A “Sex and the City” tour guide?
Yes, that’s Lou Matthews’ job.
Riding around Manhattan on a tour bus filled with tourists from all over the world, from Texas to Serbia, Matthews shares trivia from the HBO series and points out hotspots the four sex-obsessed characters frequented on the show.
Matthews’ job is definitely unusual and in high demand right now as the first “Sex and the City” movie is set to hit movie theaters May 30.
“Sex” devotees have been heading to the Big Apple in droves to feel the beat of the city Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda call home and to vicariously live out these wacky gals’ adventures.
Matthews, herself a “Sex” addict, came across a Craigslist job posting a few years ago with tour guide company On Location Tours and jumped at the chance to apply for the “Sex” tour.
Being an aspiring actress herself, she felt the job would be a perfect fit. So she sent in her resume and headshot and ended up landing the gig, which pays about $25 an hour to start. Training included taking the tour three times, and then she was handed the microphone and told, “You're on.”
Thanks goodness she had experience interacting with people doing promotional work for trade shows, and she’s often “the girl giving out free drinks.”
In her “Sex” job, she has to be a social butterfly and be on all the time.
“It’s demanding,” says Matthews. “It’s kind of like doing a one-woman show.”
She typically meets the tourists at the fancy schmancy Plaza Hotel on Fifth Ave., and the bus is almost always filled to capacity with about 55 people. They tour about 40 “Sex” locations, and all the while Matthews tantalizes tourists with tidbits from the show.
The biggest ooh’s and ahh's come when the group stops at the The Pleasure Chest, a sex shop in the West Village. That’s where Charlotte buys the rabbit vibrator that she eventually gets addicted to, Matthews notes. “It’s a great ice breaker,” she adds.
Other stops include Magnolia Bakery, where Carrie told Miranda she had a crush on Aidan while the two friends were chomping on cupcakes.
And she also engages the tourists in a vote on whether Carrie should have ended up with Aidan, you know, the guy from my “Big Fat Greek Wedding,” instead of Mr. Big, you know, the guy from “Law and Order.”
The vote, she says, typically splits 50-50, but she admits to me that she’s partial to Aidan.
But what about the “Sex” girls’ biggest love interest, Cosmos?
Alas, Matthews does not drink the gals’ favorite cocktail on duty, but the bus does make a stop at Onieal’s bar, which is actually called Scout on the show and is frequented by the show’s characters. The tourists are offered discounted Cosmos for $9. (Hey, it’s Manhattan.)
And forget the expensive clothing the women wear on the show.
As a struggling actress, Matthews can’t pony up the big bucks for Manolo Blahniks or Dolce&Gabbana, but she maintains, “I have an interest in fashion, and I like to put myself together. But since I’m dashing around the city, I wear chunky high heels, not stilettos.”
She’s proud of her job, which is 16 hours a week so she still has lots of time to pursue acting jobs when she’s not touring, and friends brag about what she does. But she admits she had trouble telling her dad because he had never heard of the show. Being from Ohio, she worried he’d freak when he found out she does a “Sex and the City” tour.
Turns out, “He was cool about it.”
Now, being a “Sex” tour guide is probably not a lifelong career.
So, what does this twenty something, who wouldn’t give her exact age because she’s “an actress,” see herself doing in the future?
“In an ideal world, I’ll be working on comedic projects,” she says. “But if this tour is still part of my life in five years, I’ll embrace it.”
Eve Tahmincioglu is the author of “From the Sandbox to the Corner Office: Lessons Learned on the Journey to the Top.” She blogs about careers on .