Peggy is working it out.

 Posted by on August 27, 2009 at 8:19 am  Characters
Aug 272009

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.


  64 Responses to “Peggy is working it out.”

  1. I've only watched the episode once, so I'm still thinking this through, but my first reaction with Peggy's tryst is that it was sort of work related. She saw Joan flirting with the clients earlier (while still being totally professional- just charming) and realized that more ease with men and flirting would be an asset to her so she went to the bar to practice. I do love how she stuck up for the guy she ended up going home with after he got made fun of by those guys. I'm sure there's more to it (there always is). I can't wait to see what else she does this season!

  2. If anything, I took Peggy's retro-booty call as just another example of her, for want of a better phrase, acting like a man. It was certainly a shallow and empty experience. But I didn't see it as a "desperate" or "degrading" act per se.

  3. I certainly didn't see it as desperate or a "poor Peggy" situation. She is figuring herself out, trying things out. But I thought her "My boss is a jerk" comment was a bit of spleen-venting in regards Don, who had been so dismissive of her ideas, earlier that day.

  4. I agree that she's doing this to figure something out. But finding yourself in bed with a guy who isn't even worth telling your real job or to have breakfast with? I've been there, and it's hardly uplifting. Let's not forget that Peggy is still in her early 20s and her mentor has just trashed her ideas and her womanhood. Is it so hard for people to admit that it would make her insecure? Yes, Peggy is assertive at work, but she's really confused in her personal life. This is a woman who was in denial for an entire pregnancy. She's not as put together as everyone wants to give her credit for.

  5. When Peggy said, about Marilyn, "I think a lot of people would be happy to have her problems," I think she was expressing a longing to be pretty and desirable, and when she was in front of the mirror, I think she was seeing if she could pull it off. And she can. But it's not her true nature, and I think she's finding that out.

    With the trucker, I think she was trying to prove who she was, except she wasn't there yet. Now she's there, so it's okay not to prove.

    She corrected Eugene on the secretary thing, and she could have had him if she wanted to. She's definitely experimenting with what she wants.

  6. Agree with pretty much every word Roberta wrote.

    But to add to Meowser's point, we did get Pete dancing in the premiere and Peggy singing in this ep. And a good thing, too. If there was one thing I missed in S2 it was the dancing. The S-C office parties and outings were always a joy to watch, and usually set up great little scenelets (Peggy & Pete, Paul & Joan, Harry & Hildy). Paul's party in S2 needed dancing.

  7. I'm fascinated by Peggy's courage. In another decade, it will almost be expected of sophisticated women to go to singles' bars and pick up men. (Looking For Mr. Goodbar came out in 1975, and Judith Rossner began her research a few years earlier.) But in the early 1960s, many girls Peggy's age were still living at home, many were virgins and just for a Brooklyn girl to work in Manhattan was a big step.

    She's feeling her way and what she's comfortable doing sexually. She's already had a lesson in doing it wrong, and she knows she "always picks the wrong boys." I still expect her to end up with someone above her in status and who will elevate her to the Mary Wells Lawrence strata. But that could still take a few seasons.

  8. I agree with everything in the post but I took something different away from Peggy's storyline. To me, it was about how hard it can be to be alone. With Don, we see how much he covets freedom from the responsibilities of family — even as he takes on more of them.
    And with Peggy, we see how much she has to work to get the things that come easily to Don — attention from the opposite sex, respect in the workplace.
    In the pickup at the bar, she's both seducer and seducee.
    In the makeout scene, she's in control of the action but at the mercy of the Trojan.
    And the next morning, when Don sees her in her office, she's doing her own typing. Her secretary isn't even at the desk! Peggy is her own secretary as well as a copywriter.
    Peggy has to work, literally, twice as hard as everyone else. Nothing comes easy for her. She has no true peers at SC — she can't hang with Joan and she can't hang with the boys. Is it any wonder she's so isolated?

  9. The student is another one who should have gone on my list of people "not acting their ages," with his mention of his mother saying he's still growing.

  10. Maybe this is what Vincent Kartheiser meant by, “There’ll be lots of singing and dancing!”

    And I agree. Aside from the fact that she let him assume she was a secretary because she didn’t want to scare him, she didn’t seem victimized by her encounter to me at all. He respected her decision not to have intercourse if there was no Trojan around, and she was the one who walked out, not him. In fact, I was wondering, before the season even started, if we would see Peggy involved with someone less ambitious and successful than she is, someone who wouldn’t mind being a house-husband.

  11. I think it’s different from what she did with the delivery guy in season 1, she seemed to be purposely cruel to him because she thought he was beneath her. But he was kind of on her level, in fact he was probably making more money than her at that time, she was just trying to be Joan then, sophisticated and savvy. But he called it right when he said she would never be one of “those girls.” It took her some time, but she finally seems to be finding out the kind of woman she is.

  12. # 5 Elizabeth-To answer your question about the Trojan, you may not be joking as much as you think you are. I am not familiar with New York law, but in Connecticut there was a law, even though it had not been enforced for decades, banning the use of contraceptives. The dead law was overturned in 1965. It is quite possible that someone at the drugstore would have refused to to sell them, because she was unmarried.

    Also, Peggy's act was not a well-thought out plan. She saw the bar, and said to herself, "I wonder what would happen if I went inside."

    I keep waiting for Kurt to introduce her to some of his friends. He must have some straight friends in the village he can introduce her to. It would also be a great way to parallel Don in season 1.

    • Also, Peggy’s act was not a well-thought out plan. She saw the bar, and said to herself, “I wonder what would happen if I went inside.”

      I a hundred percent agree.

  13. I'm pretty sure I expressed an 'awww' early on, during the scene where she was alone in her kitchen, washing her bras, and then did her little mirror dance without anyone else there to join in or laugh at the absurdity of it all. I'm a lot like Peggy too, young, very serious about my job in an environment where others who achieve just as much or more than me aren't, and I kind of projected my own loneliness onto her right then. It was all just very familiar to me. I didn't feel she was degrading herself with her actions later, though. That guy she had her fling with was sweet, if a little goofy, and probably the best choice for exploring her sexuality safely.

  14. Roberta, I really appreciated this post. What you wrote about Peggy rang true to me. What is so great about Elizabeth Moss is that you can practically SEE her thoughts on her face. I think Peggy is finding her way, experimenting, trying on different ways of being a woman. I love that she’s not all one thing or another. She’s in her 20s! And at a very transitional time for women. So no wonder she doesn’t have it all figured out yet. But I admire her for taking care of herself in so many ways and trying to find out what is authentically her.

  15. I agree. I didn't see it as degrading at all, I thought she was very self possessed and at ease with her sexuality. She was in Season 1 as well – you mentioned the 1st episode with Pete at her door where she met his gaze and took action. There was also her returning eye contact with Joan and almost proudly stating that she wasn't a virgin. Peggy owns her desires and acts on them. (Excepting the unresolved Pete stuff of course. I still think that there is something percolating there…).

    Actually, I think Peggy is more comfortable in her sexuality than her partners so far. The young guy from the bar was sweet, but had no clue…he was grateful mostly. And Pete was comfortable with Peggy but seems not as free and uninhibited with the other women we've seen him with.

    I do fear young Mr. one night stand will search for Peggy at that bar for the next few months in vain. Poor guy.

  16. I'm surprised that people have thought that Peggy was degrading herself. And I'm wondering if that's telling of some kind of higher (inhuman?) moral standard she's being held to…

    (ie: Because she's one of the lone women who are professionally successful in a way other women aren't in this era, do we expect her to always make excellent choices? To chose the 'best'?)

    I actually was thrilled with this scene. It, like the moment in Episode 1 when Don says, "It really is" (about it being his birthday), had a superb honesty to it. Roberta, like you, I totally understood where Peggy was coming from: that was me as I was growing up. Wanting to be like the other girls, but at the same time, baffled by this system that made no sense to me. Why /did/ boys like that? What was the appeal? But I still tried it out – the makeup, the giggling.

    Peggy lied a little. But her grabbing the hamburger was great. Very real moment. And the guy was sweet, if a little young. (Good thing I'm not Peggy – the request for breakfast would have snagged me… I'm a softie.) All in all, I think it was a great encounter. Except I do agree with LAbaby and think the poor guy will be hoping she turns up again at his bar. Aw.

    • You know, I hadn't really credited Peggy's grabbing of the burger as authentic, AFY, but you're right. She was trying to be Joan, and Joan wouldn't have done that, and then she was like, fuck it, I'm hungry.

  17. Peggy went to a bar to pick a guy up for a one night stand. Why didn’t SHE bring a Trojan? Could single women buy them easily in those days without pretending a husband was curbside with the motor running and showing a phony wedding ring? (I’m joking, at least I think I am . . . )

  18. Well, regardless of whether you think Peggy's hookup was skivifying or a strike for women's equality, you'd have to admit that Don has a way of driving otherwise demure women into cheap bars for indiscriminate sex.

  19. #22 I agree with that completely.

  20. Finally, a sane observation about Peggy's fun last week. I think some people on other Mad Men blogs are either 1.) My mom's age pre-sexual revolution or 2.) completely misreading this character. Peggy likes her career. She always has. She's also in touch with her own sexuality. In short, she's young, smart and independent. It may be the 60's but remember, Peggy was the first to flip her hair. She's going to push the envelope as much as she can.
    Her reaction to Ann Margaret was quite revealing, as was Don's. She doesn't want to be a 25 year old acting like a 14 year old. She thinks it's stupid for a grown up to act like a little girl but Don says that's what men *his* age want. And what else would he expect? His wife acts like he's responsible for everything. He clearly likes women but not necessarily for their minds. Peggy is an enigma to him. She's his protege. Through her, he is going to experience a different, emerging kind of woman. Peggy is the kind of change that intrigues Don, the creative observer.
    Peggy is going to write the book on Sex and the Single Girl. That's not shallow, desperate or lonely.

  21. I was guess Betty's bar-sex experience was somewhat similar in that it wasn't supposed to be premeditated. I'm sure there was some parallel there as well…

  22. Going back to the Jackie/Marilyn/Irene Dunne conversation, I don't think the boys at SC consider Peggy to be the same species as the women they're advertising to. "Women" are some kind of alien creature, and Peggy is a person.

    It makes me think of the "Sally is a Girl" episode of The Dick van Dyke Show, where Laura keeps getting upset that Rob and Buddy don't treat Sally like a girl (holding doors, etc.).

  23. Brenda – in regards to the fact that in approximately ten years' time it will be de rigeur for women to pick up men in bars – I was thinking the same thing. Peggy is so clearly a "New Woman." She's the first woman copy writer in the office since the war, she lives in her own apartment, she's got her own office, she didn't marry the first guy who knocked her up… it's really within her character to go and pick someone up (and then leave rather than stick around and cuddle!) because she's got to be at work in the morning.

    I don't think she was being calculating by going into that bar and I agree that she went in because she wondered what would happen, but she also knew what she was hoping to find.

    But she's still figuring out where she sits in terms of desirability because she is neither a Jackie nor a Marilyn. I've watched episode 2 twice now and I noticed that Peggy's opening line with that group of guys is "It's so crowded I feel like I'm on the subway." That was the punchline of Joan's joke when the men were laughing and crowded around her earlier in the episode. So Peggy knows she isn't an Ann Margaret or a Marilyn or a Joan… and where does she fit then? She's something New.

  24. i relate to peggy and im a 37 year old man-boy.

  25. Great thread. Loved Peggy's sly smile, when she was trying on saying "My boss is a jerk." Squirmed during the makeout scene, felt that was hitting a little too close to home, the way another Basketcase remarked on squirming during the scene of Peggy aping Ann-Margret in the mirror.
    BTW Ann-Margret was irrepressably annoying—why was it that Peggy was the only one to admit that? She made my ears hurt, not my heart.

  26. I do fear young Mr. one night stand will search for Peggy at that bar for the next few months in vain. Poor guy.


    "I hang out at that bar. Stop by and look for me and hope I'm there if you want a booty call. I don't want your phone number. I don't want to walk you to the subway. I don't even want to get out of bed to help you with my door. I just think I'll probably fuck you again if you happen to come looking for me."

    You feel for this schmoe?

  27. Brenda – in regards to the fact that in approximately ten years’ time it will be de rigeur for women to pick up men in bars – I was thinking the same thing.

    Let's remember that the main character in Looking for Mr. Goodbar was murdered. The theme was clear; have casual sex, get killed. Very few movies ever allowed women to have extra-marital sex without ending up dead or in jail.

    The earliest exception I know of? Dr. No, referred to in episode 3.01 and released in the U.S. in 1963.

  28. #31 That is something that I appreciate about this episode, and the Betty pickup as well. (It still happens – see every slasher flick ever made.) But that doesn't mean it didn't skiv me out watching it. I hope that Peggy learns from this and doesn't become either a Don or Bobbi clone or a complusive bar hopper. That would be tough to watch.

    Between Peggy's story and the Gene stuff, this is going to be another episode I will dread during rewatches (a la The Inheritance).

  29. "Seriously?"

    Nah, not seriously:) It's just that he seems like such a kid/schmuck in comparison to where Peggy is at that I think it will take him awhile to work out what it was all about.

    He should have helped her with the door now that you bring that up. Lets hope the boy acquires some personal skills in college.

  30. Sal would have loved discussing what Ann-Margret's performance meant in the context of the play. But even he picked up that the other guys were just thinking "what a hotty." While Peggy was thinking "how annoying."

    Peggy's neither Jackie nor Marilyn. Or Ann-Margret or Joan. But she's discovered that she can grab a guy's attention by grabbing his burger. Finding a man to love is no simple task, but she's in no hurry. In the meantime, she'll return to work with new confidence in her power.

  31. I hope someone or some media outlet reaches out to Ann-Margret for an interview or even a comment. Would be nice to hear from the flame-haired ingenue herself about her being the center of an entire Mad Men episode. I bet web searches for her shot up this week.

  32. Peggy is in her 20's. I don't know about you, but when I think of myself at that time in my life, I was "trying on" all sorts of personas, trying to figure out who I was. I also experimented, often awkwardly, with sexuality (including several "there are other things we can do" sessions). Peggy is smart, capable, and is in some ways far more perceptive and attentive than the people around her. She's really LOOKING at the world, not just going with the flow of what is expected of her.

  33. DB, I guess my point in all this is–no, conscious casual sex does not skeeve me in the least.

    How I conduct myself is not to be revealed on this or on any blog. But I can say that as a single woman I am faced with an array of choices as to how to deal with said singleness. These range from 'get none' to 'random sex with strangers' to 'find a friend with benefits' 'attach yourself to someone prematurely so you won't feel like it's casual sex', and a bunch of other along that number line. And what I choose for me is based solely on how it works for me.

    I have no judgment on Peggy. She made a responsible choice, handled herself appropriately and safely. As safely as you can when you are going home with a stranger–which was part of the deliberate choice. Peggy could probably hit up Ken or Paul and not get too much pushback, but that is not where she wanted to go. This guy was nice enough and didn't exhibit any hints of being hostile or misogynistic. Just immature. Honestly, if you're going to pick up a stranger, he was a perfect choice.

    Jeff, I will go back and edit the piece when I get a chance–not right now, but tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for that. (heh. Ham.)

  34. #34

    Rosie, I usually found Ann-Margret mildly-to-moderately annoying in all her roles, not just this one where she was deliberately being so.

  35. I didn't mean to imply that Peggy would meet the same end as the main character in Mr. Goodbar, only that in 10 years the whole "meat market" idea would be part of pop culture.

    I wonder whether Pete would dare use the baby against her. How would the guys react? Would Sal – or Don – punch his lights out? Would they call her a slut? Would they turn on Pete for damaging her reputation? It's a card that has yet to be played.

    • brenda, my point was that the "meat market" may become part of popular culture, but it's deeply disapproved of; so much so that fiction has to kill off any protagonist who dares take a taste.

  36. I thought Ann-Margret's singing in the movie version of Tommy was powerful. It sent (good) chills up my spine. Lightyears away from "Bye Bye BIRD-eee!"

  37. Please, people, it’s “Ann-Margret,” not “Ann Margaret!” Note the missing “a,” and the hyphen. It’s like writing “John Ham,” when you mean the actor, not the lunch meat.

  38. Why did she even bother to pull that ruse in the first place? Is she insecure about her sexuality that she would do such a thing?

    “BTW Ann-Margret was irrepressably annoying—why was it that Peggy was the only one to admit that? She made my ears hurt, not my heart.”

    Ann-Margret was being deliberately annoying. She was spoofing teenage girls infatuated with rock stars. Everyone knows this . . . right?

  39. I agree that Peggy was trying on two sexual personae during this episode because of the pressure of her to conform to the way her coworkers see women. The guys accuse her of being a prude, and Don accuses her of being a lesbian, because she does not want to fit into any male-based fantasy. Of course the woman she is becoming has not been defined yet, especially by ad men.

    The guys try to convince her that women act certain ways because they are "desperate" for men. They were hot for Ann-Margret's woman-child routine, and don't understand how she could be annoyed by it. So she went home, tried it to see if she could feel comfortable with it, and rolled her eyes in disgust when she finished.

    Peggy then watched Joan Harris charm some men at the office. To see if she could be like Joan, she leaves the subway behind and walks into a bar. (BTW when she walks into the bar there is a guy grabbing a hamburger right out of the hands of a woman he is flirting with.) She uses Joan's line about the subway on first the guys she sees. Lo and behold! It works. One of the guys flirts with her, and her face lights up. While they sit down, she downplays herself just as Joan has done in the past. This isn't a right fit for her either, so she leaves in the middle of the night.

    The next morning she shows up to work early knowing that she is not "desperate" for a man. She can handle living by herself on her terms. She has found her fit at work, and that makes her a stronger woman. That strong woman is the new sex symbol, the ad guys just don't know it yet.

    • Don accuses her of being a lesbian


      (BTW when she walks into the bar there is a guy grabbing a hamburger right out of the hands of a woman he is flirting with.)

      Nice catch!

  40. #30 – Deborah, I think he was too dumb to think like that. I'm in my twenties, and unfortunately, there are still a lot of mama's boys like that. Entirely too sheltered, still babied… and as a result, are utterly sweet, goofy, and clueless when it comes to women.

    I bet he was thinking: "Oh wow, she seems smart and pretty and kind of weird, but I'm weird too, and she smells good and we just did . Can I see her again? Wait, she's leaving. Um… stall. Stall. Breakfast? No. No breakfast… oh, you have to do the bottom lock… Oh crap. Now she's gone."

    (This scene is all too similar to what I've experienced in modern-day dating… with engineering guys. Oh yes. The engineering stereotype was playing out long before I ever guessed it had…

    (Fortunately for him, I don't wait for boys to figure out how to talk to girls.)

    I sort of am projecting, I suppose, but he did have his hand on her back as they were snoozing, before Peggy woke up.

  41. Hmm. That should say, "Fortunately for them…"

  42. I wouldn't characterize the protagonist of Mr. Goodbar as "taking a taste." It was less of a story of sexual freedom as it was a story of sexual addiction. We even used it as an illustration of sexual addiction in my college psych course.

    • Melissa, it's the story of a sexually active ("freedom"/"addict"/whatever) woman who is brutally murdered because she is sexually active. It's absolutely about the gender of who does what. Does Michael Douglas end up dead at the end of Fatal Attraction? Does Clint get his just desserts at the end of Play Misty for Me? Of course not. It's always and only women who must be punished for being sexual.

  43. Don tells Peggy to put her tools back in the toolbox, implying at a different sexual orientation. In the context of what Betty said in the previous episode about Sally using tools and becoming a lesbian and discovering Sal's interrupted dalliance, I think his implication was pretty strong.

  44. #50 I am going to rewrite what I just said (maybe it will make sense this time).

    #45 Don accuses her of being a lesbian Wait…when?

    Don tells Peggy to put her tools back in the toolbox, implying that she has a sexual orientation towards women. In the previous episode Betty said Sally was using tools and becoming a lesbian and Don discovered Sal’s interrupted dalliance. This would have been on his mind as he snarled this at her.

  45. The "toolbox" thing might have been a play on words–perhaps the phrase stuck in Don's mind. And we know the showrunners like to play with us.

    But Don has no reason whatever to think that Peggy is a lesbian. He was just telling her not to overthink the ad campaign. He "snarled" because he was preoccupied with home matters. Then she called him a "jerk" when she was sweeping Burger Boy off his feet.

    All of which was forgotten when Don & Peggy met back at the office. He's certainly her superior in the office hierarchy, but they are basically colleagues who respect each others' abilities–& secrets.

    • I didn't hear the 'tools in the toolbox' as calling her a lesbian. I get how it could be interpreted that way, but an interpretation is far from an assumption. It didn't strike me that way at all.

  46. He was just telling her not to overthink the ad campaign.

    That was my interpretation too. When she first reviewed the Patio/Ann-Margret storyboards with him, Don (uncharacteristically) seemed completely uninterested in the product or the direction of the campaign, probably because he had so many other things on his mind at the moment. In fact, Don was pretty dismissive of the whole Patio account. "A soft drink named after a floor." He clearly wasn't going to spend any emotional energy or brain cells on it, at least right then.

    It was a case where Peggy was trying to follow his advice to "feel something," but Don didn't want to bother to scratch below the surface.

    I thought the "leave some tools in your toolbox" comment was actually a sort of compliment, an acknowledgment that Peggy HAS a lot of tools in her toolbox. And, interestingly, it was very a male-oriented metaphor to use — maybe an acknowledgment that Peggy is an intellectual equal to males.

    I'm probably reading way to much into it, but that was my take.

    I love the bit of role reversal here – usually it's Don pushing Peggy to find the emotional connection to the product on a deeper level, and in this case it's Peggy. Ultimately, her pushback is forcing Don to rethink the answer to his question "What do women want?"

    In the end, the student ends up teaching the teacher.

  47. On Peggy and condoms: If girls today feel uncomfortable going into the drugstore to pick up condoms, then girls back in the 1960s would have been even moreso…whether there was a law or not!

  48. It took her some time, but she finally seems to be finding out the kind of woman she is..

    I believe that Peggy is still far from reaching that goal. And this episode proved it to me.

  49. Great thread. Loved Peggy’s sly smile, when she was trying on saying “My boss is a jerk.” Squirmed during the makeout scene, felt that was hitting a little too close to home, the way another Basketcase remarked on squirming during the scene of Peggy aping Ann-Margret in the mirror.
    BTW Ann-Margret was irrepressably annoying—why was it that Peggy was the only one to admit that? She made my ears hurt, not my heart.

    That's not Ann-Margret's genuine singing style. She was faking that shrill, annoying style, because she was spoofing teenage girls. If Peggy was really that bright, one would think she knows this. I knew it when I first saw the movie around the age of 12 or 13.

  50. Rosie, you have said this like a dozen times. Got it. You think you are smart and Peggy is stupid.

    I don't think I'm that smart. But I'm beginning to think that Peggy might be a little stupid.

    • Yes, and by saying it as many times as you've said it/continue to say it, you're really crawling up the wall of indicating that the rest of us are a little stupid too.

      In case you're wondering why I'm sounding exasperated.

  51. It doesn't matter if Peggy knew if that was Ann-Margret's genuine singing style or not. She probably did, but maybe she didn't–she was just trying it on to see if it would work for her. And either way, Ann-Margret attracted the men's attention. And that annoyed Peggy most of all.

  52. Reading through this thread again, it strikes me how brilliantly created a character Peggy is. My first reaction when seeing her in these types of situations is to bemoan her solitary condition, thinking "if only it was a few years later, there would be a feminist movement to help her get her bearings, consciousness-raising groups, magazine articles, books, role models, etc." Instead she has to figure it out by herself, barely knowing what to do or how she's supposed to act.

    But it's not just the period she finds herself in. As I read the reactions here, mostly from people who went through the same situations in eras much later than Peggy, you see that the problems doesn't change. We're still all trying to figure out for ourselves "what does the opposite sex want? How am I supposed to act?" (I include myself in this. If, when I was a college student at the end of the 1970's, the girl I was talking to had just reached over and taken a bite out of my burger, I would have been just as charmed as Peggy's date, relieved by someone who cut through all the nonsense I was trying to figure out.)

    Peggy's both specific to her time and universal, like a Jane Austen heroine.

  53. Ack, that should be "the problems don't change." I hate when I do that! 🙁

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