Sorry. Something in my eye. Anyway, yes! Of course we can! Here’s how:
1. Do Some Reading
Since Mad Men is one of the most literary shows since Wishbone, why not check out some of its influences? What else are you going to read, articles about pop culture? Please continue reading articles about pop culture! But afterwards…
--The Short Stories of John Cheever. Cheever wrote his stories, which often concerned mid-20th-century New York, booze, existential despair, sexuality, infidelity and privilege, with such heartbreaking attention to detail that he became known as “The Chekhov of the suburbs." If you’re not familiar with his work, check out “O City of Broken Dreams!”, “Torch Song,” (which features a character named Joan Harris), “The Country Husband,” and “The Swimmer.”
--The White Album by Joan Didion. Given the pacing of the show, it’s safe to assume that Season 6 will take place in or around 1968. Here, Didion writes about aspects of that particular zeitgeist—The Doors, The Manson Family— with beautiful, ambling sentences and a mood of dread and paranoia.
--Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O’Hara. Because tell me hearing Don reads from O'Hara's collection of New York School poetry doesn’t get you amped as heck for Mad Men:
The regret! The misery! You don’t have enough of that in your real life, right?
2. Dress Up Like Your Favorite Character!
You think you’re better than cosplayers and LARPers just because your favorite show makes allusions to Frank O’Hara and Sylvia Plath? Guess what? Allusions to Frank O’Hara and Sylvia Plath are actually the nerdiest thing possible! Embrace it, Poindexter, and check out these great vintage stores in the Bay Area for all of your sartorial needs:
--Mars in Berkeley. This Telegraph Avenue highlight features two floors of old-time class at decent prices.
--La Rosa and Held Over in the Haight. In a part of town that already feels like an unsettling tribute to a bygone era, La Rosa and its less expensive sister store stand above the rest.
--Retrofit in the Mission. This Valencia street space places an emphasis on drag and personal transformation.
You’re sure to find period-appropriate realness at any of these places for your dorky Mad Men get-together.
(Or don’t. At least, please don’t drink like the characters on Mad Men.)
When my friends and I first got big into this show, we started ordering “old-fashioned” cocktails at bars, a la Don Draper. However, the old-fashioned you get at most bars nowadays, poignantly enough, is not what it used to be. It's more like a weird, sangria-esque soup of fruit and sugar, or a fruit salad drenched in whiskey and bitters. Are you at all surprised that Rachel Maddow has the most succinct and charming explanation for how to make an old-fashioned old-fashioned?
And of course, the order here is important-- don't drink too much before trying to read any of those books or put on fancy clothes.
What are you doing for the upcoming season of Mad Men? Probably going about your business, not worrying about this kind of stuff? Planning a super-cool party that you're still waiting to invite me to? Wondering how I got through this article without making a single reference to Jon Hamm's recent trouser difficulties? Let us know!