Tuesday, July 29, 2008

what did mad men have that we don't?

I couldn't have answered this better than Lenore Skenazy who writes for The New York Sun , the new best newspaper in New York:
..So much has been lost since [1962]...when men wore hats with sly little feathers, and women wore dresses that looked ready to twirl on a music box. And what have we gotten in return? Oh right. My job. Feminism. Civil rights. Pilates. Is it worth the trade off? Here's a look:

MEN IN HATS: Why oh why have these gone the way of the cha-cha-cha? Men looked better in hats — taller, richer, smarter. They looked great taking them off, too, as a sign of respect. What simple gesture can men do now to show their respect to a woman? Unlock the car door using their key-chain remote? Oh boy. I'm swooning.

WOMEN IN HATS: We looked better too.

THE BRILLIANCE OF BRILLIANTINE: The only men still slicking back their hair these days are the villains in action movies. And yet, even the dweebiest guys in "Mad Men" look polished because their hair is polished. It shines. It stays in place. And when it doesn't, it gets put back there several times a day. The results of an informal survey of the men in my office disclosed exactly how many of them even carrying a comb? Zee-ro. And yes, these are guys who still have hair.

BRAS THAT DID ALL THE WORK: Exercise all you want, ladies, we will never look as good as the women in Mad Men. They're so shapely, it's as if someone taped party hats up there. "Those were firm bras," Nancy Deihl, a historian at the Fashion Institute of Technology, explains. "If you had the bust, it got shaped. If you didn't, there was lots of structure available, padding (not just from below, like our Wonderbra), concentric circles, batting." Let's hear it for concentric circles.

STATION WAGONS: How did we ever decide these weren't cool? How did we ever decide chunky, clunky SUVs are? In SUVs, the back seat faces forward. Sorry about that, kids.

POSTURE: They had it. We lost it. Ms. Deihl, the professor, again explains what was going on: "Posture was really emphasized in the beauty magazines of the '50s and early '60s. Think about the movie stars — Cary Grant, Gregory Peck: tall and lean." Carrying yourself right was more important than working out back then. It still is — guys just don't know it.

MEAT: And here's the secret women today don't know: Meat is important, too — on them. The "Mad Men" women have some meat on their bones, an extra 10 pounds they'd be working like crazy to get rid of today. A little roundness made their skin look young and their legs look nice. In the show, at least, everyone also always seems to be eating meat — steaks sizzling with fat or home-cooked roast beef, and no one is talking about cholesterol. Not even the doctors. Of course, they're weren't talking about the rampant alcoholism, either. But still. It would be nice to eat more steak.

VESTS: Nowadays, they make a guy look like a lawyer. But when everyone was wearing them, they just looked great. Same with cuff links. Same with a smirk.

LUNCH HOUR: Imagine a time when people actually took off a whole hour to eat someplace else. They felt they deserved a little break, and their boss agreed. Even as I write this I am picking at the chicken kebab next to my keyboard.

So what have we gained?


POST-LUNCH SOBRIETY: When you're eating a chicken kebab at your desk, you're not going out for any three martini lunches. I guess that's progress.

A SMOKE-FREE WORK ENVIRONMENT: It's great we don't have to smell cigarettes at work. Now we can smell the kebabs.

PANTYHOSE: Whoopee. We've got 'em, the women in "Mad Men" don't. They all seem to be wearing stockings held up by garters. How do we know? The drunk guys are always trying to paw them off. (See cable TV, above.)

SELF-SERVICE ELEVATORS: I'm really relieved no one is pressing the buttons for us anymore. Also relieved we get to grab our own paper towels in most bathrooms, too. But I'm kind of sorry we have to pump our own gas, at least when we're not in New Jersey.

CELL PHONES: No longer do we need an operator to place a call. No longer do we even need to be in the office to make that call. The phone is wherever we are. So is our office! And our work! And — oh wait. I meant to put that in the "lost" column.

EQUALITY: Women, men, blacks, and whites — we're all better off. We just don't look as good.
Contact this writer at lskenazy@yahoo.com


Joker said...



I might not have a hat, but I always say good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. I also always let a woman pass in front, open AND hold the door (people forget one or the other), stand to the outside when walking on a street and a variety of other things to do my part in the fight to preserve chivalry. I’d gladly wear a hat though. I’m oldschool like that.


Not a huge fan of women in hats though.


I once used Brillantine but accelerated hair loss prompted me to cut it out. Now I use Clubman gel and though I don’t use a comb, I always slick the hair back as much as possible. I’ve even tried the villain look, but I don’t want to look even more evil.


Can’t compare and contrast since visually doesn’t fully count :- ). Oh well.


Mom never believed in SUV’s or station wagons. We just the huge cars.


On Men. People seem to forget that how you project yourself depends a lot on how you project yourself and it’s hilarious that posers have no idea how to pose.

On women. A woman with poise and great posture says a lot. How they walk also says a lot too. Slouch and waddle and you won’t get any attention. Saunter and stand and you’ll have people idolizing you.


Just because I love sushi doesn’t mean I don’t love meat. I’m a vampire at heart too so make it medium please. As for poundage in men and women, I try to keep as fit as possible but as far as women, bony bitches a-la Nichole Ritchie say nothing to me and be it in life, Hollywood or even porn, curves, meat, and real all scream sexy to me. My gf says she’s overweight and hates her fat ass. I respectfully disagree.


Here I’m not in sync. Vests say croupier to me and offer elegance that I only enjoy when wearing a tux. Now the smirk? ? Cheers ;)


We really need to cut and release at lunch hour. And to say I’ve escaped a few lunches to surf firmly conveys my take on this topic.



Alcoholism is still rampant, just not at lunch hour… or for everyone. I know vast people who get hammered during lunch. By hammered I mean more than two drinks or four beers.


True, but people smelling of subway or cheap Chinese are just as obnoxious as smokers that still smell like smokers by the way. You just don’t get as exposed (in most places) which is a great thing.


Again, disagree. Call me a selfish perve, but women in garters just scream sexy. If you want practical, you’re quite right to be happy. But if you’re talking about making a successful woman look even sexier, then not necessarily.


I’ve been to a few bathrooms where they keep giving it to me. It’s an odd scene because I want to help the guy out assisting him in assisting me because such service makes me uncomfortable. I usually end up leaving a tip, and saying “no thank you” after they say thanks.


Cell phones are the devil’s work. Me no like being THAT accessible sometimes.


Better off? Yes, but still we need to improve. We need to strive to find the best person for the job, rather than the right white man for the job.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Joker, you are brilliantine! Thanks for this fantastic list--I'm going back to charm school tomorrow to practice walking with books on my head. And I'm with you on cell phones--not only b/c it seems cruel & unusual to have to be accessible 24/7, but because people on public transport TALK SO LOUD on them, blithely divulging details of business deals or personal spats, don't they know this is the aural version of littering?

Joker said...

Lol, thanks for the brilliantine love. I actually thought about emailing the writer with my revised list. Still pondering.

And as for cell phone conversations, I actually once heard a girl discussing her first anal encounter off her phone conversation. People are clueless that anyone can listen to what you're talking about and in an age of privacy being such an ultimate issue, it's amusing to see people taking theirs for granted because of a phone convo.