|Talking Point: Mad for Mad Men|
There was a time when men were men. They played by their own rules, were masters of their own domains and wouldn't be seen dead doing anything as unmanly as shedding a tear or talking about their feelings.
It's a bygone age brought brilliantly to life in the sixties-set US series Mad Men - which returned to BBC Four for a fourth, much acclaimed series last week - and typified by its lead character, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, marriage vow-flouting ad man Don Draper.
But could the pampered, lily-livered males of today do a lot worse than take a leaf out of bad boy Don Draper's book?
There is something alluring about the glamorous, consequence-free lifestyles of the characters in Mad Men. Does it say something about the closeted way we live our lives today that we find the way Don and his cohorts conduct themselves so attractive?
Or should we never forget that Mad Men is fiction? Besides, we've come a long way in 40 years and some models of behaviour deserve to be consigned to the dustbin. As even the characters in Mad Men sometimes find out to their cost, no bad deed goes completely unpunished. It pays to be nice.
Some women1 find the behaviour of Don Draper - and the similarly unreconstructed Gene Hunt in Ashes to Ashes - deeply attractive. Is this just a bit of fun, or does it point to something darker in our psyches?
Or do you find Mr Darcy-ish levels of stroppiness and disdain a massive turn-off? There's a lot to be said for a nice and sensitive New Man. You'd rather2 go home with Richie Cunningham than the Fonz, any day.
1 And, let us not forget, men.
2 To stretch the popular culture references yet further.
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