Thursday, November 5, 2009

betty draper syndrome

You've got to watch Mad Men to get what I'm about to write.

Don't worry, the show is pretty clean. Well, in comparison to anything on HBO anyway. If you don't have cable here's a brief synopsis of one of the show's most interesting characters.

Betty Draper is the model-turned-suburban homemaker, wife to Don Draper, the 1960's creative director at a NY advertising agency. He cheats, she knows; she cheats, he doesn't. They endure a brief separation but eventually get back together when she discovers she's pregnant with their third child. She sulks, she smokes (even while pregnant), she yells at her kids, she complains to her shrink (who then reports to her husband). She recently told her shrink that her mother "wanted me to be beautiful so I could find a man. There’s nothing wrong with that. But then what? Just sit and smoke and let it go ‘til you’re in a box?". It's like Valley of the Dolls only she hasn't yet discovered those little blue pills.

I was having sushi with some friends the other night when I met a group of my parents' acquaintances. The wives are classic Betty Drapers. They're not young anymore, but they're still trying hard to look it (I've actually seen some of them out wearing their bandages). They don't have jobs (which is fine by me, my mother shops for a living too and honestly, I wouldn't mind doing the same), but they don't really do much of anything else either. They all have gorgeous husbands (it's true, men do get better with age) with great salaries, but who spend more time eying their teenage babysitters than honoring their wedding vows. Maybe that's why their wives need to spend so much of their own time getting those brow wrinkles filled in with Restalyne.


Anonymous said...

Those types of men don't share their lives with their wives, wives are merely tag-alongs after a few wonderful years (once the aging process really kicks in).

You and other girls like minded should be asking the question, "are we going to settle down with a man who will lead his family with that lifestyle?", or will you (and like minded girls) take the initiative to change your husband prerequisites in order to find the type of guy who wants to share his life.

The good types of prospective spouses exist, todays girls need to develop the foresight to spot one in the making.

Data said...

Sooooo, if a wife works than her husband won't check out the babysitter?

I know of married men with wives who live various lifestyles, and sometimes male hard-wiring wins out. Did you see that beer commercial when men, for a split second, stop what their doing to check out the passing miniskirt then continue their conversation?

I'm all for being a hausfrau. Just get an interesting hobby.

Anonymous said...

It's not that if the wife works her husband won't check out the babysitter, but she won't CARE ... she's not dependent financially ... one look at the babysitter and she's out of there! Oh, and her husband knows it.

Schvach said...

She looks as though she's about to blurt 'Peter, Peter, Peter'.

Jessica said...

tesyaa - I'm a stay at home mom who is financially dependent on my husband... if I caught him checking out the babysitter, I'd gone (or more likely, he'd be kicked out)... these women are not of the norm.

Maidel said...

i'm not deriding these women for not working. (maybe a little for not doing anything at all besides do their hair, nails and faces)

just stating that Betty Draper is alive and well in the 21st century.