Archive for September, 2000

Wages of Sin

Friday, September 22nd, 2000

Are Candace Bushnell’s heroines looking for love or practicing the world’s oldest profession?


Are all women whores? This question runs through “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell’s second book, “4 Blondes,” a collection of four novellas that is at first glance a salacious, glamorous portrait of upper-crust New York life, but on reflection a depressing reflection of mainstream American mores. Each of the four novellas centers on a blond who is what some in an earlier age would have called an adventuress, a woman prepared to trade herself and her integrity for money and position. (They are only incidentally blonds, by the way; the cutesy novella titles, each alluding to a different blond-making process, wear thin quickly.)

In “Nice N’ Easy,” Janey, a former model and “lukewarm celebrity” who’s never made it big, shops around each year for a rich guy to provide her with a Hamptons house for the summer: “Janey had no money,” Bushnell writes, “but she found that was irrelevant as long as she had rich friends and could get rich men.” In “Highlights (For Adults),” Winnie Dieke, a journalist who writes a “political/style column” for a major newsmagazine, is thrown into crisis because her journalist husband is doing no better than she is career-wise and has not fulfilled his promise of bringing her to new levels of fame and fortune. In “Platinum,” “Princess Cecelia,” a shallow, drug-addled beauty who’s managed to marry an actual prince, descends into paranoia and despair once she finds herself in the fishbowl of everyday life with him. And in the final novella, “Single Process,” a single Manhattan sex columnist edging past her peak marriage years (sound familiar?) travels to London on an assignment and lands herself a rich Englishman. (more…)