Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sex and THIS City?

by Lisbeth Eng

When I first moved from the hinterlands of Staten Island to the chic isle of Manhattan four years ago, one of my co-workers excitedly remarked, “Lisbeth will be the new Terry Bradshaw!” “Huh? Terry Bradshaw?” I replied, bewildered. What did she possibly think I could have in common with the bald football announcer? “Carrie Bradshaw!” she corrected with a laugh, and went on to explain her prediction that my new life as a Manhattan single woman would be as exhilarating, fashion-forward and sexcapade-filled as that of the fictional heroine I had barely heard of. Yes, that’s right, I have never watched even one episode of Sex and the City, nor either of the two movie versions, nor read Candace Bushnell’s book upon which the TV series was based.

I, a forty-something-year-old widow, am probably as un-Carrie-Bradshaw-like as a native New Yorker can be. I have lived in four of the five boroughs (alas, the Bronx will probably never enjoy the privilege of my residency), having spent the longest period, thirty-five years, in Staten Island, which, in case you were unaware, is part of New York City. It’s amusing that transplanted mid-westerners (among others) seem to think of themselves as more “New York” than those of us born and bred in the outer boroughs, simply because they have lived in Manhattan a few years and know all the “in” places to eat, drink, shop and pick up men. But I digress.

First a disclaimer: since I have never watched the TV show (or seen the movies or read the book) I am in no position to judge the lives of women who seem more interested in their Manolo Blahniks and cosmopolitans than in global warming or human rights abuses in Darfur. But I’ve really no right to make such a self-righteous comment. For all I know, Carrie and her friends may spend their free time volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and I’ll bet they donate last season’s Jimmy Choos to the Salvation Army so that the disadvantaged can get “back on their feet”, properly shod.

All right, perhaps I’m just jealous. I am seldom fashionably attired (for me, comfortable shoes trump high heels and pointy toes every time), and engaging members of opposite sex has always been a challenge for me, especially after I became single again at the age of forty-four. I live in one of the most exciting cities in the world – “the city that never sleeps.” Well, I sleep. Even on weekends I’m usually in bed by midnight. Nightlife? Does watching the eleven o’clock news count?

So how can a single gal living in New York City lead such a boring life? I don’t. There is more to this city than a quest for sex and cocktails. Besides world-famous museums, opera companies, orchestras, Broadway theater (not to mention off- and off-off-Broadway theater), there is a soul to this city that may not be obvious to the casual observer. An army of volunteers delivers meals to the homebound elderly and AIDS patients. Community gardeners beautify hidden corners of this concrete jungle. The socially conscious meet to strategize against pollution, political oppression, poverty and hopelessness. As for me, I enjoy the above mentioned museums, opera and theater, study foreign languages “just for fun”, volunteer for Amnesty International on behalf of prisoners of conscience and write romance fiction for self-fulfillment and for the remote possibility of selling the movie rights to my soon-to-be-published debut novel for a seven-figure sum.

Which brings us back to sex. And self-promotion. For sex and another city, how about Verona, Italy circa 1944 where a woman torn between two lovers, one her compatriot and the other her enemy, battles the Nazis? You can read about her (and her lovers) when my World War II romance novel, In the Arms of the Enemy, is released by The Wild Rose Press on October 1, 2010. In the meantime, please visit my website at for a preview.

BIO: Lisbeth Eng is a romance author and financial services representative (that’s how the rent gets paid) who inhabits the lovely island of Manhattan where she continues her search for spiritual awakening, inspiration, the meaning of life and yes, well… ahem…sex. Visit her at


  1. Lis - Fun blog... I feel the same about the shoes and go to bed at 11:00 too. The pigeons on my fire escape wake me up at 5:00 in the morning. Real NYC living! Jeanine

  2. Thanks for stopping by Jeanine!

  3. First of all, is that a photo of flavored condoms? Okay, if it isn't I guess my mind is in the gutter. This is a great post and reminds me how much I miss the city. Growing up in Fort Lee, the NYC annex on the Jersey-side of the Hudson, I always went to NYC for everything, including men ;-) Looking forward to your story.

  4. Good luck guys! What a great idea for the blog and a catchy title too!

    I promise to leave a better comment when I am not rushing out the door!

    Life in the big city is certainly grist for the mill.....

  5. Thanks for your comments, Anne and Mary. And those are condoms, though I don't know if they are flavored!


  6. Love the blog, the condoms and the shoes! :D

    I did watch "Sex in the City" for about half a season - when I watched TV --, but I confess that I was never a fan. The ladies seemed too needy, too desperate, and New Yorkers may be hyper but we are not desperate. Or maybe it's just me. But, hell, this is New York, anything goes, everything is possible!

    Ride, Horsewoman, Ride!

  7. Better comment as promised...I too never watched Sex and the City. It just doesn't speak to the reality of my New York which is struggling middle class, and mommy and me classes. Its funny, I know many single women, both gay and straight, in this city and none of them obsess about men (or women) and sex the way these chicks do. There's something a little sad and lonely about the franticness of their conversations and their constant picking over of the minutia of their relationships. I just find them depressing. Glad you gals are illuminating other aspects of this wonderful city.

  8. For many years I heard the complaint, every man in NYC is either married, crazy or gay.

    And after intensive research I discovered the truth about urban legends such as that.

    They are TRUE!

    Great blog, Lis, fun, and yes, I, too, have never seen Sex and the City (movies or show) and if I even tried to stand up in those shoes, there'd be an EMT convention.

    Rock on, ladies!

  9. Great blog Lis - lots of fun. So glad to see I am not alone in my un-hipness. I have never seen (TV or movie) nor read Sex In The City. I did just read a Candace Bushnell novel - an accident really - it was on the take-a-book-leave-a-book-shelf at work and I had no idea who Candace Bushnell was. Duh. Actually I'm not even embarrassed because my daughter who is cool without having to cater to the masses - HATES the whole SITC hype-steria and only saw the first movie because she was dragged kicking and streaming by friends trying an intervention with her. If I am up past 11, it's because I'm planning lessons, finally reading emails from a month ago or folding yet another basket of laundry. Oh darn - did the dryer just go off again!?

    Great news on the book. Can't wait to read it!

  10. Wow I am SO excited to discover there are other women who've never seen SATC. I thought I was all alone in my cluelessness. It is hard to raise dds when this mindset is so prevalent. Gossip Girls, A-List etc. But I try.

    Off to look for a blog by Lise.