Why I admire Don Draper

September 30, 2010 at 5:55 am Leave a comment

**Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Mad Men Seasons 1-3 yet but plan to, don’t read further. You’ve been warned.**

Don Draper is my hero. Sure, he’s a womanizer, a liar, an adulterer and criminal (desertion), but let’s face it we all have our faults. I realize that Draper is far from perfect, but the good qualities he possesses, well, in my eyes they make up for all of it. Here are a few of my favourite Don qualities:

1 – He’s resilient

This is a man who grew up in a family that didn’t love him. His father was a drunk and his step-mother resented having to raise a prostitute’s child. Don had every reason in the world to fail. Instead, he decided to go his own way, reinvent himself and never look back.

2 – He’s open to new experiences

Don isn’t afraid of walking into an unknown situation. It’s what makes him so good at his job. His willingness to interact with a strange man called “Connie” at Roger’s second wedding without knowing who this man really is (i.e. Conrad Hilton) ultimately lands him the Hilton Hotel account. While the account doesn’t last, Don learns to roll with the punches and does some of his best work in the process.

3 – He’s a self-made man

Say what you will about his service in the Korean war, you have to admire Don’s moxie in claiming another man’s identity and pulling it off for so many years undetected. But that aside, Don is a man who has a pragmatic approach to problem solving. He may act out of self-interest, but when the real Don Draper’s wife catches him at his lie, Don does the honourable thing and supports her financially. In fact, they grow so close that she is one of the few people who gets to know Don for who he is. They become life-long confidantes.

5 – He can keep a secret

When Peggie gets pregnant and disappears, Don takes the time to find her and talk her out of the depths of depression. He sees in her aspects of his own personality and knows just what she needs to hear. He knows that sometimes getting on with life means that, for a time, you need to just pretend the bad stuff isn’t happening. It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes we need something more immediate to push us on. And Don never betrays Peggie’s trust.

And then, of course, there’s his own secret that he conceals from almost everybody for as long as he possibly can. Enough said about that.

For every good quality I’ve listed here, there are plenty of bad ones to counteract them. But somehow I can’t help seeing in Don a man who despite his considerable faults, is making things happen. And, hey, I want to make things happen too.


Entry filed under: Film & Television, Masculinity. Tags: , .

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