Emphasis on the Man in Mad Men

Monday, August 17, 2009
Ad men, ad men, we'll all mad for Mad Men.

I read an interesting blog post on Pop Vox (part of Newsweek) today, by Sarah Ball, called Why the Ladies Love Mad Men's Jon Hamm. As it turned out, the post really wasn't about the actor Jon Hamm but the character that he plays, that creative but enigmatic ad man and part-time scoundrel, Don Draper. With "Mad Men" having just started its third season the other night (I just started renting season 1 and got hooked immediately, so no one out there better spoil any secrets please) and the fact that the show's popularity has taken off...well, like the sales of a product after a really good advertising campaign (one that Sterling Cooper dreamed up), it doesn't surprise me that female fans of the show lust after dapper Don.

Personally, I'm not one of them - I consider Hamm to be what we call OK. I certainly don't think he's ugly by any means; I just don't find myself daydreaming about him - at least not yet (I still prefer this month's Retro Hottie of the Month, my Jacky Boy, further down on this page). But I know why so many women - like Sarah Ball and the women mentioned in her post - are, well, mad for Draper. It's because he...is...a...man.

Ball says that one of her friends call Draper "a man's man." One reader put it best in her comments: "Why do women love Don Draper - Are you kidding?! Gorgeous and the essence of masculine authority. In total contrast to the brow beaten wimps stumbling through commercials and sitcoms, terrified of the superior women around them. I AM of your mother's generation, and I adore him. Feminism has given us many things, but, oh, to have real men around again!"

I should point out that the women quoted in the post and those who left comments don't approve of Draper's constant bed bouncing. It's the quiet confidence he oozes that women find sexy. If we remove the philandering (and for me, all that 60s chain smoking and drinking) from the equation, Draper to me is an example of how I believe most women would like to see a man conduct themselves around them in the modern world, whether in the workplace or the singles scene: mature, confident, but definitely not a show-off. Draper would never tell a lady something creepy that would turn her off or scare her away on a first date; if online dating were available (and he weren't married) he wouldn't be posting pictures of himself showing off his biceps in bodybuilding poses (not that working out that way was in fashion in the 60s) and he's certainly not playing yet-uninvented video games in his spare time. Even though he's won advertising awards, he never brags about them. Not to mention the clean shaven face, a bit of Brylcreem, and tailored suits covering a body unmarred by tattoos and piercings certainly don't hurt.

If the show is hot, then the Don Draper persona is even hotter, and "Mad Men" is making women lust for the way guys - or at least, the way they imagined guys from the early 60s - used to be. Now if we can only get them to stop all that smoking...

1 comment:

  1. i agree. i dont think hes that hot but im so interested in all the crazy that lurks beneath the surface. but then again, i also really like movies that go inside the mind of the killer, so...


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