I just watched The Sopranos all the way through for the first time, an undertaking that consisted of me yelling, through a mouthful of pasta, “That guy was on Sex and the City!” every other episode.
A fictionalized Michiko Kakutani, a real-life book reviewer for The New York Times, once wrote in a fictional review of Carrie Bradshaw’s fictional nonfiction book: “All in all, I enjoyed spending time in Ms. Bradshaw’s sharp, funny, finely drawn world, where single women rule and the men are disposable.” Indeed, men are disposable in both shows, although The Sopranos’ waste-management systems make sure most of those men are literally disposed of, while Sex and the City just regulates the cast-offs to the Island of Misfit Toys, aka the parts of Manhattan we never see in the show.
Written in the voice of Our Lady of the Voiceover and Patron Saint of Working from Home, Ms. Carrie Bradshaw, I present to you: Sex and the Sopranos, a column in The New York Star. I will have one for you every week of the summer, posting at 8pm each Sunday (real ones know why).
Samantha, Siddhartha, and Brendan
Remember that week Samantha was celibate? I do. We all do, what with the way she bitched and moaned about it.
Her latest boy toy, Siddhartha, was a voluntary celibate she met in our yoga class, hitting on him as he assisted opening her goddess pose while I lay on the mat next to her. They had tea at Tofu or Not Tofu, then practiced brachmacharya (or tantric non-sex) together for a few days until, somewhere between plow pose and horny warrior, Samantha cracked. She took home the first person in the room to agree to her proposition “Want to fuck?” (I, thankfully, skipped yoga that day.) Samantha left Siddhartha sweating bullets of lust down his chiseled cheekbone.
It turns out his name was not really Siddhartha. I know, I am as shocked as you! His real name was Brendan Filone, and he had traveled a long way to Manhattan: through the Lincoln Tunnel from the exotic land of New Jersey. His three-year stint into the celibacy experiment preceded and belied a much darker history of guns, violence, and an actual pork store in the Newark suburbs. His willpower was no match for the power of Samantha’s tantric tantrum, so seeing her run out of the yoga studio to enjoy meaningless sex was too much for Siddhartha. He first broke his vow of celibacy…and then he broke his vow of nonviolence.
Shedding the robes of Siddhartha, Brendan emerged and returned full-force to his life in the New Jersey underworld. He took up with a childhood friend, Christopher Moltisanti, and the two engaged in some sort of rogue operation where they held up delivery trucks at gunpoint. Now, no one appreciates fine Milanese craftsmanship more than I do, but stealing an entire truckload of Italian suits is taking the love of fashion a step too far.
Not long after, Brendan was found shot dead in his bathtub, the water in the tub diluted with blood. Brendan’s last cigarette floated in the tub with him for days, with that same Chinese character tattoo on his forearm resting just above the water’s surface. And just like that, both Siddhartha and Brendan ceased to exist.
Samantha expressed no remorse when learning of the death. “As far as I am concerned, a man who refuses to have sex with me simply does not exist—whatever name he goes by.” She said I could quote her on that.
I couldn’t help but wonder: With our sex lives comprising so much of our actual lives, is taking a vow of celibacy signing our own death warrant? Did Brendan die in that apartment bathtub, by the gun of a killer who has never been caught, or did he really die the day he changed his name to Siddhartha and willingly gave up sex? Sure, Sting tells us tantric sex is better than regular sex, and surely it’s better than no sex at all, but at what cost? In a city that never sleeps, is celibacy the big sleep?