The Don Draper Complex
Don Draper cheats on his wife, never does any housework, hardly spends time with his kids—he shouldn’t be sexy, but he is. If you’re not a Mad Men fan and you don’t know who Don Draper is, you know the type. He walks into a meeting or a party and exudes the kind of power that travels across the room and right into your pants. He speaks with authority, gives you just enough attention to make you feel wanted and then turns away, holding your gaze and bewilderment hostage as he carelessly floats through another flirtation.
Of course, Mr. Draper always looks dapper in his tailored suit and skinny tie—he’s a fictional character working at an Ad agency in modern mid-century Manhattan (Season 6 premiering on April 7!). The asshole of your affection may be in jeans and a white t-shirt, his product-less hair wafting back as he slugs a beer, but there is an undeniable confidence to him. You may be the type of woman who likes to observe this asshole from a far, possibly think about him later in a quiet moment, but you’d never date him or even so much as give him a moment of your time.
On the other hand, you may be that woman who gravitates towards him, believes that he will give you babies and marry you. You look for these men when you’re out on the town and you know the moment you see one. You become excited with the prospect of this challenge.
So, he gets your number and takes you for a drink. You sleep together, and it’s better than you’d expected. In fact, you’re blown away. You think to yourself, I never feel this way about a guy—this is huge. You say to your friends, “He’s a player, I’m just having fun, that’s all.” Even though you two continue sleeping together, he never indicates that commitment is on the horizon, but you hold hope that one day he’ll wake up next to you and realize that you’re different from all the other women.
You are the girl he will change for.
But he doesn’t commit. And you don’t push the issue. You don’t want to rock the boat and scare this tiger. Because, he is a tiger, and you can’t tame him, so you feed his fleeting attention span by throwing him scraps of your dignity. You work around his schedule, you wait for him to text you back and all the while never demanding the same in return. You analyze this ‘relationship’ with your friends and wonder what it is that prevents him from opening his heart.
It’s okay. Haven’t we all been there, in some capacity, at some point in time? You’re only human, and you’re a woman. If only we could think with our vaginas exclusively. Unfortunately, our hearts end up taking over, making it hard to walk away when we know deep beneath the lust that we should.
“But what if this is just the type of guy I’m attracted to? I don’t want to settle,” I’ve heard women say.
Okay, so you like them confident, secure and powerful. Fair enough. Nobody can tell you to be attracted to something you’re not. And who doesn’t like a guy who takes charge?
The thing is though, this is the type of man who takes charge and goes after what he wants. So why then, must you have to even question anything? Shouldn’t he be locking this deal down before you even have a second to think about it?
There are powerful, confident men everywhere. They are good men too, who actually want to be in a relationship with you. And yes, some of these Don Draper-like men find women who blow them away enough to change their dodgy ways and settle down. Don left his wife to settle down with his mistress.
We are left to wonder, at the end of season 5, if Don will wander once again. In the very last scene, a woman approaches him at a bar and asks him if he’s alone. Are we cynical to assume that Don will most definitely say to her, “Yes, I am. Would you like to join me?”
And isn’t it just being realistic to think that a man won’t change his cheating/non committal ways because he’s told to? Don’t men always do what they want to do?
Nothing is black and white and yes, some great love stories are not uncomplicated. But aren’t the uncomplicated real life ones the best kind?
If your Don Draper hasn’t committed or changed his nasty ways yet, he probably won’t ever. Resisting what is will just prolong what you want. So look at your needs and wants, and then take a gander at him and ask yourself: how is this working out for me?