When Madmen premiered in 2007, every guy in the world was instantly polarized by the executives at Sterling Cooper, a fictional advertising agency set in the 1960’s. Some believe that every guy has taken a particularly keen interest for obvious reasons. The guys on the show are rich, well-dressed, never do any real work to speak of, drink in the office, and regularly bang secretaries as well as an array of other hotties. They take business trips to cool locales, drive nice cars, have beautiful wives, houses, apartments in New York City and people think that it is solely for these reasons that every guy from 18 to 70 is just living vicariously through Don Draper and company. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of the allure of the show. Who wouldn’t love to have a few scotches and a nap in the middle of a workday followed by a tryst with a pretty young thing later in the evening? But that’s the not only reason, believe it or not. The main reason this show resonates with men is because it depicts a better period in time for men in the United States. Even an 18 year old kid watching the show can see that. He may even stop tweeting for a second to pay full attention to the antics of Roger Sterling. But the bottom line is this; the 1950’s and 1960’s were a time of great opportunity in the United States. A man with a dream and the will to put in the work to achieve that dream could make it come true. Everything was feasible and that is a constant theme throughout Madmen. Take Peter Campbell for example. He’s a young man from a privileged background trying to make his own way in the world. He fights and scrapes, works hard and takes chances, and when it’s time to form the new agency he has enough leverage to demand partnership in the company. I don’t believe this is something a lot of men today can related to. If a kid out of college started at Ogilvy tomorrow, he would more than likely be switching jobs before five years had passed, and that would be one of many job changes. That kid probably has as good a chance of becoming a VP at Ogilvy or any other large firm as he does of hitting the Mega Millions. Madmen also shows a time where things were much simpler. They say ignorance is bliss and in the 1960’s this was the case. Guys ate steaks, drank, and smoked cigarettes like they were going out of style. Why? A big steak with a mound of potatoes and butter was considered a man’s meal, a healthy plate of food for the busy working man. Smoking on an airplane was okay because the effects of second hand smoke weren’t discovered yet. There’s even a scene where Don meets with the Cancer Society and they admit that half of them are smokers. When I say simpler times this is exactly what I mean. A man went about his business, he worked hard, and that was his focus, that and having his pleasures where he could. He didn’t worry about the cholesterol in a steak, or the effects of cigarettes and alcohol. He didn’t have to consider how much gluten he would consume that day, and had no idea what gluten was. White bread wasn’t the enemy; it was the staple of any healthy lunch. Madmen shows that a man in this time went about his business and did what he had to do without all of the distractions men face today. Is it a terrible idea to have a martini at lunch? Should I eat this? Did I take my multivitamin? How much coffee is too much? These are things every man in today’s society constantly needs to ask himself. Back then, not so much. There was also a dignity that came with being a man. A man wasn’t expected to tone down his masculinity. He was expected to be masculine, a provider, useful. Today, he might be made to feel ashamed for having any of these qualities. Who would have ever thought that we would see a time when holding a door open for a lady wouldn’t be accepted graciously every time it happened? In conclusion, while we do watch Madmen just to get an hour’s worth of Christina Hendricks and January Jones, as well as wish our lives were as cool as Don or Roger’s, it’s really just a bunch of guys indulging in a program that shows us better days, better days many of us never got to experience.