I’m seeing a trend in the comments regarding Peggy’s behavior in Love Among the Ruins along the lines of “poor Peggy”, “she was desperate”, “she degraded herself”. (Not all the Basketcases have expressed this. But many.)
First off, Peggy is not delusional. She sees herself accurately–the kind of pretty that she is, and that she’s not. She knows she isn’t Joan or Jane. And she doesn’t want to be. In fact she’s kind of appalled at the attention Joan gets. And Ann Margaret. That kind of girl is so obvious. Do men really go for that? Aren’t they interested in going deeper?
Trust me, I’ve asked myself this many times. Turns out I relate a bit to Peggy. I’m not in my early 20s and it’s not 1963. I am a fortysomething single woman who hopes to meet and marry. And in between, what? What do you do? Am I really supposed to be completely alone while I wait for my Disney Prince? (or other life partner because Disney Prince only means Jon Hamm to me. Just thought I’d mention.)
The boy in the bar–she saw him accurately. He was sweet; nice enough, but not in her ‘room’ (thank you yodabert). He’s too young, and I don’t just mean agewise–this is a guy who doesn’t know how to separate his whites from his colors.
It was interesting how differently Peggy handled him from the potato-chip-delivering truck driver in season 1. She was working very hard to not condescend to him, to appeal to him on his level. It wasn’t easy for her–she had to allow him to assume she was a secretary, which was a lot to suck up. There was some conjecture amidst the comments regarding why she told him her boss is a jerk–did she mean that, or was it just to sound youthfully disinterested? I think it was a bit of both. She typically wouldn’t express something like that–Peggy does not accidentally blurt things out. She was deliberately looser, as best as she could be. It’s also why she grabbed the hamburger. He was feeling like a slob, had a moment of self-consciousness, and she reached over and took a bite and it bridged the gap, putting him at ease. Letting him know he hadn’t blown it. For a girl without a lot of game, and who herself knows she doesn’t have a lot of game, I think she did great.
I also saw so clearly from their interaction that finding the right man will be challenging. Her professional life has matured her in so many ways that she outclasses a lot of men her age. Not white collar vs. blue collar, just the culture of a professional life vs. still in school. And also”she had a baby and she gave it away. That’s a lot to bear on its own, and would definitely leaving you feeling like too much woman in comparison to a boy.
Her clothing is a wall. She doesn’t really approve of dressing sexy–it’s just never been her style, and now that she is a copywriter, she just doesn’t know where to go with her look. She heard Joan and dresses less like a little girl; she heard Bobbie and is trying to be more womanly, but she hasn’t found her way fully yet. And she may never.
One thing I’ve always noticed is that Peggy is quite sexually competent. Her first day at Sterling Cooper, with Pete Campbell at her door, this virgin took his hand and led him in. He did not lean in for a first kiss”she made the move. And much later, following their couch tryst, she is in her comfort. No embarrassment, nothing awkward. She moves with the ease of a woman who is fully expressed and feels great in her own skin.
She’s just not as easeful getting there. Her pickup of the kid was difficult to watch. She isn’t one of those girls in the bar, the jokes come out of her mouth sideways”but she does know that she’s got the goods to offer, and she knows what she wants.
Maybe it’s controversial, but I was all for Peggy’s choices. She is struggling with her self-esteem in relation to both her outward and inward images. Again, she knows what she looks like and doesn’t look like. She knows she does not have Joan’s charm and ease (or looks). She is not Ann Margaret. But she’s got a singing, dancing sex kitten inside her, and she is not abandoning her.