Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mad Men, Chicago Style

In suburban Chicago, we lived among a lot of advertising executives. Unlike Don Draper, most of them had ulra-modern houses.  Like Don Draper, they smoked and drank and were clever and witty.  I only knew of one who cheated on his wife.  Another had an unusual last name that he used a lot in his ads. 

Watching Mad Men's season premier tonight did bring back a lot of memories.  At a charity benefit for the University of Chicago Cancer Research, one of the sexy young matrons, wife #2, bid on and won belly dancing lessons.  "We'll throw a big party and I'll be the entertainment."  Don's wife did a sexy dance.  Suddenly, the hair looked right and the clothes looked right and the whole scene looked right, even Don's modern new apartment which went with his modern new wife. 

The last I ever saw of one of the ad men, he had passed out with his face in his plate.  Not too glamorous, nothing to show on television.

Before we left town to move to  the Boston area, we had a lunch on Chicago's North Side at a well-known French place called Chez Paul.  In those days, there were as many French restaurants as there are Italian ones now.  A bunch of ad men came in for lunch, just after we did.  Drinks all round. Long studying of the menu.  More drinks.  And yet more drinks.  Orders finally came.  More drinks.  We paid and left, me wondering how they could go back to work accomplish anything.  Mad Men.

My first job the boss said, "this department goes to lunch every Friday."   Cool.  This was an IT department.  No advertising involved.  The first Friday, the boss and the big boss both ordered "vodka gimlet, easy on the lime juice."  They ordered two.  I probably had white wine.  Later on I tried that gimlet and it came to be my regular drink, but I never specified "easy on the lime juice."  I learned to get all the important stuff done before noon on Friday, saving the afternoon for flow charts and documentation.  Hands off the mainframe. 


It's fun to relive the parties, the craziness, the smoking and drinking with the Mad Men.  Sometimes I even miss those bad old days. Not everything of course. 

I never burnt a bra but my friend and I marched in the Equal Rights parade down Michigan Avenue.  Thousands of women wearing white.  We also went to see Judy Chicago's Dinner Party, which I loved.  Attended a big peace rally in Civic Center in Chicago, right next to the new Picasso statue my little kids had nicknamed "lion bones."  The cast of the musical Hair sang.  We had tickets to go in a few weeks.  Life was exciting.  We smoked.  We drank.  We marched in parades and went to peace rallies. 

Thoughts before bedtime.

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