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CAN’T BUY ME LOVE: SOMETIMES ALL A GIRL WANTS IS A $5 DOLLAR STREET-FAIR HOT DOG 



CAN’T BUY ME LOVE: SOMETIMES ALL A GIRL WANTS IS A $5 DOLLAR STREET-FAIR HOT DOG 
TIME OUT NEW YORK
JUNE 4-10, 2008
BY JULIA ALLISON 

At the New York premiere of the Sex and the Citymovie last week, I listened as Carrie Bradshaw opined (via voiceover, natch) that women move to this city for one of two reasons: “love or labels.” The remaining two hours and 22 minutes were spent trying to prove her point by bombarding the audience with luxury product placements (even the Donald, who was sitting nearby, seemed overwhelmed). If the audience ended up agreeing with Carrie, it might have been through sheer exhaustion. (“Okay, okay! Women only move here for expensive fashion and rich men! Now please, just stop with the Louis Vuitton puns!”) That’s where Sex and the City’s consumer romance culture stopped being cute and started being a little, well, sad. Where was the Carrie who, in the series finale, said, “I’m looking for real love…ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love”? It seemed like the entire movie showcased a kind of New York dating that only a tiny percentage of the city can afford.

And so I had to wonder: Since when did this can’t-live-without-each-other “real love” become so damn expensive?

I once wrote a column railing against pricey dates. “If you really want to stand out, buy her a pair of shoes,” I wrote. What I meant was that if you insist on spending money, you might as well spend it on something that lasts longer than the walk from your front door to a cab, something that will be memorable. Perhaps I should have been more blunt: Romance does not have to cost money. It seems so obvious, but I think we’ve lost perspective; we’ve forgotten about the joys of the cheap date.

For the past ten months, I’ve gone on nothing but cheap dates. I’ll buy a pair of deli sandwiches and we’ll eat them at my apartment. Or we’ll sit at a corner diner sharing $4 french fries. Or we’ll make a midnight trek to the Apple store to play with the gadgets.

“I have been courted at Per Se, Philippe, Daniel and everywhere in between,” my friend Jesse wrote me the other day, “but when the love of my life wanted me back, he didn’t make reservations. He took me for a long walk and stopped at Crumbs Bakeshop(crumbsbakeshop.com) to buy me Artie Lange cupcakes. And that is why I will marry him.”So maybe you did come to this city for love. It just doesn’t have to be bought with your black Amex. After all, a cupcake costs only $3.75.

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