*madmen

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Good wood - straight out of a scene from Mad Men, vintage styling makes this drinks cabinet come record player the ultimate in classy accessories for any discerning retro fashionista. Introducing the rather delectable ‘EGB2’ console from Luno.

1969 Megan Draper Equals 1959 Betty Draper

You would think that slowly watching Megan Draper turn into Season 1 Betty Draper would teach us all to sympathize with poor Betts. 

When we first met Megan, she was a bubbly, sunny font of positivity and creative ambition. She had an active, buzzing social life, a good job, a carefree relationship to her own sexuality, and an active, curious, creative mind. She wanted to act. She told Don she loved to paint, and sing. Failing that, she wanted to work in an applied creative field, like advertising. She was model beautiful, stylish, vibrant and independent. 

Before she met Don, Betty was an independent, Seven Sisters educated model living and working in the city. She shared a tiny apartment with several other girls, lived modestly, and hopped from modeling job to modeling job. She had a creatively and emotionally charged relationship with a designer in Italy, to whom she served as muse. She traveled. She spoke, as she loves to remind us, Italian. 

Betty met Don while shooting an advertisement for the furrier where Don worked. “Why wait for a man to buy you a fur?” was the ad copy, written by Don. Yet it was Don who bought Betty a fur, shortly after the shoot, to woo her. Betty quit modeling almost immediately thereafter. Five years down the line and she was a sniping, bored, emotionally and psychologically unstable housewife. 

We have seen Megan follow the same sad trajectory. We have watched her career fall at Don’s feet, only to be propped up by his industry connections. We have seen her dive, dance, drink, and flail for his attention and affection in every conceivable way. We have seen Don withdraw from her, shut down, disappear, cheat, ridicule, and abuse her. The exact same way he treated Betty. 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Megan is slowly turning into Betty. Early in their marriage, Megan was a nonsmoker; she opened up the car windows and coughed when Don lit up. A season later, she was a devoted, impulsive smoker, puffing almost as constantly as Betty, and always reaching for a cigarette at the drop of any emotional hat. Don calls her on the phone with bad news,and the first thing Megan does is reach for her pack. 

Megan has also shifted from an ebullient, child-loving step mom into the same kind of brittle, detached parental figure Betty was (and is). When they met, Megan was a Maria von Trapp-level angel, singing to the children in French (like Betty, Megan is a polyglot) and cleaning up spilled milkshakes with a reassuring smile. Since last season, though, she has been cold and removed from the children, and even disparaged Sally for being “screwed up”. Now she has zero interest in them at all. 

Megan’s career has torpedoed. Where once she was ambitious and tenacious, she is now desperate, hungry for any role, begging and fuming in parking lots. She’s getting haplessly drunk and sexually desperate. She’s telling Don he should just stay away. She’s becoming unhinged by her own insecurity. 

Sound familiar? If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice this is the same pattern of desperate, lonely behavior that defined season 1 Betty. Betty whose hands went numb and crashed her car, Betty who held her emotions in until they caused her to puke, Betty who sauntered around the house in a bikini, vying for Don’s eye, Betty who accepted any affection she could get, whether it was from a 9-year-old who wanted a lock of her hair, or a pilot in a random bar who just wanted to screw in the back room. 

Now look at this week’s Megan, standing coolly in the doorway, facing Stephanie. Megan who used to be all smile and hugs and open, friendly encouragement. She looks Stephanie up and down and icily pronounces her “beautiful”, her insecurities poking out like shards of glass beneath her skin. She forces herself to hug this woman, this relic from Don’s past, but it’s stifled and perfunctory. She tries desperately to be warm and welcoming, like when Betty used to host Don’s colleagues, but her face winces with sadness. When Don calls, she observes again that Stephanie is beautiful, egging Don on. She makes the pregnant, famished young women a steak. In season 1, when Roger dropped by the house unannounced, Betty gave him her steak. She went hungry. She sulked the whole night and next day. 

It’s no coincidence that the scene between Megan and Stephanie immediately follows Betty setting up for a dinner party at Henry’s. Betty used to force herself to entertain for Don’s sake, dressed herself up in bright, flouncy dresses, made pleasant chit chat, and then descended into a despairing, drunken mess the next day. Megan, too, is on the verge of collapse. She makes underhanded, hurt comments. Don didn’t tell Stephanie that Megan is an actress. Betty used to remind everyone that she used to be a model, you know.

Finally, at the first sign of threat (Stephanie’s comment that she “knows everything” about Don), Megan lashes out in pain. She launches a conniving little ploy to get the girl out of the house and away from her wandering husband. She makes herself out to be innocent. When Don asks her where Stephanie went, she plays the fool. Megan is hurting, and lost, and she’ll take whatever small, pathetic, petty wins she can get. Just like season 1 Betty, Megan is taking passive aggressive pot shots at innocent pigeons. 

We are watching Megan dissolve – in sanity, in independence, in her sense of self – the exact same way that Betty dissolved ten years ago. The culprit in both cases is the same. If that doesn’t give you massive pangs of sympathy for 1959 Betty (and even 1969 Betty), I don’t know what will. 

Which Mad Men Character Should You Fight

Don: You’ve probably got this. Just throw him some doe eyes and speak really vaguely about how your ex-husband died of “thirst” and lounge around waiting for the right moment, and you can take him. Just catch him unawares and slap him square in the face. He might enjoy it though. Also, don’t let him pull the ol’ hand-in-the-vagina trick he pulled on Bobbi Barrett.

Peggy: She’s scrappy and she’s relentless, so be careful here. She will drag you down to her level and whale on you with sass and possibly a knife tied to a broom stick. Even if you win, you’ll never hear the end of her complaining about it. 

Roger: You can beat Roger. He’s not going to give it his all, he’ll be too focused on trying to throttle you with charm. Hand him a vodka with 1 ice cube and then pummel him in his snow-capped head. But play clean, okay? Don’t hit him with a sneak attack, the man has a heart condition. 

Pete: Are you Lane Pryce? Then you will surely win the day. Put up some old-fashioned fisticuffs and let Pete tire himself out. Take the high road and then finish him with a well-placed blow to that sad smirk of his. Are you the headmaster of a fancy, ancient boarding school? If so, maybe lay off. 

Trudy: SHE WILL DESTROY YOU. 

Ken: With Ken, your odds are about 50-50. Ken’s got fast feet and he will tap dance all over you if you let him. Get in there and hit him where it hurts: insult his fiction, or pretend not to get it. Be warned, though: Ken can sustain many, many injuries before he tires out or gives up. 

Harry: You can beat Harry, and you should. In fact, you should get to it right now before anybody else does. 

Megan: Megan is willowy and sensitive, but she’s not afraid to strip down or throw a plate at the wall to distract you. And don’t think for a second that pulling her hair is gonna help you. She’s wearing a fall, it’ll come right out in your hands and then she’ll clobber you. Try dragging her down by her jewelry or by snatching her Twiggy eyelashes. 

Betty: When it comes to blows, you will beat Betty. Handily. But then she’ll skulk around your house in a shirtwaist dress for seven years, smoking, drinking wine, and going through your pockets. She’ll berate your children, threaten to cut their fingers off, fire their beloved nanny, and shoot at your pigeons. In the end, she will win. It will be a death by a thousand cuts. 

Joan: Don’t fight Joan. Don’t. Fight. Joan. Hell, don’t even say a cruel word to Joan, she’s pissed already. She’s looking for an excuse to take out her claws at every moment and if you provoke her, she will knock you out cold with a flower pot to the head, meet with the head of Sugarberry Ham, get you fired, and then show up on your doorstep to tell you she can’t wait until next year, when you’re in Vietnam, and when you’re over there and they’re shooting at you, and you’re pining for the days when somebody was just trying to make your life easier, remember you’re not over there fighting for her, because she never liked you.