What do women want?

 Posted by on April 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm  Season 5
Apr 252012
 

Don Draper: What do women want?
Roger Sterling: Who cares?
——Episode 1.02: Ladies Room

Roger Sterling is the living body of entitlement. He doesn’t care what women want; they exist only in his orbit. Joan shouldn’t dress in pajamas when she’s hanging around the house—what if he stops by and wants to see her in a nightie? Even with a prostitute, if he wants something that’s against her rules, he finds a way (money) to get what he wants anyway.

So, dropping acid (“turning on,” LOL your quaint sixties expressions) with Jane was the first time he listened to her, really listened. Maybe it was the first time he listened to any woman.

A long time ago I was editor of a consumer newsletter and we did an issue on clothing. I read an article about the meaning of hats and headgear. What you wear on your head represents your true self. That’s why, for example, an Arab can wear a business suit and a keffiyeh, or J.R. Ewing can wear a business suit and a Stetson, and look dignified: The headgear represents their true nature. By contrast, tourists donning the headgear of the place they’re visiting look ridiculous—their head can’t truly be anywhere but where they’re really from.

Roger listens to Jane. Really listens. And in doing so, he puts on her headgear. They lay together, wearing the same pink turbans (hers) and it’s a meeting of minds, physically as well as emotionally. He is in her headgear because he is in her thoughts, hearing her, knowing her. They are intimate, head-to-head, mind-to-mind.

(Thanks to Kevin Lee for the perfect screenshot to accompany this.)

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  71 Responses to “What do women want?”

  1. By contrast, tourists donning the headgear of the place they’re visiting look ridiculous—their head can’t truly be anywhere but where they’re really from.

    This is lovely, and so true.

    The perfect touch in a beautiful post. 🙂

  2. Fascinating. Never would have occurred to me, but you’re spot on.

  3. In the season premiere Roger tells Don, regarding Megan and Jane, “They’re all nice girls. Until they want something.” Don and Roger haven’t been spending much time thinking about what the women in their lives truly want and perhaps find the notion a little threatening. Megan has told Don, both in Signal 30 recently and in Hands and Knees, that she wants to do what Don and Peggy do. But like he journalled in The Summer Man, even though people tell you who they are we choose not to believe it b/c we want them to be who we want them to be.
    Conversely, the women in Roger and Don’s lives haven’t been all that great at voicing their needs until the situation comes to a breaking point, like the orange sherbet scene at HoJos. (I know I’m guilty of wanting my husband to be a mind reader.)

    Yet I still remain hopeful, especially for Don. Even a little for Roger, after this episode. (Also for my husband!)

    • If I had remembered that quote, I’d have tied it in. Very astute.

      • Thanks and thank you for this post. I”m feeling extra appreciative of the Lipp Sisters on this, Roberta’s birthday.:)
        (I love watching and rewatching the Mad Men season premieres. Anyone else? They’re always so full of tantalizing little hints and clues!)

    • Thank you for bringing this “…even though people tell you who they are we choose not to believe it b/c we want them to be who we want them to be” forward.

      Mad Men is so well executed, that upon reflection many months later there are artful details.

      Well done.
      R,

    • This is a nice post Deb and great add lizzief. I also think about Dr. Faye’s observation about what we want v what’s expected of us.

      When we are alone (i.e. Joan) we wear what we want, when we are in public we wear what’s expected of us.

      Here’s betting we tend to listen better when we are in comfortable clothes (and hat)

      (By the way, what does it say when you hardly ever wear hats and always feel out of place in any hat!)

  4. That “Roger listens to Jane. Really listens” is true. But, consistent with your characterization of Roger, I’d add that he mainly hears what he wants to hear. Specifically, that Jane also thinks their marriage is over.

    • Leave it to you, Matt, to find the part of this observation I failed to see. 😉

    • Roger may have been better toward Jane during their LSD trip than his usual “shup up” verbal abuse, but I saw it as Roger not listening to Jane at all. I read the episode as Jane hoping to save the marriage and using the LSD experience to be heard and connect and Roger viewing it as a way out. Of course I could be wrong.

      • Jane hoped it would save their marriage, and Roger went in with no hopes or expectations at all, just cynicism. But they both agreed, during the trip, that their marriage had been over for quite some time. The difference was, the next morning, she wanted to dial back on it.

        • Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

          • So true! At first I viewed this as complete annoyance with Roger. First his betrays Mona and then he betrays Jane by not being committed to the second marraige any more than the first. But Jane may indeed be better off. She is young and smart and may have a chance to marry someone better.

  5. In warm weather when I’m not in the office — and at home some of the time all year ’round — I wear a bandana to keep my hair out of my face. My friends like to tease me a bit, but it works for me. There are two other big reasons I wear them: I have fond memories of my mother wearing them when I was small, and I was called a “campesina” — a country girl — when I wore them in Costa Rica. The young women who told me this asked me why I wore them, since in their experience only country girls wore them. They laughed to hear that I did indeed grow up on farms, that I’m proud of my upbringing.

    I wear other hats rarely. The theory works for me.

  6. I keep getting a Stieg Larsson vibe this season. The theme so far could easily be “Men Who Hate Women”–and I don’t see that changing much as the season finale approaches.

  7. I thought he was still tripping so he didn’t notice what he had on his head or wonder how it got there. Jane and Roger looked to me like a pair of matchsticks. Good thing this is your blog and not mine because I don’t see a fraction of what you do!

  8. In a previous post I expressed the hope that the producers of Mad Men would NOT in future episodes sweep the abandonment of Megan Draper under the rug or the reasons that precipitated the fight that led Don to act so irrationally and immature. Yes, they have carte blanche but I would see it as intellectually dishonest if they did so. Instead I think they should either stage a scene or by future dialogue between Don and Megan, perhaps when they are in the car together, indicate to the audience that they have had this conversation and that Don has agreed to Megan’s terms and that Don getting on his knees and grabbing Megan’s waist for dear life at the end of episode 6 was to be taken seriously and not simply a cheap ploy to get her back on his side again.

    And in this imaginary discussion and in terms of the topic of this thread here is how I think the conversation would go and what Megan would tell Don she wanted from him or expected of him.

    First Megan would point out the joke that the honeymoon is over is no longer a joke. The honeymoon is over, and that they like all couples have reached this crossroad in their marriage. But she loves him as much as ever and he hopes he loves her none the less.

    Then she would remind Don how pissed off she was for leaving her at HJ and if he abandons her again in that manner their marriage will be over. And then she will remind Don if he cheats on her even once the same applies.

    Then I see Megan telling Don she was sorry about bringing up his mother and that they had to agree not to discuss either set of parents ever unless it was initiated by the other party. Megan would never bring up Don’s mother or father again.

    Then I see Megan focusing on the main cause of the fight which is the blur of her being an employee at SCDP and Don’s wife. She would then lay out that at the office he must allow her autonomy, to stake out her own career and not interfere with her activities or responsibilities while she is working. If he did not agree to these terms she would leave SCDP and that could mean the end of their marriage as well. Hands off at work, Don.

    And then Megan would tell Don she would decide when they would have children and bring up the fact of the fight in their apartment–do you want children witnessing that?

    And then I could see Don bringing up what Bert Cooper told him about “love leave” being over. And I could see Megan nodding her head in agreement.

    Yes, this scenario may NOT play out this way in TV land but in real-life I could see it unfolding in this manner. Megan is forthright in what she wants from Don and would hold nothing back. It will be up to Don if he agrees to these terms or not.

    • Good fanfiction!
      Unfortunately, not only do they work for the same small company, he is her boss. This is a deal-breaker and generally considered bad for business and office morale (for good reason). When I worked in a marketing department where a couple married and the man was the woman’s boss, the situation was resolved by the man moving over to a different job so they were no longer in a vertical work relationship. It was still awkward at times for the rest of us, but not as much as if he were still her boss. They also handled it maturely 99% of the time. Don and Megan lack maturity.
      IRL there would be constant, loud grumbling and discomfort over Don and Megan being married. It’s called nepotism and it’s a bad thing.

      • Don would be forced by Megan to grow up. And don’t forget Don ignored Megan for most of season four. Even when he was asking her to accompany him to CA to look after the kids, he was all business. To me this is the easy part.

        The harder part for Don imho would be to control his temper and his sometime emotional instability and to try to avoid toxic behavior patterns in his private relationship with Megan.

        I disagree that Megan lacks maturity. What she lacks now is the will to leave Don because she still loves him.

        • If she were really mature she would have answered the phone and not put the safety chain on the door. Also, she probably would have just gone back to their room and waited for Don to either come back or not, and gone home the next day had he not. I have changed my perspective on this since Sunday night. At first I was all “You go girl!” but now I feel she behaved badly as well. Not as badly as he did, but not maturely either.

    • Well, the writers of Mad Men prefer a more oblique approach. Which is one reason I enjoy the show so much.

      However, how easy would it be for Megan to “leave” Don? She could move out & look for another job. I doubt she’s got the portfolio for anything higher than secretarial work–not that there’s anything wrong with that. We saw Betty railing against the divorce laws of New York State. Adultery–with evidence–is one of the few grounds for divorce. Even if both parties are in agreement, they get their lawyers to handle the details & the one with more time goes to Reno.

      Don is definitely the one who needs to work on his role at the job–& Megan’s role there. The latter factor is the wellspring for their worst disagreements. She has no right to ask for “autonomy.” Rather, she needs to be treated like a new hire–expected (& allowed) to put in the hours needed. And her superiors–Peggy or Don–need to critique her work honestly. Don did not handle Peggy with kid gloves; that’s how she learned her job.

  9. There is an old saying of what the sexes want out of a marriage relationship (more likely to be the case in 1966):

    Men want sex; women want security.

    In television or any broadcast media certain true-to-life concepts are easier to show such as the sex act and words and signals of affection among the couple but when it comes to showing women staying with a man to feel secure, that is a much harder idea to communicate on screen. Sure TV writers can keep harping on the theme that a woman married a man for his money but the idea of security in real life goes far beyond financial security but in many cases the characterization of many marriages is NOT totally accurate. And in the case of Megan Draper I do think she married Don because she loved him but also because he could provide her a full blanket of security that he felt she needed at the time.

    In addition to financial security, here are other aspects of marriage that a husband can provide for his wife and many of them also apply to Megan Draper imho:

    a) Security of class/status that a marriage brings

    b) Security that the children would not lack the necessities of life

    c) Security that a wife’s shortcomings would be masked by her husband’s strengths in those areas

    My own mother married my father because she was naive or unsophisticated to the ways of the world and he knew where all the pitfalls lay.

    d) Security of person–if you are a man you probably don’t grasp this as deeply as women do

    That was why the abandonment of Megan by Don was such a devastating act, even if it were a work of fiction.

    e) Security of her career (specially important to Megan who knew by marrying Don she would have a leg-up to advance in SCDP) Megan has not hidden her ambition from Don.

    f) Security of being loved and not being alone

    g) Security of routine (marriage gives women fewer options of where they spend their time)

    h) Security of piggybacking on your husband’s success (hitching one’s wagon to a star)

    i) Security of life after marriage (divorce, widowhood)

    j) Security of never having to date again

    I thought one of the greatest move lines of all time was in the movie When Harry Met Sally when supporting characters played by Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby has this brief scene in bed in which Carrie thanked Bruno for taking her off the market and for her never having to go through the trials and tribulations of dating again.

    • I can see Betty wanting a lot of the points you are making but not Megan as much. Then again, we the viewers were not given the time to really see Megan as her own person prior to the marriage. Everything in S5 seems to be pointing more towards Megan being a much more modern, independent woman – I certainly don’t see her as a character who would tolerate a bad marriage for the sake of securities you mention.

  10. The matching pink headgear made me wonder about color symbolism and the metaphysical aspects of it.

    This link about pink, in gems and crystals, offers some interesting clues …
    http://crystal-cure.com/pink.html

  11. “Even though people tell us who they are, we choose not to believe it because we want them to be what we want them to be.”

    To put the quote from Don’s journal in context, Don wrote it to explain the behavior and actions of Bethany Von Nuys who was set up on a blind date with Don by Jane Sterling.

    Interestingly on learning that Don was engaged the first name that popped into Betty’s mind was Bethany Von Nuys and not the idea Don would marry someone at the office.

    Another quote pertaining to the same subject came from Anna’s niece Stephanie who after asking Don if he dates after his divorce and they ply each other with questions who said this in Season 4 episode 3 The Good News:

    “Nobody knows what’s wrong with themselves and everybody can see it right away.”

    This may sound crude but because of Don’s ample experience with hooking up with a wide variety of women, he has a pretty good idea of women’s intentions, whether they are only interested in casual sex, whether they are mistress material, and how serious they are in getting married or not getting married.

    Before Betty divorced Don, he had no reason to think deeply on the subject but in season four he saw it in his vested interest to scrutinize the subject a lot closer.

    Did Don come to a better understanding why it would never have worked out between him and BVN or Faye Miller? I think he did. And what they wanted from him he could neither deliver nor did he want to deliver. Don may have been headed for the abyss but he never fooled himself into thinking the women that he knew were any different than he thought them to be.

    Since the start of the series, Megan was the first woman he really tried to dissuade to be interested in him, not because he was not attracted to her but had never gone to bed with this type of woman before and therefore was NOT sure of the lay of the land. Imagine the old Don Draper asking a woman if he could knock on her door the next night. No way, Jose.

    In other words, Don knew after they slept for the first time in CA that Megan wanted him which I believe he found it impossible to believe considering his track record. But the problem with the Draper marriage imho stems from the premise that Don was NOT curious enough to dwell on what other needs he satisfied for Megan. Megan kept telling Don she wanted to pursue a career in advertising. I think after the last episode I think he finally clicked into that reality. Megan is who she says she is. But so were BVN and Faye who told Don who they were as well but fell short.

  12. You would think that Madison Avenue ad men would be the last people who would feel compelled to go down this road, that they would consistently have their ear to the ground and the female pulse of America.

    Having said that could the folks on Mad Men or in real life be barking up the wrong tree and asking the wrong question? I think they could be and here are imho more appropriate questions to ask which would elicit more useful information?

    a) What does a particular female demographic want? You might find that it differs depending if they can still produce babies or not or if they are single or married.

    b) Do women’s needs evolve over time?

    c) Are women’s needs tied to what a male they are in a relationship with needs?

    d) What needs for a woman are fulfilled within marriage?

    e) What does a woman need from her job?

    f) Do women inherit what they perceive they need from their mothers?

    g) Can women be convinced by ad men they don’t need something?

    h) Can female role models convince females they need something?

    i) Do the various moods of a female affect what she thinks she needs?

    j) Do women need God?

    • The question is only generated by thinking that women aren’t human; it others women. What do humans want? Do human’s needs evolve over time? Do the various moods of humans affect what they think they need? Do humans need God?

      It’s a bullshit question asked by privileged men who treat women as if they are NOT human and then are left confused. It’s born of Don’s alienation and Roger’s entitlement.

      • The next time I hear a man bitch about not being able to understand women (his boss, his wife, his daughter, his mother, potential dates, etc.) I’m going to use this:

        “It’s a bullshit question asked by privileged men who treat women as if they are NOT human and then are left confused.”

        I’m pretty sure that’s the end-all, be-all of it. Thanks for the new perspective, Deb.

      • + 1 googol

        My Blame-O-Meter is sensing a trend.

      • I had a friend who was very upset at being called a bitch by a man while walking her dog (apparently she didn’t move out of the way to let him pass). I told her that when she hears a man call a woman that, what he’s really saying is that he’s a weak insecure man who doesn’t know to not be threatened by a strong, secure woman who’s willing to stand up for herself.

        Totally changed her…now she takes it like a compliment.

      • And it’s Deborah Lipp for the win!

      • Never have I agreed with you more, Deb. The division between men and women is the most tiresome, inane topic. Enough. Somebody had to say it. Thank you.

      • Deborah,

        Brilliantly put!! “Otherizing” is a way of dehumanizing.

    • Congratulations!

      In this case, a ten round Socratic beat down has successfully exposed the fallacy embedded in the original question.

      The streak starts here.

      Well played?

  13. The women on Mad Men are fascinating from a male perspective and imho so complex they do not in general fit into a specific category but I am going to try to depict the number one thing each lady wants or needs the most:

    a) Peggy Olson

    Peggy Olson is all about RESPECT. She craves respect from her mother, Don, wants respect from her colleagues, clients and the advertising industry and finally respect from the man she chooses to be with.

    b) Joan Harris

    I have a very difficult time watching Joan on screen and trying to figure out what motivates her on a daily basis. At one moment, she is the efficient, sometimes bossy female overseer at the office, the next minute she wants to engage in a steady affair with a married man, then has casual flings with men she meets at a bar, then she moves on to wanting to be a dutiful wife to her man, and finally she wants to become a mother to a baby whose father is not her husband. And despite her many ventures into different arenas she remains confident, stands up for her rights and seems to know her own mind. She seems to roll with the punches very well. What do I think about her decisions? All I know is she takes ownership of them and never shifts the blame to someone else? But she is not the happy homemaker type like Trudy or Betty who lives for the day she can live in the suburbs. But if I were to chose one word that describes what Joan Harris thinks she needs is VALIDATION, that whatever she is doing at a given time is important and worthwhile.

    c) Betty Francis

    Don’s former wife is also a complex character but because she has made her home in the suburbs from the start of the Mad Men series, I think we can learn what Betty needs by examining the environment in which she lives. Betty definitely lives a middle to upper middle class lifestyle or is accustomed to it and we are led to believe she is never financially strapped. Contrary to what others write on blogs, I don’t see Betty as a bad mother, but I don’t see her having a super-maternal instinct either. From what I have observed from the beginning of the series, Betty lacks steady attention from both her husbands. They do NOT cater to her needs because simply they are too busy with their jobs. Betty should be married to someone who works out of their home but I don’t know how common that would have been in the 1960’s.

    If I could sum up what I think Betty feels she needs it would be DEVOTION from her husband and her kids. Remember Gene called her his little princess. He treated her special.

    d) Trudy Campbell

    From the beginning of the series Trudy Campbell has NOT worked outside the home and has been fairly obsessed with having children and living in the suburbs. Unlike Betty she seems to always put on a happy face but we rarely get to see her interacting with other females in the community as we saw Betty doing in previous seasons. The one thing you do know about Trudy is she wants her husband Pete to succeed in a big way and feels she is a big part of his team often giving him advice on what moves he should conducts his affairs at work. To say she lives life vicariously through her husband would not be a stretch.

    Thus I see Trudy’s number one desire is to become THE POWER BEHIND THE THRONE akin to Rasputin or Cardinal Richelieu.

    e) Megan Draper

    Megan Draper is super-ambitious and appears to know what she wants to be: an advertising copywriter or creative director career-wise and a supportive wife as well. She believes she can do both and thrive in both endeavors. This may be a product of hopeful naivete or it be a product of what she feels makes her happy and fulfilled. She is generally a happy person, gets along with most people and does not normally become sad or depressed. But she is only 26, and life has a habit of making individuals more jaded and jaundiced over time. At this time what Megan is seeking the most is OPPORTUNITY, the opportunity to be better at her craft, the opportunity to help make her husband’s firm more successful and the opportunity to provide love to her husband to see him happier and be at more peace with himself.

    What Don Draper did in episode 6 was to foolishly stifle Megan’s opportunity in these areas.

    f) Sally Draper

    For me the most important plot line in Mad Men is the impact divorce has on the life of young children. And consistently these children are shuffled back and forth between both parents not being sure of their environment and not secure they are being loved although their parents consistently tell them they love them. For me the most important need for Sally is CONSTANCY OF LOVE. Unlike adults, it is no secret why young children are unhappy.

    • I think you captured their objectives very well.

    • I have to say that I find it disturbing that you think that the needs or motivations of any of these characters can be reduced to or summed up by one word or phrase. It’s true that they are fictional characters and that we only see little slices of their lives, but I think human beings are much too complex and multi-layered for it to be possible to sum up their motivations in a word of phrase. This is certainly true of actual human beings, and I think that it’s true to (though to a lesser extent, since we only see slices of their lives) of these fictional characters.

      I also find it (even more) disturbing that you described their motivations mostly in relation to their husbands or other men in their lives. If I described my motivations in life, they would not center around my relationship to my husband (and I’ve had a good marriage for over 20 years). Some of my motivations are related to my relationship with my husband, but that is just one part of my life, among many others.

      • Interesting how differently I saw it: Peggy, Joan and Megan’s read to me to be much more about their work lives. And techno’s first sentence was that they were all complex characters. I’m not criticizing, just commenting that we can all see things differently.

        • I see Peggy making her life more complex on her own volition, Joan as a complex character who continually surprises and Megan as less complex but certainly not one-dimensional–she can be so nice but her anger so intense.

          With Don he is neither as nice as Megan or able to summon up the intensity of anger that Megan brings to the table. He must always live in her shadow if he remains married to her.

          • Don has been shown to be a very angry person over and over. But you say he is less angry than Megan. “He must always live in her shadow if he remains married to her.”

            ???

    • You described Betty living in a middle-class or upper-middle class life style. Did you see the mansion/castle they live in? Sure looks closer to the 1% to me. I’m wondering whose money paid for that.

  14. A question on the side but connected to Roger and Jane: can Roger afford another divorce?

    He was pushing for the agency sale so he can finance his divorce from Mona, and Jane already warned him it will be expensive.

    • Indeed, Roger’s first divorce was only possible because he sold the company. But Mona was his wife of many years & he wanted to dump her for a younger woman. I’d bet she got a pretty good settlement to convince her to let him go. Plus alimony until she remarries.

      Jane initially agreed to the divorce & Roger is holding her to it. She will probably get an excellent alimony, but no giant bonanza. Roger won’t be ruined; hey, he might even decide to work harder so more money comes in!

  15. Women want orange sherbet.

    Really, they do. I know that they do.

  16. Something I’ve been considering:

    When Don kicks down the door of his apartment and confronts his wife, he tells her, “I said I was sorry.”

    But did he? When? The last time they’d spoken was when he was in a rage outside the HoJo’s, and then he drove off.

    I’m reminded of Don telling Betty that he loves her “all the time”. It doesn’t seem such a thing would matter if the person you love, or the one who deserves the apology, never hears it.

    • This question was posted before and someone was wondering if the Drapers had an answering machine where he left the message of an apology. It is either that or it is in his head

      • No answering machines in 1966. Professional people had answering services where you could call a number and an operator would relay any messages that had been written down for you. I don’t recall answering machines until the late 1970s at the very earliest.

        • From wiki:
          The answering machine was originally invented in 1898 by Valdemar Poulsen, and was the first practical device used for recording telephone conversations. The first commercial answering machine offered in the US was in 1949, the Tel-Magnet, which played the outgoing message and recorded the incoming message on a magnetic wire.The first commercially successful answering machine was the Ansafone created by inventor Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto, who was employed by a company called Phonetel. This company began selling the first answering machines in the US in 1960.

          • Yeah but I think we can say practically speaking that nobody had answering machines in their home in 1966. Nobody I knew had them, and I don’t believe the Drapers had one.

          • Forgot to say; and therefor I don’t think Don ever said he’s sorry.

          • All that may be true, sr, but nobody had them. They weren’t a normal household item until the 80s. I know, I’m old.

          • Well, late 70s, say 1978. I’m pretty sure I had a Panasonic answering machine by about then. And businesses had them before homes.

      • Answering machines were very unlikely to be found in a 1960s household (I’m in my twenties, so this is based on internet research rather than experience!):

        I think it’s more of a general Draper “patching things up” line, which is unintentionally awkward in terms of the viewer’s chronology of the events. “I said I was sorry” seems more of an attempt to put the situation in the past tense and behind them. It’s a more Draperese non-apology (sort of like “what do you want me to say”) than simply “I’m sorry”.

    • Whoa…I’ve been thinking about something that is maybe related to what you’re thinking Anne B, or then again maybe this is an entirely different tangent…by Thursday my brain is usually saturated from trying to figure out the latest MM episode……

      The more I re-watch the Megan and Don segment, the more I come to the conclusion that this is classic Matt Weiner where both characters are wrong and correct at the same time. Neither Don nor Megan is the only “wronged” party in their fight. Both contributed by saying and doing hurtful things to each other or not saying what the other person needs to hear at the time; both are wounded and hurt by what has transpired, each has horribly hurt the other, and I think each is deeply troubled by what has happened and is afraid of the potential loss of the other. Others in the blogosphere have commented that instead of the beginning of the end, what happened upstate at Ho Jo’s may be the end of the beginning for Don and Megan.

      I am unwilling to view what we’ve seen of their relationship dynamic from the perspective of “he did this to her” or “she did this to him.” Any relationship dynamic is more than the sum of their individual actions. It doesn’t make sense to me to view this through the lens of “Megan is ambitious and insensitive or she is [fill in the blank] ” or “Don is a horrible, mean person who manipulates and he is [fill in the blank],” or any other variation. I know it might be fun and interesting to speculate about personality types, but even clinical labels are averaged depictions of statistically observed instances and make it too easy to gloss over life events we know or don’t know about (in Megan’s case) that make up the total of a person at a point in time.

      After watching the “chase scene” over and over to figure out who started it, who is at blame, who is doing what to whom and why, I’ve come to the conclusion that they both contribute to this misery by the patterns of behavior they bring to their relationship, and Matt Weiner is a genius to present them to us in this light. Don and Megan are either going to continue to wallow in the misery that each brings to the other or there will be some insight into what each needs to do to make their dynamic together better for each other.

      Although there is a kernel of truth to the notion that people don’t change, some actually do. Sometimes people change in terms of not their own behaviors, per se, but how they view the behavior of their partner.

      I think the real question is whether Don and Megan can each make the needed adjustment in how they interact that will improve their relationship dynamics so that each can get to a place to express what Freud claimed in one of this most well-known quotes, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.”

      Did Don really say he was sorry, or does he show it by his actions and expect that Megan has “heard him”? I don’t know, but I do know that it is possible to get to a place in a relationship where emotions, actions and feelings speak louder than actual words and are “heard” by the other. It takes a lot to get to that place, and Don and Megan aren’t there, but the question is whether they will get there together.

      • I keep referring back to the Matt Weiner comment on Inside Mad Men that Don’s scene where he is on his knees holding onto Megan’s waist for dear life with Megan towering over him shows how much Don loves Megan. Obviously no 40 year old adult submits himself to his younger wife in this manner unless he feels he needs her love in his life and knows he needs to show how contrite he is to recapture that love that he felt he may have lost.

        And no wife after the chaos in her apartment tells her husband she has to get to work, which happens to be the firm he is an executive at, and then decides to forgive him if she did not truly love him.

        But I don’t agree with you that both Don and Megan are at fault. You are a baseball hitter and a baseball pitcher has thrown a brushback pitch at your head which you were able to avoid. Then with the next pitch the pitcher again throws at your head. The batter rushes the mound and a melee ensue. Do you blame the batter for becoming enraged at the pitcher’s deliberate attempt to bean him and starting the fight or do you blame the pitcher for deliberately throwing at the batter’s head?

        As far as I see it Megan did NOT deserve to be treated in that manner by Don. Sure one can make an argument that she should have cooled her heels at HJ and waited for him to return. I think a lot of wives/girlfriends in the same situation may have done that. But anyone who suggests she made a wrong move to take a bus back to NYC fails to take into account that she was caught off guard by Don’s actions and that may have caused her to become angry which clouded her reason. But should Megan be blamed for reacting in this manner? Frankly, I don’t see it.

        I agree completely about your view that an adjustment in their relationship dynamic is required. And given a choice between work and home I see the workplace as a starting point where that healthy adjustment can occur. All Don needs to do is act like an adult at work and to leave Megan alone and treat her like any other employee. We’ll see if he can.

        It is easy to forget that the origin of their fight in the restaurant was work-related.

      • I would consider Don’s tackling Megan, and slamming her to the floor, abuse. I know this is a fictional TV show but from all I’ve heard from experts in the field, the abuser doesn’t stop abusing. So if Megan does not somehow get out of this relationship, chances are he will hurt her again. That is if this is a realistic drama, and I think that it is.

        • Certainly Megan could have suffered a dislocated shoulder if Don had landed with his full weight on top of her as he brought her to the ground.

          I know I have been beating up on Don consistently but when Megan struck out at him in the living room, Don did not attempt to strike her but grab a hold of her hands.

          In arresting her progress while tackling her, Don lay on the carpet supine side by side with Megan and made no attempt to touch Megan. If he were abusive, he would have certainly made a motion to do so. The next time Don touched Megan was to hug her waist.

          This was borderline abusive and that’s why this incident is a huge wake-up call for Don. The next time, if there is a next line, he could go over the line.

          • “Abusive” isn’t black or white. “If he were abusive he would have” is a way to open a sentence that is guaranteed to be false. Abusers differ, and abuse changes over time. An early fight in a new marriage will be different from a fight a year later.

        • There is no doubt we witnessed domestic violence, but to be clear, I have watched this scene a LOT: He grabbed her and tripped and they fell to the floor together.

        • Yes, it was abuse. Terrible abuse.

    • I noticed that too.

  17. Healthy, loving are not phrases to associate with Don Draper. He’ll nudge a little here, correct something there, but no everlasting change is likely to occur. No Dr.Phil like ‘growth’. Puh-lease.

    Reset to master is a pet phrase of MW. We usually go with our comfortable behavior pattern. This is Don Draper. Where do you think he’s headed?

  18. Deborah,

    Amazing post! You nailed the connection to “Ladies Room” on the deepest level. On the surface levels, LR was about Betty wanting to see a psychiatrist, in FAP the LSD party is hosted by Jane’s psychiatrist. In LR there is a focus on how the ladies room is a private space for women, in FAP it seems like Roger has entered that area. The bottles on the side of the tub seems to be Jane’s, so Roger has entered her “ladies room.” He then engages in another woman’s bath ritual, the tying of the tower turban.

    Interestingly, as Don asks Midge the question “What do women want” (and gets an appropriate answer) Midge is wearing a wig. And in FAP Jane is wearing a kimono robe, in LR Midge is wearing a kimono robe earlier in the episode.

    • oops, “toweL turban,” wretched compacted keyboard.

    • Jeeeez, celina, you got amazing parallels I hadn’t even thought of. Fantastic!

      • Deb,

        Thanks! But seriously, I was looking more along the lines of “Color Blue” for its perception focus. And then when I read your connection to “Ladies Room” it was so obvious you’d gotten it.

        There’s also Betty’s hand going numb in LR linked to Jane seeing her arm during her trip plus not being able to feel Rogers hand while laying on the ground. Furthermore, Don gave Betty a watch in LR, Jane basically describes a watch when she talks about numbers as chronological measurement.

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