“Mad Men” and the Meaning of Life
photo credit: Christina Saint Marche cc
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I’ll be honest. The only reason why I started watching “Mad Men” was because of the sharp suits, the nostalgic feel, and the vintage sound-track. In fact, as I type out this blog post, I’m listening to their soundtrack on Songza. But for the many times I’ve watched the show, this is how I would describe the meaning of life à la “Mad Men”.

1. Wearing a sharp suit makes you feel and look like a boss.

In fact, this point has its own hashtag – #likeaBoss. For your suit to be sharp, it needs to have the following items:

a. It needs to be fitted. Nothing that makes you look like a high schooler who rented the wrong-sized tux for prom. Or like you frequent Krispy Kreme because the front button creates a crease when it’s in use. Or pants that bunch up on the bottom. Hemming your pants costs all of $15 to look like a responsible adult.

b. A tie is a must. Possibly along with a tie-bar.

c. When in doubt, always wear a neatly ironed white shirt. It pairs nicely with (almost) everything.

d. Make sure your leather belt matches the colour of your leather shoes and that you aren’t wearing white gym socks.

e. Throw in a pocket square for that extra flair.

2. The world is run by men in sharp suits.

Women in the “Mad Men” world are unfortunately limited to cooking roasts for a man with a sharp suit, being a submissive assistant to a man in a sharp suit, or a sex object to a man in a sharp suit. If you are a successful corporate woman, you are a very small minority. And men, and sometimes other women, do not like you. You will be glad that thankfully some things have changed in our world today, but it makes you hope that more will change.

3. Sex and power are the chief pursuits of happiness.

I don’t know if you remember “Father Gill” who appeared in season 2. He served as a foil to Pete Campbell. One had taken a vow of celibacy as a Catholic priest, the other was liaising with Peggy in her bedroom the night before his wedding. One renounced the world with a vow of humility, the other wanted to be Don Draper – the epitome of power and success. The exemplar of this point is obviously Roger Sterling. Suffering multiple heart attacks, a committed non-teetotaller, with multiple affairs and divorces, we see him in S07E01 falling asleep in a room with multiple sex partners, heaving a deep sigh. Was it exhaustion? Was it weariness? Was it the monotony of it all? He almost makes you feel glad that at least Don Draper’s life is not this much in shambles. There must be more to life than all of this, but nobody knows what it is.

4. Nothing spells “I don’t care” like a smouldering look.

Couple that with holding a cigarette between your index and middle finger and a whisky straight on ice at 10:30AM at a staff meeting. I’m not going to lie. After watching “Mad Men,” I began to enjoy the occasional whisky on ice with club soda. Or an old-fashioned.

5. A lot can happen in 9 years.

Season 1 happens in 1960. Season 7 begins in 1969. That’s a lot of suits, ties, cigarettes, cocktails and drinks, sex, adultery, lies, divorces, drugs, ads, smouldering looks, and angry men. And somehow Don Draper is still not happy. Let’s hope that our protagonist discovers the meaning of his life.

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