Bad Boy Don Draper
On Monday morning, the Wall Street Journal does a panel review of the previous night’s Mad Men show. Today’s discussion centered around Don Draper – the bad boy and why women love him.
One of the panelists, media expert Evangeline Morphos, has a theory that there are 4 types of women – based on which one of the Beatles you had a crush on when you were young. Your choice is a Rorschach test of your future sexual history.
Paul was the “cute” one; and also the “nice” one. (Why does that seem like such a negative word?) The girls who had a crush on him were “nice girls”—preppy, and sometimes a bit prim. They grew up to have good relationships with decent guys, and stayed “friends” even after they broke up.
Then there were the girls who had a crush on the ultimate bad boy—John. These girls were early hippies—anti-establishment (though many ended up as lawyers.) The men they were attracted to were counter-culture artists or charismatic politicians. As women they were destined for passionate heartbreak—married men, or narcissistic grown-up boys who expected the women to come to them. These women ended up paying a lot of the rent bills.
The girls who had a crush on Ringo were usually a little pudgy, funny, and would be described as quirky. Usually their hair was out of control and their jeans were never in fashion. Ringo was the Beatle they would have had a “shot’ at. But somehow, with adolescence out of the way, these women ended up with funny, smart me who knew their way around a wok.
But a smaller, really sophisticated group had crushed on George. Mysterious, sensual, George was the only one who didn’t seem to thrive on the attention. The girls whop understood this grew up to be confident in their own sexuality—more concerned with themselves than with relationships. Spiritual, in touch, very cool and unknowable.
So who is who in the world of “Mad Men”? There are plenty of bad boys, like John including Roger and Pete; and a few Ringos, including Lane, who is emerging as dorky but funny. And of course, up until now, there was Don Draper. More than a bad boy, Don was like George—mysterious, aloof, unknowable and sexy. We flattered ourselves that we were sophisticated enough to have a crush on him.
But this season he’s been thrown out by his wife, rejected by younger women and he resorts to prostitutes. Will we recover our crush on him?
There aren’t really any “nice guys’ in this series. The touching aspect of this episode is that we discover a new side of Don Draper. Anna sees it—she is in love with that part of it. “I know everything about you, and I still love you’” she says. Don responds to her unconditional love with a genuinely sweet gesture—he signs “Dick and Anna ‘64” on her wall.
Maybe Don Draper is emerging as a nice guy.
Enjoy one of our favorite old rockers – Pat Benatar performing Heartbreaker: