If aesthetics were everything, the Draper family would be the pinnacle of the idyllic 1960s American family. But any Mad Men viewer knows that appearances are meant to disguise the truth, not reflect it. Despite financial security and a beautiful home in the New York suburubs, Don Draper and his family are as dysfunctional as they come. But achieving such a peak level of middle class discontentment requires strict discipline. Here is Mad Men: 10 Rules That Members Of The Draper Family Have To Follow.
10 Be welcoming to Daddy's guests...
Traditional gender roles reign supreme in the '60s, meaning the home was generally considered the "woman's domain" — except, of course, when the man of the house must entertain work friends. Don throws a dinner party at his home, and Betty transforms from long-suffering housewife to caterer, waitress, and sparkling hostess. She toils away all day and doesn't bat an eyelash when the party number changes, even though it throws off her seating and cooking arrangements. For all her troubles, Betty finds herself the butt of a joke, as the drunk executives laugh at how she's the perfect demographic.
9 ...But not too welcoming
Betty not only has to play the charming Suzy Homemaker for guests she's prepared for; she must also be ready for impromptu ones as well. When Don announces a clingy Roger will be dining with the Drapers, Betty sacrifices her own dinner so the men can eat. But Mrs. Draper is fine with munching on rabbit food as Don and Roger tear into their beef; if anything, Betty is happy for the company.
But Don is none too pleased when his wife gets tipsy — dude, she had three spoonfuls of lettuce for dinner — and girlishly flirtatious with his boss. After Roger stumbles to his car — yes, they let him drive home — Don gets violently aggressive with Betty. Apparently, she should have munched her salad in silence.
8 Cutting your hair is always a bad idea
Don't get us wrong — there's nothing wrong with getting a little trim at the beauty parlor. But when a Draper woman takes scissors to her own hair, she's really asking for trouble. Betty finds herself in hot water with neighbor Helen Bishop after cutting off a lock of her blonde tresses to give to Glen, Helen's son. It was one of Mad Men's creepy, weirder moments and for Betty, certainly not worth all the trouble it caused.
Well, like mother, like daughter. Though Sally wasn't acting under the desires of an unnerving neighbor, she was bored under the care of a negligent babysitter. So, what else is young Sally to do but give herself an Edward Scissorhands-level hack job? This results in a hard slap across the face from Betty. There's nothing like seeing your own mistakes reflected in your offspring, is there?
7 Mommy handles discipline...
Don is appalled when Betty strikes their daughter, which falls right in with his style of armchair parenting. He's perfectly content in pointing out Betty's flaws as a mother, yet still expects her to enact discipline. When Betty flips the script and wants Don to punish a misbehaving Bobby, Don acts as if Betty is asking for the moon.
His sorry attempts include a semi-raised voice and a finger wag. Shockingly, this doesn't work. Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Sick of Betty's nagging, Don pitches a full-scale temper tantrum at the dinner table by smashing Bobby's toy. Let's be real — if any Draper deserves the time out chair, it's Don.
6 ...And dealing with obnoxious neighbors
Don is comfortable assuming his patriarchal position when it suits him, but when it doesn't, he's more than happy to delegate to his wife. Again, this isn't about gender equality; it's pure laziness on Don's part. An obnoxious neighbor has pet pigeons — yes, you're reading that correctly — and their squawking is driving Betty crazy. Don doesn't get what all the fuss is about; after all, he's not the one trapped at home all day, so what does it matter? Even when the same neighbor threatens little Sally with shooting the family dog, Don can't be bothered to put down his tumbler and deal with it. So, Betty...well, the picture tells you what she does.
5 Cleaning up is not a Draper's job
The Drapers are proud members of the upper middle class, meaning they can afford help around the house. While Betty competently handles the basics, Carla the housekeeper takes on the lion's share of the work. But even the entitled Drapers acknowledge that Carla does have an existence outside of their employ and thus, can't take her everywhere. So when the family goes out for a picnic and there's no Carla to clean up the mess...they just leave it. As in Don chucks an empty beer can into the woods and Betty shakes trash off the blanket and leaves it on the ground. While littering wasn't as taboo then as it is now, it's clearly a reflection that the Drapers expect others to clean up their mess.
4 Fainting couches spell trouble
What's one of the only perks of being an oppressed 1960s housewife? When your husband lets you redecorate! A June Cleaver dream come true, Betty even hires a decorator to help her out. But things go south when Betty bumps into her illicit crush, Henry Francis, and he admires a fainting couch in a store window. Seeing as how a respectable married woman like Betty can't entertain her romantic feelings for Henry, consumerism is the next best thing. She buys the couch and it completely dwarfs the living room. Her decorator is so disgusted, she actually quits. Don doesn't know what to make of it — interior decorating is hardly in his wheelhouse. Little did he know, the fainting couch was the ultimate symbol of his soon-to-be doomed marriage.
3 Daddy is allowed to get stinking drunk; Mommy is not
Don's an ad-man, so liquid lunches and drinks with clients are part of the job. What's a few too many Manhattans if it means bringing home the bacon? But Don doesn't limit his excessive imbibing to the workplace; he'll happily get sloshed at home all the same. One such instance sees him chain-drinking beer before his daughter's birthday party, ditching the affair completely, and returning home sans cake, but with puppy. So all good, right?
The same liquor liberation doesn't apply to Betty. After she learns of Don's affair — one of them — she goes on a wine-fueled mission to find proof. She doesn't succeed, but earns herself some serious judgment and stink eye from her hypocrite of a husband.
2 A Draper is always nice to the creepy neighbor kid
Can we all just agree that Glen Bishop is on the fast-track to becoming a serial killer? Between the disquieting hair incident and him defacing the Draper home, it's clear this kid is bad news. So why are the Draper women so obsessed with him? Every time he pops back into Betty or Sally's lives, they embrace him with open arms, sometimes a bit too intimately — yes, Betty, we're talking to you. Honestly, we don't get the Glen appeal. Could it be that after Don's neglect, Glen's attention, creepy as it may be, is a welcome substitute? Maybe we do need that fainting couch after all.
1 Barbie always saves the day
It's fair to say that Betty Draper doesn't understand her daughter. Betty grew up as the picture-perfect model of a good girl; why can't Sally do the same? Overt displays of emotions are not ladylike, even when it comes to mourning a dead relative. Sally has trouble coping with her grandfather's (Betty's father) death and thinks her baby brother is Grandpa Gene incarnate. So what better way to shut Sally up than by gifting her a Barbie doll — the quintessential symbol of "perfect femininity"? As Sally isn't strong enough to hurl her mother out the window, the Barbie is a welcome substitute. Don finds it crash-landed in the shrubs. Another day in Draper paradise.