It's not tv. It's HBO.

If we gave men perpetual oral sex we'd rule the world... And at least our hands would be free to greet dignitaries. -Sex and the City

Even a cynic can get her heart broken, and I guess it was naïve of me to think I could remain immune indefinitely.

Confirmed last Sunday night.

When Aidan moved out.

And left Carrie, presumably for good.

On this week's Sex & the City.

I try not to invest too much of my life in fictional characters - but after a coupla endless weeks spent as one of the guys (multiple ballgames, two concerts, and a handful of movies - all in the company of the usual 11 or so buddies), I needed a break from all that testosterone.

I realized this around the time I called my buddy Satish and he confessed that he and his roommate Stone were, "eatin' Ramen noodles; watching a ball game; and having a Stroh's Light."

This was when I knew I needed some civilized company... What I needed was a woman.

(No, not like that. So stop picturing it.)

And I had some free time, because I thought I was going to a few Superbowl parties that night - but it turns out I had the wrong day. An easy mistake - I maintain - because they did unexpectedly move it. It's not like Easter; it doesn't go back to the Gregorian calendar. It is usually the last Sunday in January, so that's the date I wrote down.

Suddenly unfettered for the evening, I called up my evil party twin - who just relocated to my neighborhood - and came through on my offer to help her unpack. We went out to grab a bite, and then went back to her place to organize the post-move chaos.

Between us, we'd have given Martha Stewart a run for her money.

Within minutes, I was completely immersed in lengthy conversations about the merits of various cleaning products, shelf paper, Clinique, and what to do about stubborn mildew (hint: I sliced it off with my pocket knife, but don't try that at home). I even showed her how to turn on the stove, and where the pilot light was.

I was seconds away from decoupaging something, or possibly knitting a sweater, but by 9 o'clock, we'd earned our agreed-upon break - stretched out on the sofa in front of Sex & the City (sans Ramen noodles, no Stroh's.)

The thing is, I didn't have to do this with a girl.

All the wingmen are regular, addicted viewers, but it's not the same.

First, they watch at least partly for the nudity. Second, they complain too much. One of them asked during last week's episode, "do any of these women strike you as happy?" Well no, but half the fun is re-assembling them. We'd probably all secretly like to be a little like each of them - ambitious like Miranda; rich like Charlotte; slutty like Samantha; and with Carrie's cool job. (In real life, we wouldn't want the poverty that accompanies Carrie's job, the loneliness that has come with Miranda's ambition, the husband that came with Charlotte's money, or the health risks that go with Samantha's promiscuity. It's still television.)

I just wanted to watch in peace. Oh, I didn't want to talk about my feelings, or anything like that - just a little solidarity. A little support.

Because most of all, my girlfriends and I wanted to believe that LAST week's episode was just a bad dream. That Aidan wasn't really leaving. That they weren't really breaking up.

Because let me go ahead and confess: I loved Aidan.

There. I admit it.

I loved the idea of him.

I loved the look of him.

Yes, I know... Sometimes he wore turquoise. (But Carrie was able to break him of that, so it's obvious that love can, indeed, conquer all.)

He was an artist, with a job.

He sanded her floors. (I still get worked up thinking about THAT, and it was two seasons ago.)

He believed in serial monogamy (which, ok, didn't go so well for him, admittedly).

He had a dog.

He had an apartment in the city, and a house in the country (with plumbing).

Yes, he initially bought her an ugly engagement ring - but first, he sensed it, and second, he sought out (and accepted) the advice of her friends when he went to exchange it for one more suited to her.

He proudly introduced her as his girlfriend to everyone from parents to colleagues, unembarrassed by her job as a sex columnist.

And he was soooo tall.

You could dress him up and take him out, or you could leave him home to eat fried chicken in bed - and he'd be there when you got back.

Even in the middle of moving out, he paused to fix the ballcock on her toilet. (That's love, my friends.)

When a guy I know asked me to evaluate whether or not he should get his hair cut short, he said, "you know, like Aidan's on Sex and the City," I just murmured, "Aidan..." then drifted off into a mindless reverie for about 30 seconds before he snapped, "Sorry. I didn't mean to distract you."

But I ask, what's not to love about a guy who cooks you stirfry on his George Foreman grill, but isn't averse to letting the fajitas fend for themselves while he has impromptu sex with you on the kitchen floor?

Other than the fact that, well, he doesn't exist.

So my girlfriend and I sadly watched his departure.

She cried.

I good-naturedly pretended to join in, while I handed her the tissues.

Then - as detox - I made her discuss military buildups and vehicle maintenance with me, while we sat through Oz: which she finds brutal, disturbing, and upsetting, but which I find to be more than offset by the director's penchant for full frontal male nudity.