Aug 252010

You know, I quipped last week about my last koldtbord attracting possible smorgasbord enthusiasts to our shores. The funny thing is, thinking I should link to the meaning, maybe find a different take on the definition, I Googled and the third result was my previous entry. I just realized, in light of this episode that I Googled sounds like something someone might due during a hot episode of a spy show from the ’60s. And away … we go!

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
~Kahlil Gibran

Masturbation is our first and natural form of sexual activity and if that’s inhibited or damaged, then we suffer for the rest of our lives.
~Betty Dodson

Sally plays Solitaire: Sometimes you do have to Google, and trust me that I mean use a search engine, things that you feel a little creepy about. I thought it might be informative to this entry to read about children and what Sally was doing on the couch. It was just sad. For those of you who think Betty was a bitch again, you’re right, but she’s not alone on this even today. I kept on finding sites where parents were freaking out because their little angel was caught masturbating. One parent made a point of mentioning his four-year-old daughter was physically disciplined for it — “the thrashing of a lifetime.” I was pretty much too appalled to read on. The universally held advice from people who don’t recommend beating or exorcism is to tell your child there is nothing wrong with it, but that it’s something they need to go do alone. Make sure there are no prying eyes:

I know people are floating out the idea that Grampa Gene did something bad, but there is no evidence of that, and Sally really is (in this case) at that age. While the kid is stressed beyond belief and that might have also led to the impulse, that’s no different from one of the reasons adults do it. Stop picking on Gene Hofstadt when he’s not here to defend himself, ya’ll!

Gene touched his daughter once because of brain changes. He thought she was his wife. Betty is an adult woman. The man never showed an interest in children. I understand that at the time when we saw Sally hanging around with him that most of us wondered, but the show clearly did not go there, and isn’t going there now. Admittedly, I write this as a woman who didn’t think Peggy was pregnant either, and this knowledge casts a shadow of self-doubt on everything I type…

Betty’s expression when she said Sally and Gene were close spoke to a regret that, while she loved her father, she wasn’t close to him. My grandfather spoiled me me rotten when I was a kid and my mother had a quite different relationship with him. I can only imagine how that felt. What I don’t think Betty’s expression meant is suppressed memories. (Also, yes, Gene would have liked Henry Francis — he has people.)

I’ve seen a lot of talk around wondering what was so stimulating about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Spoiled! All spoiled children! Before the wonders of internet surfing and Skinemax, people used completely innocent T.V. shows and the Sears catalog and we they were happy to have it! Also, that first wave of hormones is something else!

Of course, at the heart of this is hypocrisy. Betty has enjoyed self-gratification as both a child and as an adult, and so the only lecture needed was time and place. By the way, the females are “winning.” The only male who has been seen allegedly, um, holding his own is Paul.

Kiernan Shipka is an amazing little actress and I have to imagine that this was a difficult scene for her, as professional as she is, and for the adults to navigate her through. I wonder if some of this gives her an insight into the weirdness of adults as she has a window into being a child then and now and at the mercies of people who don’t always know what to do — but think they do.

Which leads us to…

There are two things that Jack Bauer never does. Show mercy, and go to the bathroom.
~Kiefer Sutherland

Sally locked herself in the bathroom to cut her hair. Teen boys spend a lot of time locked in the bathroom. When Sally walked out of the bathroom I thought for a second she’d started her period. Interesting that the storyline went where it did instead.

I cut my hair in the bathroom when I was a little younger than Sally. I took a pair of scissors and, instead of using a mirror, used the metallic door to the laundry chute and gave myself the start of bangs. I instantly knew I’d done screwed up. I don’t recall being slapped or spanked, but I’d be surprised if one or both didn’t occur. Not as bad as my fire pretty stage when I set fire to my mother’s bedroom (it was an accident, really), but since I had hair midway down my back that my grandmother would willingly drag a comb through every week rather than cut, not good either. You know, between the mercifully brief arson stage and the bed wetting, I’d only need animal abuse to hit all the markers of a future serial killer. Well, that and male. I did like to dress the Yorkie in doll clothes, but pretty much grew up to be a humble servant to my pets, so really little Daisy the Yorkie got the last laugh.

I really related to Sally. The poor child had two moments last night when she had to dread her mother’s reaction. I don’t know if it’s the case today, but that’s a terrifying thing. Waiting for the ax to drop. Wanting to explain what the hell you were thinking, because you know that’s the first thing she’ll want to know, and not having the ability to say you just lost your mind for a moment. Of course, after the trip to the hairdresser she looked more like Betty.

I think the slap was played right. The reactions. Parents did feel they had the right to do that, but it wasn’t pretty to see or comfortable to be around. The fact that Don was angry, but didn’t take his kids immediately, speaks to how times have changed. Even though you know in households everywhere some parents still think that’s valid discipline. Not even necessarily the same households that would beat a 4 year old for thinking they have some ownership of her own bodies, but the concepts are related.

Do you think Don was disappointed that HE didn’t get slapped? (I kid because I love!)

Hypocrisy II: (Electric Bugaloo) Parents teach their children that their bodies are their own, that no one else has the right to touch them against their will, and yet tell them they have to hug Aunt Suzie or she’ll get her feelings hurt or punish them by hurting them physically. Yes, most of us survived it, but I think a lot of this is why people resent Betty. She reminds us that children are often at the mercy of adults until they reach an age where they can claim full personhood. Betty clearly was also at the mercy of her parents. Betty has no intention of cutting of Sally’s fingers, of course, but even the words speak to a conflict involving ownership vs. guardianship.Β  Are your children your property or are the under your care until they can go out into the world and make their own lives?

If it’s not one thing, it’s a mother…

I’ve seen comments where people take Betty talking to Dr. Edna as proof of her narcissism. Maybe. I’m positive that Dr. Edna, like another doctor in this episode, deliberately drew Betty out, and for good reason. I’m not even saying what others are thinking, that Sally’s problem IS Betty, but that you can’t understand a child until you have some insight into the parents. As School House Rock says:

As your body grows bigger
Your mind grows flowered
It’s great to learn
Cause knowledge is power!

People fling the term narcissism at Betty and don’t think about how people become that way through low self-esteem. They behave like they’re superior because they feel inferior. This is a woman who has more than once expressed the feeling that she wasn’t enough for Don. Narcissists also tend to be the result of a narcissistic parent: overly critical, judgmental, demanding, a perfectionist. Yes, that’s a “watch out, Sally,” but it’s also a chance to reflect on all we know about Betty’s mother. Betty didn’t wake up one day and become self-involved, but was damaged in her own childhood.

Dr. Edna’s best way to help Sally is to help Betty. Treating Sally as if she lives in a bubble and forgetting that she is a minor child who has to leave the office and go home does no real good. Help Betty and you help Sally. Get Don in there and get him on the right track, and help Sally even more. Get angry at Betty all you want, but she’s not the main reason her daughter has a better chance of seeking emotionally distant philanderers.

Betty tells Sally never to do this again — not publicly or privately. She tells Dr. Edna that she knows children do that, but it should be kept private. She tells to another adult things about Sally that she should tell Sally. I often heard little tidbits about myself — how the grown-ups felt about something I’d done or what plans were in store for me — by what they told others.

I’m guessing Dr. Edna doesn’t think Betty is right, but has some sympathy for her. I can relate. To twist around the scene to make Betty the bad guy or to imply Dr. Edna thinks she’s the bad guy is to ignore the acting of both women and the writing.

Roger: In the words of the song: You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

In order to send a man off to kill or be killed, you have to convince him that the cause is a just one. A horrified walk through the Holocaust Museum in D.C. will show you that the Germans had their propaganda machine — and we had ours. The Japanese had their machine too, represented in both their own artwork and in Tokyo Rose broadcasts. Vietnam, as has been mentioned countless times, changed war. The images, the stories, could no longer be managed. It’s for Sally’s generation to see war through different eyes. Roger’s soul, to pick up the Gibran quote, doesn’t dwell in the house of tomorrow. How could they have changed, because he hasn’t? You can’t put all your resources toward telling a man he should hate someone and then, when your purpose in fostering hate is done and lives are lost, think you can put it all back together again. “Never mind. Forget that!”

Roger’s reaction answers the question of how we could have justified internment camps to round up Japanese-Americans.

Of course, I’m pretty much expecting someone to suggest it for our new favorite hated group.

Mrs. Blankenship: Yes, she’s funny, but I simply don’t believe that Don would keep her on. It takes a lot to be worse than Lois. I think one of the reasons we laugh is that we’ve all known an incarnation of this woman. She’s old, she’s working for kids, she’s paid her dues, and you’re lucky if she even pretends to give a crap. She’s more likely to want to diaper Don than she is to want to bang him. (Oh, great, now I have that image in my head — and I don’t hate it.)

Bertram Cooooooper!: These are the details we love. A lot of shows would have let fall by the wayside the knowledge the viewer has of Cooper’s interests and the show would have been weaker for it. Robert Morse was just terrific here, playing his lines beautifully and making me believe that this is a man that understands Japanese culture.

Pete: It’s official — Pete is scared of getting his ass kicked. Did you see his reaction to Roger coming at him and how beautifully it worked with his reaction to Don coming toward him in Season 1? In the later scene I loved him tacking on the “I’m expecting a child line” because it seemed like exactly what someone would say in his place. He was ambivalent about Trudy getting pregnant, but now he’s thinking of his legacy. Pete had always wanted to be a provider, even though it was earlier couched in weird little hunting stories that made Peggy weak in the knees.

Don Still Has Game:
He almost did the wrong thing and then won by making someone else step into that trap. Don succeeded by making the businessmen think he was following the rules when he was thoroughly deceptive. Also, “I’m still wondering what makes you work” still cracks me up.

I Enjoy Being a Girl: Brilliant, but poor Sally.

(Thanks to BestWeekEver.)


  31 Responses to “The Man From Koldtbord: The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.”

  1. I actually understand Betty's reaction to Sally being caught masturbating. To be caught doing it at all was terrible, but 'in public' and 'in front of a friend', even if that friend was asleep. The sheer horror at having the friend's mother bring her home because she obviously isn't fit to be in the woman's home. Considering the mores of the time, and Betty being a self-confessed prude when she was young, it's natural for Betty to wonder what's wrong with Sally, and to worry about her being some sort of sexual deviant. Plus, no parent wants to think of their 10 yr old experiencing some sort of sexual feelngs, even if it's natural.

    Now, smacking her for cutting her hair?? Uh huh. No way. Betty lost major points with me over that one. I'm only about 4 years younger than Sally, and I think it would have been very, very unusual for the parents I knew to slap their child across the face. I know a couple that it happened to, but it always shocked me to hear of it. Spanking, yes. Face slapping, no.

  2. I think Betty was more upset about the fact that someone else caught Sally. The embarrassment factor. "That woman will tell everyone." Her worries about Sally, it seems, are about what other people will think. She's fast, etc. I don't think she's deeply concerned that Sally, inwardly, might be messed up (notwithstanding the fact that hair-cutting and touching yourself aren't out of the ordinary for a child that age), and she's perhaps subconsciously glad to be able to use this against Don.

    I thought it was interesting that Sally's hair ended up looking a great deal like Betty's.

  3. I was more a seventies child than a sixties child, but both slapping and spanking were the norm in my neighborhood. A woman once threatened to beat me with her shoe and my mom confronted her. I was confused as to why, but enjoyed it. Sadly, I think the issue was that the woman was not of our ethnic group, although I'm sure that wasn't the conscious reason. It clearly was not a matter of not thinking anyone had the right to spank her child as I have a clear memory of the guy who lived downstairs from us spanking me at least once, I must have been 3 or four, and my grandmother spanked his son on at least one occasion. I was regularly told, "Keep it up and you'll be spitting up teeth."


    Yes, I think there was an embarrassment factor, but she specifically told Sally not to do it at all. The fact that it was front of people, sorta, just made it worse.

  4. Washing machine scene aside, it is completely in character for Betty to be embarrassed and horrified. In the years before The Joy of Sex and Our Bodies Ourselves, these topics were never discussed in polite company. Just think back to "A Night to Remember" and the subject of Catholic kids dancing too close. If anything, the topic was considered "self-abuse" and Catholic kids were lectured against anything close to it.

  5. I went to a Catholic grade school (1st thru 8th)

    and this was brought up by both the nuns and the priests. They said it was a mortal sin. A mortal sin is one where if you don't confess it and make penance, you will go straight to hell when you die. (At least that's what they were telling us kids then in the late 50's, early 60's) I forgot what they called it, never masturbation, but we all knew what they were talking about.

    So every time I did it, I knew I was going to hell because I'd never have the nerve to confess it to a priest.

    I imagine the shame that Sally felt will leave an indelible mark on her.

    #1 Jules, slapping and spanking were very common in my working-class neighborhood.

  6. Fellow BoK and Maddicts, with all due respect, sometimes it is necessary to discuss Grandfather Gene because the episodes and scripts of Mad Men depict Gene differently than Matthew Weiner does when interviewed and making commentaries. Of course all this is fiction. MW has been quoted as saying Gene is based on his own grandfather. MW has never been the least specific as to what aspects of Gene's behavior were based on fact and what are the creative invention of the MM staff.

    It has been written here and in other places to the effect there is no basis to think Grandpa Gene did anything wrong. Can we assume that refers to molestation? Grandpa has been shown doing a lot of inappropriate things, some of which are unethical, they are illegal. Case in point, teaching Sally to drive!

    I wish those who defend Grandpa Gene could sit in court with me following trials of child molesters. Common to those people is a process called "grooming" These are a series of seemingly innocent acts, somewhat inappropriate, intended to gain the trust and confidence of the child.

    Given how much I love Mad men and marvel at the top quality of writing led by Matt Weiner, I sure hope somehow they missed the grooming aspects.

    Seriously, something besides having a beauty queen as a mother turned Betty into the delight she is in MM.

    Betty slapped Helen Bishop in public, apparently without any consequences. Although in 1965 some parts of Ossining were home to working families, Betty lives in an up-scale community.

    How fascinating that in an early episode when Sally was wearing the plastic dry cleaning bag, Betty expressed concern her clothing was on the floor, saying if so Sally was going to be sorry without being specific.

    In a later episode Betty catches Sally smoking. There was no slapping or spanking. Instead Sally was forced into a closet. In another episode Betty demanded that Don spank Bobby. Don refused, saying something about that being unnecessary.

    Dr. Ben Spock flip-flopped from edition to edition about spanking, but he always cautioned of the dangers of face slapping.

  7. @5, I'll wager they called it "self abuse".

    Thank you for this lovely post; it is so true. Sally has a lot of misery ahead of her, and sadly psychiatry probably isn't going to help any. It sure as hell didn't help me, at around this same time (though I was a bit younger than Sally). Oh, I needed help, all right, but I sure as hell didn't get it from the gloomy, ancient old man in his dark office, me sitting there in that Danish modern chair tracing the woodgrain with my finger and desperately wanting to be anywhere else. Ugh. The message was: "there's something terribly wrong with you, now WHAT IS IT?"

    Hopefully Dr. Edna's a little better than that. But really, what Sally needs is obviously not going to be forthcoming, from either of her hopelessly damaged parents. Remember Faye? "I'm pretty sure that if you love her, and she knows it, she'll be fine". That may or may not be true, but it would be a start. Not going to happen from either of them, though.

    Sally's going to be a mess by 1970. Maybe she can get an abortion referral from Joan.

  8. I think one thing we need to discuss is the sexualization of Sally's life now. Her father is dating, her mother is bedding a new man. She cuts her hair to look more like the attractive babysitter who she thinks is sleeping with her father. If she looks more attractive or older (or maybe misbehaves enough?) daddy might pay more attention to HER. Betty and her new husband seem to be enjoying marital bliss, and I'm sure Sally has "heard" a few things, being that she's just down the hall. It has to be confusing to her, this whole "sex business". I felt so bad for Betty's reaction to Sally's masterbation and find it intersting she and Don blame each other's lifestyle for causing her to explore her own body.

  9. Glass Darkly, thank you for another lovely post!

    Re the cutting of one's own hair in childhood:

    That aspect of the show was so interesting.

    I too "only wanted long hair" (I thought it looked princessy), but my mother thought all those little girls with long hair would be too much trouble. She cut it herself. My photos, one Picture Day after another, are of a little blond kid with wavy, jagged bangs.

    My younger sister wanted long hair so bad, she used to walk around with a towel on her head. She'd see my mom coming with the scissors and run, both hands over her head. It was a losing battle. Mom got us all in the end.

    Years later, as a stepmom, I have a tall, lovely 14-year-old with a past habit of cutting her own hair. She'd do it all the time, when she was around six or seven: Grab the scissors, cut. Put the bangs in her little pink purse from Chinatown.

    Her dad and I go to pick her up for dinner, and her mom says to one of us: "Don't mention the hair." And down the stairs comes the kid, bangless.

    Why? "I couldn't see."

    Kids do all kinds of things, for all kinds of reasons. Most of them aren't pathological, or even emulative. Sometimes they make the funniest little-kid sense in the world. πŸ™‚

  10. @8–Sally definitely wanted to be pretty for Daddy, as I'm sure Betty did when she was younger…and as many young girls do. Let me stop before I get all Freudian!

    Great post, nice humor, pics, and videos! I love how Yamaguchi totally resists any negativity or anger about the past…all optimisim, smiles and success stories for her. Sheesh.

    @7 I'm not sure Sally will be a "mess." Also abortions don't necessarily mean someone is a mess.

  11. "Sometimes you do have to Google, and trust me that I mean use a search engine, things that you feel a little creepy about… "

    My 10 yr old wants to be the predator from 'Alien vs Predator' for Halloween. I found myself Googling "child predator costumes". Yikes.

    Love this episode!

    Love this blog!

    Love this post!

  12. In no particular order:

    After threatening to cut off Sally's fingers Betty goes back to bed and, in explaining to Henry what was going on, said she was just "mortified." (Another death reference.) Always, always for Betty it's about what "everyone" will think, as many have said. But "mortified" stood out for me — both for the "causing death" meaning and also for the secondary meaning of "mortify" being about disciplining the body/suppressing desire.

    Betty's emotion in Dr. Edna's office read to me as her own grief over her father's death, not about how much Sally misses her grandfather, however much Sally actually might be missing Gene. (And totally off topic, but I was a bit distracted in that scene by the circle broach Betty was wearing that was pinned nearly at the top of her right shoulder. Was the placement of the pin typical then? Most of the women at SCDP wear broaches lower, more where the point of a collar would be or the edge of a lapel, not so high on the shoulder. Probably meaningless, but I got to wondering.)

    Finally, face slapping wasn't uncommon in my 60s-70s neighborhood either. Especially for sass that crossed the line and other disrespect, but not so much for something like Sally's haircutting transgression. For something like that, it would have been a "why" fest at my house with at least an hour spent sitting on the child's bed talking, but wouldn't have been a smacking offense.

    Like Sally shrouded in the dry cleaning plastic … or Betty's whipping the picnic blanket up and flinging trash and litter everywhere when they were packing up to go home, it wasn't anything all that surprising then. At least in my corner of the world.

  13. I am the child of a barely-landed-on-the-shore-before-he-was-born immigrant family father…and blue collar to boot. Slapping and spanking of 8 boisterous kids was a daily happening at our house – not all kids, not every day, but ONE kid got smacked for SOMETHING every day. And we also went to Catholic elementary school…

    While it's not something I enjoyed, I survived, as did my siblings. We're not slappers or spankers in our lives now as parents, altho we *do* a lot of screaming when they get our…goats…

    It was what was done. For better or worse, we learned to not piss the parents off. πŸ˜‰

  14. Peggy does not appear much in the episode, but her splendid scene doing circles in the studio on her Honda motorcycle is the most iconic, and bears the series poster colors: red, white and black. Thanks for posting it here.

  15. Re Mrs. Blankenship: Do we really know if she's bad at her job? Sure, she's loud and inappropriate and sets Don's teeth on edge, but I can't believe she's a Lois. She's smart enough to do the Times crossword in ink, so she must be sharp enough to know her job. And Don hasn't fired her, so she must be doing well enough so that Don will continue to endure the rest.

  16. @10, abortions at 15 (which is what Sally will be in 1970) do, however, qualify as "a mess". So do teenaged drug overdoses. That poor girl is in trouble. Unless you think Don and Betty are magically going to turn into warm, loving parents anytime soon. And love is the only thing that can save her. Unfortunately there is none available for her.

    I've got my eye on Creepy Glen. He's got something available for her. I don't think anybody's going to like what it is.

  17. @Melville. I think she actually has the skills to be good at her job, but just doesn't care. Her Give-A-Damn is busted. I think maybe even Don knows he should do penance.

  18. Mrs. Blankenship is probably hard-of-hearing; that's why her voice is unsuitably loud. And why she misses some things.

    She also has an accent; most of the actors on the show do not. In those times, we would be hearing a bit of Brooklyn from Peggy & lock-jawed upper class accents from some of the others. But not all actors can handle accents well & I believe Weiner dropped that bit of accuracy in favor of "generic American" for most. I'd find accurate accents for all quite fascinating, but not necessary to tell the story. And many younger viewers might actually find them offputting.

    About corporal punishment. I was raised on Dr Spock but Mom was not a Fundamentalist. (And it was hard for her to raise 3 kids without a father.) Spankings were earned. She did not slap us because she was angry. There was occasional tension at the dinner table, although we were pretty good eaters; but that meant watching the liver grow even colder & more horrid as I sat there–not having food shoved into my mouth.

  19. I know that corporal punishment of any kind is shocking to modern eyes, but Betty hasn't been shown to use it more than the average mother of her time.

    And, until VERY recently, we hadn't seen her use it arbitrarily, when no correction was warraned. It was just a more severe correction than most people today would deem appropriate.

    That's why I assume that Sally had asked for short hair before, and been told no. That's added to by the fact that the merits of short versus long hair for Sally are something Betty already has a thought-out, articulated position on. It strikes me as unlikely that she would, if the subject had ever come up before.

    I also think that while Betty IS concerned what the neighbors will think about her as a mother, she is also concerned about how what the neighbors think will affect Sally herself. I think it goes without saying that Betty believes Sally's life will be harder if he has to live down a reputation as a "fast" girl. And it makes sense that she would want Sally to have the social benefits that looking your best can bring.

    Now on to the anecdotes. I always wanted long hair as a little girl, but Mom insisted on a pixie cut. She went so far as letting me tell my aunt (who had a beautician's license and cut our hair) that I was growing it out and just wanted a trim, and then taking her aside and giving her instructions on how she wanted it. I held that against my aunt for years, and although I let it go, it wasn;t until after she passed away that my mother told me the truth. I asked her why she did it, and she just shrugged and said, "I though it looked cute that way."

    As soon as I was old enough to refuse a cut, I let it grow down to my waist. I was fourteen when I had my Sally moment on a hot June night when I got sick of it falling in my face. We didn't have money for a beauty parlor, though, so I had to live with it for a while.

  20. It's awful to know that parents are still freaking (and acting) out about something as normal as masturbation. But it doesn't surprise me because I am a teacher and I hear a lot about what goes on at home….

  21. I dunno, maybe I was a particularly perceptive child or something (although I highly doubt it). By the time I was Sally's age, I was doing wha she was doing, but it never would have occurred to me in a million years to do it in front of someone else, even if the other person was sleeping. I mean, sleeping people have this habit of waking up. And in someone else's living room, there's always a chance someone else will walk in. Nobody had to tell me that – it was just common sense. I sought complete privacy, because it was nobody else's business.

  22. Before Don can replace Mrs. Blankenship, he has to convince Joan that he has learned his lesson and deserves a new secretary. After Lois (or was it Jane?), Joan filled in for Don until a permanent replacement could be found. Don and Joan actually have a good relationship, and Don is probably willing to endure Mrs. Blankenship not just to do penance for Allison but to avoid damaging his relationship with Joan (or to repair whatever damage the Allison fiasco did). Contrary to what Roger thinks, I believe that Don does value relationships but he intentionally avoids them because they scare him. Anyway, despite her faults, Mrs. Blankenship is still in the top half of Don's secretaries. She has yet to break up any marriages or cause anybody in account to lose the ability to play golf again.

  23. Sally was shown much earlier as having sexual awareness. Remember the scene in S2 when she and Bobby burst in their parents’ room one morning, and catch them in the act. Don had to shout repeatedly “Out!” because Sally was just standing and looking at them disapprovingly with her hands on her hips. Catching your parents in the act (or fantasizing about it) is what Freud called the “primal scene”. A few episodes later, at the office she asks Paul Kinsey about his girlfriend’s picture, and inquires if he kisses her, then if he lies on top of her. (Paul declined to answer).

    Right now, Sally is in full blown Oedipal phase, the phase when little girls say that they want to marry their daddy. his happens to her at a very bad time indeed, since her parents are divorced and Don does not seem to spend much time with her. She even expresses downright jealousy when she learns that he is going out with a “girl”: “I don’t like that”, to which he answers “You don’t have to”, which must have felt quite cold to her. After he leaves, she cuts her hair, to be “more pretty”, probably hoping that her father will spend more time with her if she enhances her beauty. So, it is not so surprising that she would get aroused by a grown man on a TV show (of course it does not mean at all that she is really and even less consciously aroused by her father or any other man that she actually interacts with – it is just in keeping with the way psychoanalysis describes early sexual awareness).

  24. I don't think Betty acts the way she does because Gene molested her. Both of her parents were, not to put too fine a point on it, psychologically abusive of her. Her mom making her walk five miles home every day because she wasn't thin enough for them? And Gene endorsing it? They were cold, cold, cold people. Maybe Gene found it in him to be nice to Sally, but that was much later on, after much water under the bridge.

    Also, in those days, a girl's "reputation" would follow her around for the rest of her life, given the fact that young women were still mostly expected to be at least engaged by the time they were 21. Betty flipped out at the idea that word would get out about this and therefore, Sally would never be able to get married and would be a LOSER FOREVER. Remember that scene in Ladies' Room with the car wreck? Her greatest fear was that Sally would have a scar and that she'd never be able to have a good life without a perfect face. Betty has no idea what's coming, as far as the social fabric is concerned.

  25. Glass Darkly, my compliments on one of The Great Posts. And great followup.

    Some more anecdotal nothingness on my own memories of that time. I am about Sally's age and when I was 10 I have a few very clear memories, among them: watching Gomer Pyle and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with my dad every week, and receiving The Book from my mom. I know she was hoping this would relieve her of having to do much in the way of The Talk. But I read this ridiculous book which was so full of obfuscated code that I was clueless in the end. And then she hands me this kit full of various feminine hygiene products which is supposed to make perfect sense now. Nope, she was obliged to have The Talk after all as I was terribly confused. One thing I remember (and yes I have a point) from the book, though, was a very brief paragraph entitled "Masturbation and Homosexuality". It was basically saying these are deviant behaviors we don't need to discuss. I wish I knew where that book was; I'd love to see it again.

  26. I have a narcissistic mother, and my mother relationship with her is challenging at best. Years of therapy helped me to see that I was loved, in spite of those challenges. Sally is an emodiment of a little girl lost insearch of being little girl found. Faye said it simply to Don when she said "if you love her, and she knows that, I think she'll be fine." That will be Don's mental homework of things to do for his kids. Hopefully Betty will learn something about herself from Dr. Edna.

  27. @ C Carroll Adams

    If we want to talk about repression: what about a society in which people of different generations can't have relationships — let alone a relationship between grandfather and granddaughter — because of the always sneaking suspicion of "that"?

  28. #27 lapelosa, I totally agree. I had the most wonderful relationship with my grandfather until he died when I was 10. It was very much like Sally's with Grandpa Gene. His love, and Grandma's, was unconditional. It pains me to see this sort of connection is now sometimes discouraged by suspicious minds.

  29. @ 19 not Bridget-Some people try to get rid of accent, if they think that giving ip up will help them in their professional life. I have no problem believing that Peggy had one at one point, but lost it, possibly during secretarial school. We know that Paul had a Jersey accent, but probably tried to stop using it during his time at Princeton.

    @ 27 lapelosa and 28 Josie-I completely agree. This is not to say that incest doesn't happen, because I know it does, and it is a very serious thing, but it is also possible to have a loving relationship with a grandparent that is not sinister. My cousins and I were all very sad when our grandfather died, because we all loved him.

  30. @25/Bestbets — I learned about sex from historical romances with the girl down the street, Brandy, filling in some gaps. I learned about my period and to expect it from another girl, Jill. I woke up one morning feeling crampy, pulled down my panties, saw, and thought, "okay, so this is it." Tossed my panties down into the laundry where my grandmother must have found them. Proceeded to tell all my friends and complain about cramps. Called home later on it the day, just to check in, and my mother asked me if I'd gotten my period. Yep. That was the talk, the whole talk. Occasionally my grandmother would tell my mother I wasn't feeling well and you could hear the quotation marks and added subtext.

  31. #Glass Darkly and #BestBets,

    Oh god talk about bad memories! I started "the curse" in school. My older sisters already had it but I was still not prepared for it. During recess in the eighth grade, I went to the bathroom and stayed in the stall for what seemed like hours because I didn't know what to do! A nun came looking for me, gave me some sort of pad and sent me to Mother Superior's office. She called my mother who promptly came to pick me up. Horribly embarrassing.

    I always envied boys for not having to go through this suffering. They never had to worry about having an accident if you were a little unprepared at that time of the month. It seemed like they could be so much more carefree.

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