Does anyone really get naked with strangers as fast as Samantha Jones on "Sex in the City?" Are other shoe-obsessed women as terrified of marriage as Carrie Bradshaw? A new reality series on the WE: Women's Entertainment network tries to answer these and other important questions about love and life by peering into the twisted hearts and minds of real single women in New York.
The documentary-style show called "Single in the City" (which has been airing on New York City's Metro Channel under the name "To Live and Date in New York") chronicles the exploits of 11 single women who eagerly share the details of their male conquests and dating disasters with videocameras that follow them nearly everywhere. The cast includes a number of aspiring actors, and "the Barracudas," a man-eating foursome who fancy themselves a real-life version of the glamorous women on HBO. Kathy, Donna, Sandra, and Kathleen share friendship, financial success and a love of the single life. NEWSWEEK's Julie Scelfo caught up with three of the Barracudas to find out their secrets to love and sex in the big city:
Sandra: Donna and I knew each other for years. I was married for a long time and my girlfriends were always the fun, wild single chicks in the city, and I used to call them barracudas. When I became single, I started dating more than any of them, so now we're the "Barracuda Brigade."
Kathy: No, we date a lot but we don't sleep with the different guys that we date.
Donna: The only problem was my Mr. Big-the name is their referral, not mine. He's a journalist in a really high-profile job. He's a really private person and said he didn't want to be in the show, so he's not.
Donna: No, he's an on-camera personality. He's not your boss, but you'd definitely know who he is. He tries to keep his life out of the tabloids, but I think he's also commitment-phobic. We've known each other for 13 years and it's been on-again, off-again for six years. Now we're both single and living in the same city, and I think it scares the hell out of him.
Sandra: I think it's pretty darn close.
Kathy: I've had people who've already seen the show on the Metro Channel come up and say, "Oh, my God, you girls are doing exactly what the 'Sex in the City' girls are doing." It really is our true lives.
Donna: I think "Sex in the City" is about the friendship between those girls and how they support each other through dating escapades. We do that. Sandra just got divorced two years ago. We were both living in L.A. and she came and stayed with me. She was not wanting to date, and I had to encourage her.
Sandra: She had to teach me, and six months later, I'm dating too many men.
What about the weird outfits?
Donna: I don't really care for Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion sense.
Kathy: But we love the shoes.
Kathy: Yep, we have "bitch and brag" lunches.
Sandra: Everybody has to either bitch or brag about the night before-either you've had a fabulous night with some guy or he came late or whatever else....
Kathy: Our conversations parallel "Sex in the City." They get pretty graphic.
Sandra: They get really graphic.
Donna: Yes, three yeses.
Donna: No! I know more men that watch that show than women. They think it gives them the inside take on what women really do.
Kathy: I know our lives parallel theirs in terms of the dates.
Donna: They're awful.
Sandra: I think men are definitely sexually driven. It's the young guys who are more like dogs, who want to run around and bag the babes. Older guys are more interested in having a partner that they can bring to company functions, who they can be inspired by. Ultimately, everybody wants people in their lives that they can care about and share things with.
Donna: I think for men, sex is always the goal. For myself, sex is something that comes down the line. Most men I date I never even really kiss, let alone have sex with them. If a man is not a gentleman, I'm not interested. If I really like somebody, maybe I'll kiss him goodnight, but that doesn't mean he should be grinding himself against me.
Sandra: I don't know if six is bad. Dating means spending time with someone you're attracted to and getting to know them-not having sex.
Donna: I encouraged Sandra to do that because she was married in her twenties when I was going out and getting that out of my system. I said you need practice so you can see what's out there.
Kathy: I agree with Donna, you pick and choose things you like about men that you date and realize what the red flags are so you don't have to go through with a date and waste their time if you're not interested.
Sandra: Men date younger women to play around with. They date us for adult friendship; someone who fits their life and their lifestyle. There's a difference between girls and women. We're definitely women.
Donna: We're someone they're proud to take to political events. I have a friend who says "I'm proud to take you anywhere." I can fit into political conversation and I'm more interesting company.
Donna: I find men at parties. Hopefully, the person hosting had intuition about the kind of people they wanted to invite.
Kathy: It's really about quality settings ...
Donna: ... like charity benefits, something we visit a lot. The cancer things that are out there, the AIDS foundations. People that attend those functions have to pay to be there, so they have more integrity about them. You know it's not just some "let's go out and get drunk" party. It's partying with a purpose.
Donna: It's rare when I get to a place of sleeping with somebody. As much as I enjoy being single, I'm past the phase of wanting a boy toy. If a man isn't looking for a real relationship, I'm not interested.
Sandra: I wouldn't even consider going on a second or third date with someone if they're a bad kisser.
Kathy: I'm going to sleep with someone, they've got to be able to pull me into a bubble, no matter where I am. They need to be resourceful and interested in enjoying the journey. Money can fade on a dime and looks can go, but you need someone who can pull you into a little adventure and make it fun.
Kathy: I like an adventurous kind of guy. I need the love. I really enjoy the love, and it's that nice balance of both. I don't want to say I'm a good girl in the bedroom, but I am outside of that room and I need to be able to trust someone enough to ... let's just say that behind closed doors, I need someone who's like me.
One last question: how do you find a good man? Sandra: You let them find you!