Dear Joan Holloway, the Sixties Will Pass


On Television

Dear Joan Holloway,

First off, a thank you. Thank you for reminding me why I still tune in. Things were iffy for a while, what with Don’s extramarital dalliances confined to the boudoirs of his fever dreams, Betty in a budget fat suit, and Campbell and Price going all Fight Club on us.

But last night you were back, barely contained by a skin-tight scoop neck that left no curve concealed. You were back and in top form, trotting out instaclassic lines, like “My mother raised me to be admired,” in your signature, sultry deadpan. You were back, and what I’m saying is, Joanie, without you there is no Mad Men; there are men and they are mad, but you add the uppercase.

I’m sorry things have been rough for you back in 1966. Your dreamy doctor got misguidedly patriotic, and now you’re a single mom in the pre-mom-blog era, struggling alone without the support of Internet communities or in-office day care. What’s a lady to do?

It would be easy to suggest that you’d be better off here in 2012. You could work at The Paris Review, uplifting the staff of 62 White Street with your fiery-haired flair and unmatched organizational skills. I can see you at the parties, flashing teasing smiles at awkward writer types who don’t have a chance with you. Or on the sidelines at summer softball, providing the team with cheerleading oomph.

But what am I saying? I don’t exactly see you in the nonprofit sector. Women can also be top-tier executives these days, owners of property and private jets. You’d have a live-in nanny and a cadre of boy-toy Brazilian models. You’d have famous designers begging you to wear their retro-sixties fashions. You’d have an iPhone and a more comfortable bra and a staff member whose sole duty is to schedule your massages. Oh, can you see it!

I know, I know, thing’s are getting a bit weird in the sixties, what with Kinsey coming back as a Hare Krishna, and even reliable Roger Sterling rocking Japanese beach apparel at the office after his “experience” and raving about the beauty of human life. But as George Harrison will soon tell you, all things must pass, and this weirdness will, too. People will stop calling San Francisco “Frisco” (but how cute is it when they do?) and will stop acting like anonymous sex is the answer to all your problems (tell Don he should know more than anyone that a one-night stand won’t solve anything), and even Star Trek will eventually run its course.

Cheer up, because the seventies are coming. If there’s one thing I learned last week via the various tributes to Donna Summer and Robin Gibb it’s that disco doesn’t completely suck. Some of it is actually pretty good. There’s this place Studio 54. You should go there. Snort cocaine and make friends with gay men. They’ll love you. Just one piece of advice: stay away from Donald Trump. I know he hangs out there. I know he’s rich and has cool hair. But trust me, you’re better off with Sterling.