I recently had a girl invite me to watch Sex and the City with her. She'd newly discovered the television show after never having really watched it before, and was suddenly addicted.
"Ugh," I said. "No thanks. But knock yourself out."
"Come on, please!" she protested. "It's so much fun!"
"Fun for women," I replied. "Men do not enjoy Sex and the City."
"That's not true!" she said. "It's a great show for men AND women!"
"It's a bunch of women who have no idea what they want doing the same things over and over again, never able to realize they're trapped in a perpetual loop of meaningless emotion–chasing," I responded. "There's little self–discovery, and loads of gossip, which is of course quite interesting to women, but like nails on a chalkboard to men."
She started watching an episode by herself, and soon called out to me, "You're right, I can see why women really like this and men don't!"
But I wanted to think about it some more. Why do women like that show so much, and why don't men? Certainly, there are exceptions – women who think it's trite, and men who think it's wonderful – but they're not the norm.
What I realized was that it's part gossip – women use gossip to stay informed on who's a desirable mate, who's an available mate, and who isn't – which is pretty useless to men but pretty vital to women – but it's also about time orientation... a little thing most people don't think much about, but that has huge implications for their dating lives and relationships.