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Hear Me Out

Hear Me Out: Sex and the City’s Aidan Shaw Is and Always Has Been a Dirtbag

We’re not welcoming Carrie’s former flame with open arms into the new season of And Just Like That….
  • John Corbett and Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo: Sex and the City 2; Primetimer graphic)
    John Corbett and Sarah Jessica Parker (Photo: Sex and the City 2; Primetimer graphic)

    Carrie Bradshaw had two big loves: Big and Aidan. The first was always presented as a mean spirited, self-centered assh*le who didn’t deserve Carrie. The latter was seen as a kind-hearted man who would have made the perfect partner despite Carrie’s indiscretions. Several seasons and films of the Sex and the City series were centered around this battle, always positioning Aidan as the more honorable participant — and the fan favorite. What no one seems willing to acknowledge is that Aidan Shaw is, and always has been, a dirtbag.

    It was recently revealed that John Corbett (as Aidan Shaw) would be appearing in the next season of And Just Like That… alongside Sarah Jessica Parker (as Carrie Bradshaw). It’s been just enough to entice long-time shippers of the relationship, especially because several photos show the two cozying up, and then some. But the most damning photo is one that Vulture tweeted featuring everyone’s supposed favorite “nice guy” sporting dark sunglasses and a cigarette dangling from his smug little face. This, from the man who nearly dumped Carrie on sight because she was a New Yorker who smoked in the early aughts. It’s a photo that reveals not only what kind of journey Aidan’s been on since we last saw him so willing to cheat on his wife in Abu Dhabi, but the kind of man he’s been all along.

    When we first meet Aidan in Season 3 of Sex and the City, he’s shown as a wholesome, handsome, dog-owning furniture maker who can do no wrong. But the first signs of douchebaggery are present right there in the episode “No Ifs, Ands, or Butts.” Because we see things from Carrie’s perspective and she has her sights firmly set on him, it’s easy to accept Aidan’s suaveness as falling right in line with Carrie’s plan to take him out. But a closer watch shows that it was actually Carrie who fell into Aidan’s perfectly laid trap. The way he sends his dog over to unnerve her, the way he slides her hand down a piece of leather furniture — these are moves that this man has used before, a lot. He’s not a naive country boy who fell for this city slicker, he turned his radar on a hot woman and set a bear trap that clearly still has a hold on her.

    This is a man who in Season 4 says without irony “Give me a little something” when asking for a kiss from Carrie. A man who takes on a very Men’s Rights Activist tone when hearing about Miranda’s potential abortion, responding to Carrie sharing legitimate concern about the tension between her friends’ varying fertility issues by saying “If Miranda doesn’t want the kid, can’t she just give it to Charlotte?” A man who willingly got back together with a woman who cheated on him only to hold it against her forever, dangling a hot bartender who he admittedly thought about sleeping with above her head while Carrie was cleaning up his unruly dog’s diarrhea. This is not a “nice guy.”

    The most damning moment, which even the most fervent Aidan stans have to admit is bad, comes in the 2010 film Sex and the City 2 when Carrie inexplicably runs into Aidan in an Abu Dhabi market. While villainy tinges the entire film (if you haven’t watched in a while, don’t), the scene that stands out the most is Carrie and Aidan’s reunion dinner. At this point Carrie is married to Big and Aidan has long been married to his wife Kathy. Before meeting up for dinner he hands her a card with his international cell — a phone number just for when he’s overseas and away from his wife. Classic dirtbag move.

    At dinner he gushes about his incredible wife and their three amazing kids named Homer, Wyatt, and Tate — all destined to follow in their dirtbag dad’s shoes with names like those. Seconds after putting away a photo of his “jug band” family, he leans too close into a married woman’s space and says, “F*ck, you look good, you look hot.” Thank goodness Homer, Wyatt, and Tate didn’t see this.

    And then, the kiss. He follows it up with regret, but based on how intentionally he went in for it, there’s nothing genuine about his remorse. He knew what he was doing, and he’s done it before. Aidan’s not just a creep when Carrie’s around, he has an international cell phone number. These are the seven arches underneath which he’s likely kissed at least as many women who aren’t his wife.

    It’s understandable that if given the choice, people would choose Aidan over Big. Big has also played games, cheated on his wife, and spewed misogynistic nonsense. Carrie hasn’t been an angel either, and as Aidan all too dramatically screams right before the pair get back together in Season 4 of Sex and the City, she broke his heart. But just because Big and Carrie are bad, that doesn’t mean Aidan is good. These people all ended up in the same circle because they share a common trait, and that common trait is not decency.

    We still don’t know why exactly Aidan is showing up in And Just Like That… but we can assume that he’s rolling in after 13 years of being a complete dirtbag. After kissing “the one who got away” in Abu Dhabi, whether he went home and broke it to his wife or not, what followed were surely not honorable years. He was either continuing to lie and cheat or embracing life as a divorced man with even more agency to be a real creep. And now he’s back with Carrie, making out with her in the middle of Manhattan traffic, which is not necessarily a dirtbad move but certainly ill-advised for safety reasons. Did they reconnect when she had him on her podcast? Is he now a “nice guy” again because his wife also died in a Peloton-related tragedy? Was there another slow-motion reunion in a fabric market? We’ll have to wait to see the new season of And Just Like That… (the premiere of which has yet to be announced) to know for sure.

    But one thing that’s certain is that Carrie and Aidan should have never been together to begin with, let alone 23 years later. They never had anything in common other than being two hot, single people in New York. Their relationship has been plagued with dramatic outbursts and secrets and at least two big moments of infidelity. And if Carrie really wants to move on and be a better person as she’s been trying to prove in And Just Like That…, she’ll leave dirtbag Aidan behind.

    Season 1 of And Just Like That... is streaming on HBO Max. Join the discussion about the show in our forums

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: And Just Like That, HBO, Sex and the City, John Corbett, Sarah Jessica Parker