Tom Watson is live blogging AMC's Mad Men tonight over at newcritics. And I'd like to invite all blue girl readers to plop themselves in front of their TVs and their computers at the same time and join the conversation in the comments.
I missed the first episode of Mad Men last week. But, from what I've read, it's about advertising's glory days when men were real men and women were women who did feminine, frilly, slave-like womenly things.
I've been in advertising for more than 20 years. Not old enough to have been part of this wonderful industry's glory days. So, I can only imagine what some of those womanly things were.
"You take your coffee how? Oh! All over the front of your shirt? I'm really good at that!"
I would've been fired during advertising's glory days.
Actually, something like that happened to me at the first advertising agency I worked at. I was 22. I was in a meeting with seven or eight men, two of which were the owners of the agency. The Skimmer might have been there, too. If he was, it was before we started dating. I was a production manager then, which meant that I priced all the jobs, I coordinated the printing jobs with the printers, dealt with the magazines about the ads, proofread, cajoled people to hurry up, cajoled or yelled at people who were slow and didn't understand the meaning of hurry up, yelled at people who didn't know how to spell -- or read -- when a memo went around that said "What's taking you so long?! It's due now!!."
Ick, blech, gahhh and grrrrr. Being a production manager is the most under-appreciated position there is in advertising next to traffic manager -- who has to cajole and yell way more than a production manager.
Anyway, I was in this meeting, and the creative director, a man in his late 30s at the time, who wore a beard and bad polyester blazers, turned to me and said, rather nonchalantly, as if not giving it a second thought, "Hey, go get me a cup of coffee. Two creams, two sugars."
"Can you get me some coffee?"
I laughed, "Are you crazy?"
"Get it yourself."
"I really need some coffee."
"Well, if you need it so bad, get up and walk the 20 feet it'll take you to get to the coffee maker and get it yourself. God, Kevin, what is up with you?!"
There was silence as slow poke Kevin got up and went into the kitchen to get his cup of coffee. I just sat there and shook my head. I have no recollection of what the other men said, if they said anything at all. But, I do wonder what they thought.
I always liked Kevin, though. He was a writer. Pretty good copywriter, but looking back, his headlines were a little corny and obvious. That's probably where I got it from. He was sort of an oddball, but I liked the oddball part of him. I give him credit for making me feel and imagine that Cape Cod is a romantic place to vacation. He would vacation there every year and come back with neat stories about how much time he spent there writing.
The Skimmer and I went on our first date to Kevin's wedding. And he was a groomsman in our wedding a couple of years later. This was all after the Infamous Coffee Debacle of 1986.
He was a sore at me for embarrassing him in front of all the guys in that meeting. And, although I was sore at him for acting like such a creep to begin with, I was relentless with him. I never let him forget it. Every time I'd see him going into the kitchen, I'd ask him to grab me a cup of coffee. Even at 22, I drove everything into the ground.
He lightened up after awhile, and I don't think he ever did that to a woman ever again. Maybe he grew up and didn't feel he needed to prove his manlihood any longer. I don't know. Anyway.
That year, I got Kevin's name in the Christmas gift exchange. I had the perfect present!
I had a photo of me and my college roommates, where we were all flipping the bird at the camera. I know, so un-blue girl-like. So shameful. I'll probably never become Miss America because of it.
I enlarged the photo and cropped it so only I was in it. I bought a small, 3 x 4 heart shaped picture frame. My picture fit perfectly in the frame with my intended emotion dead center. It was a thing of beauty.
Kevin got a huge kick out of it and kept it on his desk, next to his phone for years until I left for another job. I've always given him credit for that, too.
As M.A. Peel wrote in her review of Mad Men:
But for me, it’s the characterization of women that makes me wonder if I will spend much time in this world. It may be historically accurate, but I don’t find it charming.
I came of age in the relatively privileged 1980s. The ‘70s Feminism was still wafting in the air, but the roots that had propelled it didn’t touch my sheltered life. I was always encouraged at home to strive for whatever I could attain, and I never worked as anyone’s assistant.
When I read that part of M.A.'s review, I wondered what I would think of this aspect of the show. I'm the sort of person who thinks then was then and now is now. We've come a long way, baby. Them days are over.
So, I'll be tuning in tonight at 10, multitasking with my TV and my computer to find out. Won't you join in the sexist fun? But, don't let it go to your heads. I'll be there, but if you want something to drink, you'll have to get up off your lazy tush and get it yourself. Don't make me send you my picture.
Mad Men on AMC and over at newcritics. 10 PM EDT, 9 Central.