fun as a group.” – Marnie Michaels (Season 3, Episode 7, “Beach House”)
LOL because Marnie says what we’ve all been thinking, but have been too afraid to say out loud because we all spend a lot of time pretending we don’t care who double-taps our photos. Because if it’s not on social media, did it really happen? The funny thing about social media these days is that it’s actually sort of anti-social. Have you ever gone out and looked around you and realized that everyone and their dogs are scrolling through their phone like zombies and nobody is actually enjoying the IRL human company they’re surrounded by? While I’m pretty sure my girl gang rivals that of T-Swift’s, and I love posting a squad selfie as much as the next girl, I’m trying to remember that even if I don’t capture any given moment in a perfectly filtered photo on Instagram, we all still had a really nice time.
2 Honesty Really Is The Best Policy
“I think it's really important to be honest even if it's really difficult.” – Shoshanna Shapiro (Season 4, Episode 3, “Female Author”)
If you listen carefully, amidst Shosh’s fast paced up-talk and caricature lingo, she’s constantly shedding little tidbits of brilliant wisdom. Honesty really is the best policy. We all know this, already. Our parents have been preaching this sentiment since we were old enough to understand words. It’s easy to tell the truth when it’s not going to hurt or offend anyone, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, being honest is tough, and it would be a whole lot easier to tell a white lie or avoid the situation altogether. However, the truth always comes out eventually, so that whole “it’s not you, it’s me” line you dropped on the guy with the khaki shorts last week, is only going to hold for so long. Sooner or later, he’ll realize it was him all along - or more specifically, his khaki shorts.
1 When You Really Need An Exit Strategy
“I don't want to be in this relationship anymore and I don't know how to get out.” – Hannah Horvath (Season 5, Episode 8, “Homeward Bound”)
Any girl who has ever gone through a breakup knows first-hand that terrifying feeling of the moments, days, weeks before it ends. There’s a point where, in your head, you already know it’s over. You’ve made up your mind, it hasn’t been a rash decision that you want out. You may have already mourned the ending, internally, before the band-aid has been ripped off. The space between deciding you want out and getting out can be the hardest or the most tumultuous. If you’ve been with this person for a while, giving up the safety and comfort of your relationship for the unknown can be scary. It may seem daunting to be “alone” again. But every girl deserves to choose herself. So if you find yourself in a predicament such as Hannah’s, and you’re not sure how to get out of it, do as Hannah does: get out of the van and lock yourself in a public, rest stop washroom.