Esprit De L’escalier

As a business student who had dabbled in two or three marketing modules over the last six years, I know the concept of word of mouth backwards. As a matter of fact, it is a strategy that my subconscious habitually employs to hand-pick the next television programme to indulge in.

It is by no stretch of the imagination a sure-fire modus operandi, I concur, still and all it beats spinning my wheels on second-rate shows and was indeed how I had chanced upon noteworthy gems like 2 Broke Girls, Friends, How to Get Away with Murder, LOST, Revenge, and Suits to name but a few.

So one day when I noticed how Mad Men was tantalising the world and his wife, I proceeded to climb aboard the bandwagon, only to have it ceaselessly tying me up in knots and making my skin crawl.

At first I had solely attributed these sentiments to my nescience, for I am embarrassingly unacquainted with the pre-feminist era, in which case I am resolved to rectify, yet after sitting through Favour, the eleventh episode of season six, the penny dropped and I stood corrected.

Now, before you could say knife, I took to Twitter to announce my new-found awareness and channel my brimming, disorganised emotions.

Until just now my utter distaste for Mad Men has been but an enigma for a prolonged, unforgiving duration: the depiction of the sexual peccadilloes of unbridled libertines in the sixties and seventies, particularly Donald Draper and Peter Campbell, were stomach-turning and unpalatable. This aversion has preposterously extended to Jon Hamm and Vincent Kartheiser, that their impeccable performances should blot their copybooks so is unfortunate and paradoxical.

When Sally Draper caught the flâneur that is her father in the act—the dwelling percolating with a salmagundi of discomfiture, self-consciousness, perturbation, and compunction—I was awash with solace, that Betty Francis, née Hofstadt and Megan Draper, née Calvet will finally be cognisant of his infidelities and trumped-up stories, that his year after year of insatiable libido were laid bare, and that his skirt-chasing days will be a fond memory, a thing of the past in a trice.

Indeed there is no fool like an old fool.

It agonised me no end, also, when I just had got no idea what was transpiring: Why was that Volkswagen advertisement published during the 1960s deemed to be legendary, a crème de la crème? What had triggered the chortles of the suited and booted, posey admen of Madison Avenue? Who exactly was Donald Draper?

Believe it or not I had even gone the extra mile to google every nook and cranny until I unearthed The Guardian’s insightful, step-by-step guide to deciphering and apprehending Mad Men.

Whilst hitherto Mad Men is all Greek to me, the jeux d’esprit, bon mots, repartee, and beaux esprits galore had me unintentionally assembling a ton of xlnt quotes:

1. I know people say life goes on—and it does—but no one tells you that is not a good thing. — Betty Draper

2. Sally, I always worried about you because you marched to the beat of your own drum, but now I know that is good. I know your life will be an adventure. — Betty Francis

3. We could comfort each other through an uncertain world. — Bob Benson

4. You cannot put yourself in the right place at the right time. You have got to be at the right place all the time. — Bob Benson

5. I am living like there is no tomorrow because there is not one. — Donald Draper

6. It is like eating a mermaid. — Donald Draper

7. It will get easier as you move forward. — Donald Draper

8. Mourning is just extended self-pity. — Donald Draper

9. People tell you who they are but we ignore it because we want them to be who we want them to be. — Donald Draper

10. Teddy told me that in Greek, nostalgia literally means the pain from an old wound. It is a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. — Donald Draper

11. You are born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. — Donald Draper

12. You cannot tell people what they want. It has to be what you want. — Donald Draper

13. But New York… When you arrive and that train starts slowing down and it gets all dark, my heart pounds and I think, “I am going to climb that staircase and be in New York…” — Elliot Lawrence

14. Little compartments filled with possibilities. — Elliot Lawrence

15. Are you aware your self-pity is distasteful? — Jim Cutler

16. Could I get a splash of whiskey in this? — Joan Holloway

17. You spend your whole life thinking you are not getting it, people are not giving it to you, then you realise they are trying and you do not even know what it is. — Leonard

18. Anger can be vanquished by love. — Margaret Sterling

19. I live in the moment. Nothing is everything. — Midge Daniels

20. And you are starving. And not just for dinner. — Peggy Olson

21. I had never recommend imitation as a strategy. You will be second, which is very far from first. — Peggy Olson

22. I tell a joke, everyone laughs, then Harry gets up and does not squander the goodwill I have just generated. — Peter Campbell

23. Sometimes I think maybe I died and I am in some kind of, I do not know if it is heaven or hell or limbo, but I do not seem to exist. No one feels my existence. — Peter Campbell

24. Being with a client is like being in a marriage: Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons and, eventually, they hit you in the face. — Roger Sterling

25. Darling, one egg is good, two eggs are better. — Roger Sterling

26. When a man gets to the point when his name is on the building he can get an unnatural sense of entitlement. — Roger Sterling

27. Why entertain the prospect of failure? — Roger Sterling

28. I am so many people. — Sally Draper

29. The espresso beans mean health, wealth, and happiness; seems redundant if you already have health and wealth. — Salvatore Romano

30. For me, every day is brand new. Every day is a brand new place, people, what have you. — The Hobo

31. What is at home? I had a family once: a wife, a job, a mortgage. I could not sleep at night tied to all those things. Then death came to find me. So one morning I freed myself with the clothes on my back. Now I sleep like a stone: sometimes under the stars, the rain, the roof of a barn… But I sleep like a stone. — The Hobo

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