Recap: Carrie's the subject of a photo shoot, and she's draped over a bed, trying her hardest to look seductive, which...well, blech. Apparently, the tabloid rag she works for has decided they need a gigantic promotional poster of her to plaster on the side of a bus, which...well, whatever. Carrie isn't loving the process of being photographed, but voice-overs that it's worth it 'cause they're letting her keep the dress: a skimpy, flesh-colored, teeny tiny frock that looks more like an undergarment than anything a person should venture out in in public.
Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha are hanging out at Carrie's apartment - and apparently their lives are so empty and sad in this episode that they're reduced to living vicariously through Carrie's first official date with Mr. Big. Carrie arrives home wearing the photo shoot dress, and Samantha gushes over how fabulous it is. She would find that trashy slip of a dress fabulous. Charlotte disapprovingly calls it "the naked dress" and [correctly] assumes that it will lead to sex with Mr. Big tonight, which she sternly advises against. Samantha and Miranda grumble about Charlotte's strict adherence to The Rules, 'cause they don't think there's anything wrong with getting nailed by a guy on a first date. The doorbell rings, and Carrie hastily puts on her tacky fur coat - so that she'll look like an even trashier hooker than if she would if she were just wearing the naked dress - and rushes out to meet Mr. Big.
When Carrie steps out into the hall, she vapidly stares into the camera and tells viewers that she's dying to sleep with Mr. Big, but then cocks her head as she rethinks that and asks, "But isn't delayed gratification the definition of maturity?" While we're left to chew on that pearl of wisdom, she goes outside and greets Mr. Big, who's sexily leaning against his black Town Car. He ogles Carrie in her flimsy hooker-wear and, remarks, "Interesting dress" and ushers her into the back seat. After he climbs in beside her, he stares at her bare thighs and assures her he's perfectly capable of restraining himself...then lunges at her, and the two start getting it on.
In the next scene, Carrie and Big are lazing on the floor of his bedroom, basking in the afterglow of their romp. It's unclear why they didn't opt for the much more comfortable bed, two feet away. He describes their doink as "pretty fucking great", and Carrie pretends to act demure and shocked at herself for putting out on a first date - as though it's something completely out of the ordinary for her. After the two towel off and get dressed, Big takes her to a Szechuan restaurant - where she happens to run into a friend, Mike Singer, who's having dinner with a woman he doesn't introduce to Carrie and is clearly embarrassed to be seen with.
Miranda, meanwhile, is taking a boxing class. She accidentally kicks her partner in the face and profusely apologizes, but he assures her he's fine. They hit it off and hang out together after the class, and Miranda learns that his name is Ted Baker and that he's a sports medicine doctor...and we learn that he's far too nice a guy for a sarcastically cold-hearted bitch like Miranda.
Carrie meets up with Mike Singer at Bed, Bath & Beyond to discuss why he was so embarrassed about his date, whose name we learn is Libby. He explains to Carrie that Libby isn't someone he dates openly, despite the fact that she's smart, sweet, and superb in the sack. He recounts how they met in the supermarket, immediately hit it off, and had sex on their first date. Carrie voice-overs, "Since he didn't think Libby was gorgeous, there wasn't any pressure" and Mike describes Libby as the only woman he can "just be with". Carrie looks perplexed and asks him what the problem is, so he replies, "Looks. She's not beautiful" and adds that he's been keeping her a secret from his shallow circle of friends 'cause she's not the woman for him "in the larger sense". Carrie mulls that over, unable to decide if Mike was being shallow or honest [or an immature, superficial, soulless shell of a douchebag]...but it nagged at her.
Back at her apartment, Carrie taps away at her computer, rhetorically (I can only hope) asking viewers, "How many of us are having great sex with people we're ashamed to introduce to our friends?" Samantha gabbles about all the men she's slept with, clearly unashamed of her slutty track record. She helps Carrie hang up a copy of the bus poster on her wall, gushes about how fabulous she looks in it, and suggests that they all get together and toast the bus as it drives by for the first time. After that, she somehow gets on the topic of Charlotte getting boned by a Rabbi...and then it's off to Charlotte's gallery we go.
Charlotte is annoyed that Samantha and Carrie came by the gallery to interrogate her...and she clarifies that she didn't sleep with a Rabbi, but rather a Hasidic artist from Brooklyn. We then get a needless flashback of Charlotte as she drops by the Hasidic artist's studio to view his work, flirts with him, and quickly hits the sheets with him...which seems completely out of character for a Rules-following prude like Charlotte, but whatever, writers.
Carrie's back in her apartment, tapping away on her computer again. She ponders the notion: "Is secret sex the purest form of intimacy? Or is it a way to not feel things and emotionally compartmentalize our lives?" OMFG - I cannot fathom that anyone pays her to write this kind of shlock every week. Mr. Big chooses that moment to call Carrie and tell her he can't stop thinking about her, then invites her out for "a first real date", namely dinner and a movie. Carrie gazes into the camera and tells viewers how relieved she is to have escaped the "sex on a first date" curse...and she says it as though she's had no direct control over her sluttish impulses to have sex on what I can only assume are all of her first dates.
Carrie and Mr. Big are ambling down the street together, and she voice-overs that she was basking in the joy of being out with a man whose name she wanted to shout from the rooftops. A few seconds later, they run into two acquaintances of his...but he doesn't introduce them to Carrie. When Carrie later asks him who they are, he breezily says he once skied with them in Aspen. Big then takes her back to the Szechuan restaurant: the scene of their first post-coital dinner. She's bummed by his choice of venue, then gets bummed further when he tells her he can't make it to her bus poster party tomorrow. She complains that she had been looking forward to introducing him to her friends, then glances around the restaurant and convinces herself that it's filled with people who are there with dates they're ashamed to be seen with.
Later, Carrie calls up Mike Singer and asks him why he took Libby to the Szechuan restaurant, and he admits that it's 'cause it's an obscure place that's perfect for avoiding running into people you know. I don't know why Libby doesn't realize she could do a lot better than this adolescent fucktard.
Miranda has spent the night at Ted's place...and early the next morning he gets up to catch a flight for an out-of-town conference. He tells her to relax, get dressed, and leave whenever she's ready. As soon as he leaves the apartment, Miranda starts ransacking the place ('cause that's a decent, appropriate thing to do when you've just met someone) and discovers a porn video in his underwear drawer called Spanked. In the next scene, she's over at Carrie's apartment...and as the two watch Spanked, Miranda announces that she's no longer interested in dating Ted 'cause she's worried he's into some kinky shit.
The girls (sans Miranda) are gathered at a bus stop to toast Carrie's bus poster...and they're dressed in party hats and are drinking champagne. Mike Singer shows up and informs Carrie that Libby dumped him after it finally dawned on her that she deserves better than a shallow douchebag like himself. Yay, Libby! The bus with Carrie's poster finally arrives - and Carrie gasps in mortification when she notices that someone has drawn a cartoon penis near her mouth. Haha!
Miranda and Ted have just enjoyed a lovely dinner out, and he tells her he missed her today. He recalls their first encounter in the boxing class and jokingly says, "I just needed a kick in the head!" and Miranda stupidly retorts with, "And here I thought all you really wanted was a good spanking!" Ted pales and goes, "Excuse me..?" and just stares back at her in utter horror and embarrassment. Not surprisingly, that was the last Miranda ever saw of Ted.
Carrie shows up at Mr. Big's apartment, drunkenly babbling about him being too embarrassed to be dating her. She barges into his living room and pours herself a drink and says she blames herself for wearing "the naked dress" on their first date. Big scrunches his face in confusion and is all, "Wha-a?" so Carrie admonishes him for not introducing her to his Aspen friends, not showing up at her bus poster party, and for bringing her to an obscure Szechuan restaurant in order to avoid running into anyone he knows. She accusingly barks, "You have me in a niche!" and Big just stares at her in bewilderment. He explains that the Szechuan restaurant has the best Chinese food in the city, he didn't remember the names of his Aspen friends so it was therefore impossible to introduce them to her, and he declined the bus poster party 'cause he had court-side tickets to a Knicks game. Carrie mulls that over, perks up, and goes, "So...you and me. This is for real?" and Big pulls her close to him, murmurs, "Could be" and steers her toward his bedroom. Ew.