Judging from the success of the show (a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), I must be the only person alive who hasn’t seen Mad Men. Season One aired in 2007 when I was a dumbass highschooler with more interest in The Hills than high-quality television. Still, I had more than enough time to catch onto the hype. Mad Men wrapped in 2015 when I lived in the entertainment capital of the world—Los Angeles—so there’s really no excuse.
Shocked by my unfamiliarity, my fiancé jumped at the chance to start the series over. He’d only seen it once all the way through. Of-fucking-course, Netflix did away with Mad Men a mere month before we committed to a binge-watch but that didn’t stop us! We charged forward the paid Amazon way with at least two episodes per day.
Over the course of our binge, I picked up on quotes that shockingly still hold merit in today’s dating culture (mostly in heterosexual relationships). I should remind you that Mad Men is set in the 1960s. A sandwich cost 60 cents and employees smoked cigarettes at their office desks. Birth control had just been invented. Though this revolutionized the way women have sex, women were still thought of as second place … at least by Mad Men standards.
As a millennial, I have no idea what life was *actually* like in the 60s. But for Mad Men to hold such high praise from critics and viewers alike, it must draw its screenplay from societal accuracies of the time. A woman never paid for dinner but at the same time, she never had a voice.
Mad Men hooked me right from the pilot episode in a way that I did not expect. So many quotes reminded me of Tinder chats and my “spill the tea” gossip sessions over happy hour cocktails.
“Why is it that every time a man takes you out to lunch around here, you’re the dessert?” — Peggy Olsen
“Weird, I’ve never had a man mistake a meal for the opportunity to have sex”—said no woman EVER. It’s gotten to the point where I have to clarify if “you hungry?” constitutes a date or a platonic lunch between coworkers. I hate that we have to define everything these days but it’s far better than a sexual misunderstanding.
And even if the romantic connection is there, men best keep their (s)expectations at the door after a first date where I ordered lobster and he paid the bill.
“I can’t help but think that I’d be happy if my husband was faithful to me.”— Betty Draper
Call me jaded, call me a cynic, but I believe the majority of relationships fall apart due to infidelity or cheating. Not “growing apart,” financial issues, or disputes on how to raise the kids. My dad cheated on my mom for years and they stayed married until his passing.
You’ve heard of the wife who chooses to stay for reasons other than love and happiness, such as security, money, social status, religious promises and the children.
“What do women want? You know better than to ask.” — Don Draper
This quote I can get on board with. If only I had a nickel for every time my fiancé or past boyfriends asked what I want … for dinner. Dear men, you know better than to ask because the answer is always the same: “I don’t know, whatever you want.” And then we yell at you for cooking the wrong thing.
In the 60s, however, it’s the wife who asks her husband what he’d like on the dinner table, so maybe some things have changed!
“There’s no money in virginity.” — Joan Harris
Joan might have said it more eloquently but what she means is “sex sells.” Still true. Want to sell something—regardless if it’s toothpaste, vodka, or bath towels? You put an attractive man or woman on the billboard.
Thankfully, we’ve slowly moved away from Paris Hilton in a bikini in a Carl’s Jr. commercial and Britney Spears in a Pepsi ad toward more wholesome content. Realistic content—like those Billie shaving ads that show body hair.
“You don’t kiss boys. Boys kiss you.” — Betty Draper
Depending on your values, personality, and preferences, you might still think that men should make the first move. And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! I’m too shy to lean in for a kiss so I love it when a man takes charge.
However, women have every right to pounce on a dick (or a set of lips, to keep it PG-13) without the “slut” or “whore” label to follow. Mad Men uses the term “strumpet.” It’s time to retire the dating rules that a woman should wait three days to call, otherwise, she looks desperate.
“People tell you who they are, but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be.”—Don Draper
Ladies, stop wasting your time trying to change a man. It does not work. It will not happen. Yes, even after you get married. If your boyfriend refuses to pick up his dirty socks, he will not pick up his dirty ass socks as a husband. Or a father—unless you nag, and nag and nag. And then you might be divorced. If he experiences depressive mood swings as a fiancé, he will as a husband. Trust me. I know.
Isn’t the whole point of love about accepting a person with their flaws? We love them on their good days but we have to love them twice as hard on their bad ones.