Elaine Benes – who I want to be when I grow up

As I’m sure you’ll be aware, it is important to identify, and discuss at a great extent which Sex and The City main character you are, –  I’m a cocktail of Miranda and Carrie. Similar conversations happen in my family. However, it was less Candace Bushnell, more The Seinfeld Chronicles.

If you were to ask my dad, he would declare himself a Jerry, and get offended when I’d accurately point out that he’s clearly a Newman, but he’d agree that my brother is a George. Attempts have been made to paint me a Kramer, but it’s too far fetched. It’s too easy to label those on the  eccentric scale a Kramer. Perhaps, it is accurate, and I’m too biased to fully be able to disagree. However no matter your label, life ought to be a journey into transitioning into IMG_1093Elaine Benes.

To me, Elaine is the creme de la creme. Seinfeld would be absolutely nothing without her. Rumours have it that network executives at NBC refused to power on the with the show because  of a lack of female characters. So, back to the drawing board Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld were sent. To me, this speaks volumes about comedy, but that is an another post entirely.

Initially, the issue was that Jerry and Larry didn’t believe they could create a amazing character. Writing women was out of their repertoire, which again is a whole can of worms being preserved for later. Inspiration for the best thing to happen to network television came from comedian Carol Leifer. For a funny and poignant read, I suggest you read her book When You Lie About Your Age The Terrorists Win. Personally, being close to basis of Elaine, reading her actual words, was transformative.

So, as said before, NBC’s pushed for this to happen. May we take a moment of silence to reflect on this groundbreaking decision? It was said before, and may I add, it cannot be repeated enough; Seinfeld, one of the most influential television programmes of all time, one of the most syndicated television programmes ever, would be something so different, without her. It would, and is, so mundane. To back myself up, in season four, there’s a few episodes without her, and simply, they are unbearable. It’s over an hour of demanding to know WHERE HAS ELAINE GONE? The answer? Maternity leave.

Elaine being based on a real persIMG_1002on is uplifting. She’s not just devised by a roundtable of men, moulding of their flat ideals of the “funny woman”., Starting with a skeleton that was human, not just a blueprint of a male fantasy. Together, just like every other character on Seinfeld was formed; stemming from reality. Their conclusion was a weird, fleshed out person, a woman, complete with the same dash of bizarreness her counterparts. For example, nearly containing the same level of neurosis as George, but let’s face it, no one more does. Defined by his self second guessing, its his USP. Elaine is bizarre, in a way I know women to be.


In show’s early days, even the more traditional sit-com route of “the will they, wont they”, it was done with a sense of unique humour, and a general celebration of everything about half assed expressions of affection. The shift to more of a focus on the nature and form of Jerry and Elaine’s relationship was due to being unsure of the Seinfeld’s future, and with the possibility of cancellation looming, their reuniting was thought of as a neat little bow to tie around the show, not the most creative one. 

The plot of The Deal is as followed; while wanting the best of both worlds, Jerry and Elaine put together an agreement so they can still be friends, have sex, but not be in a relationship. That part was deemed to messy. To ensure a sense of boundary, and to remove the creeping in of a grey area, a list of demands; no expectation of sleeping over after, no calls the day after, and so on.

While opting for this, that, but NOT the other, just like every storyline, concerning these themes before and after this, their attempts at having purely causal sex goes wrong.

When dealing with the evergreen problem of what to get someone you’re sleeping with for their birthday, Jerry decides to go down the impersonal road of cold hard cash. Appalled might be too gentle a word to express Elaine’s reaction.

WHAT ARE YOU MY UNCLE?” She demands to know, envelope of cash in her hand; exactly $182.

Funnily enough, Kramer is the only one to get her a meaningful present; a hand crafted bench she longed for. As to not outshine his best friend, and get Elaine a more thoughtful gift, George, a man I have no understanding any woman should want to have sex with, presents Elaine with $91, exactly half the amount of cash Jerry gave to Elaine, exactly half as meaningful.


This is radical to me. Elaine expects things in relationships. She expects to be treated well, and to be given thoughtful birthday presents . This ought not be a radical declaration of intent, but, unfortunately, it is. This must speak volumes about me, as opposed to her, but I thinks thats why I love her, because I WISH I WAS AS COOL AS ELAINE. Channelling her is my daily task.

A boyfriend once presented me with cash for Christmas and my birthday. Never did I once think this odd. God, I want to shake myself, wishing I’d responded as she did.


I love most about her is her inability to suffer fools. She screams at Poppy, in his own restaurant, about how it was THE SUPREME COURT who gave her the right to choose what any woman does with her body.


It feels particularly poignant to me, to watch someone so unabashedly pro choice when it comes to abortion, more so by it being on network television. 


If she is not feeling her beau, she will dump him. She’s not sentimental or flappy. She doesn’t cry and mope, she moves onto the next one.

She won’t have sex with you unless she deems you sponge worthy.

She doesn’t care about office birthdays.

She orders the big salad.


She manages to blag her way to the top of the J Peterman Catalog.

She hates men, but she’s not a lesbian.

She even hits rock bottom – swapping lives with George.


The list of reasons I love her are endless. For the sake of time, I must stop right here. It must be said, of course one must take her with a pinch of salt, because becoming more like Elaine might not be the best way to win influence and be the most popular person alive.

Although, the thought of being less of a please pleaser excites. It’s a nasty, hollow and selfish trait. It serves no one, not even yourself. It’s only glory to is to shine on your narcissistic tendencies.

 Also, I love her for how she is like me. She’s angry and she’s insecure and she’s really going to let you know about it. She’s a woman with a soul like mine. But most distinctively, she doesn’t have any grace. Unless, of course, you ask Mr Pitt,  but he eats his snickers with a fork so he can do one.



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