When I was in middle school, there was a boy I sat near. I always knew where he was and what he was doing and—perhaps most importantly—what grades he’d gotten on any recent tests. I’ve always been attracted to brainy types, you see, and that JERK not only got nearly perfect grades, he used to GLOAT about them.
“I beat you. AGAIN,” he used to say to me, even if his score was only a single point higher than mine.
“Shut up,” I’d mutter, stuffing my test into my backpack and giving him a look intended to melt his face off.
He often brought up things or asked questions in class that even the teacher couldn’t answer, and then sat there in smug satisfaction at having stumped the supposed expert. He talked about things no one understood. He seemed mysterious.
I was hopelessly infatuated with him, of course. Had you asked me at the time, I would’ve told you that I HATED HIM with the fire of a thousand suns, but secretly? Totally crushin’ on him and his perfection.
He wasn’t perfect, of course. Aside from the grade gloating, he really WAS a jerk in many ways. The teachers found him trying. Very few boys in our class liked him, and none of the girls could stand him. Or maybe they were all secretly in love with him, like I was. Even at twelve, I think I knew that I was drawn to him, but I couldn’t have told you why.
It turns out that not much changes as the years pass—this guy surfaced a few years ago out of the blue (maybe he found me on Classmates? I can’t remember) and after the perfunctory hellos he put me on a mailing list for his new company, which, of course, he went to great lengths to tell me all about. It’s fabulous! and successful! and hot! and THE NEXT BIG THING! and I felt that long-forgotten disdain creeping in as he went on and on about how great he is and how many famous people he knows.
This time, at least, the attraction wasn’t there. Thank God.
Of course, I’ve always been a very monogamous sort, and I’m very busy pining elsewhere, right now.
People. I need help. I mean that I need serious assistance, here. Because this is DRIVING ME CRAZY. Someone PLEASE tell me: Has Mad Men become completely confusing this season or is it just me?
Last Spring, I started watching it in reruns and became completely hooked. I counted down until the new season started, and now we record each new episode (as early school mornings and old age prevent me from staying up late to watch it air) and I pester Otto to sit down and watch it with me as soon as possible.
I’ll be absolutely riveted, the entire episode. And then when the credits roll, I’ll turn to Otto and say, “But. But. Wait. What happened? WHAT IS GOING ON?”
Oh, Mad Men. Every week you make me wonder if I love you because you’re awesome or if I’m just infatuated with how you stump the classroom and piss everyone off and waltz away with a smug little grin. Why can’t you just love me back? Why can’t you tell me what the hell is happening or why it’s important? WHY MUST YOU TAUNT ME SO?
It’s getting to where I’ve been telling Otto that I think maybe the producers intend for you to drink as much as the characters do, each episode, just to follow the storyline. Or not care that you can’t follow the storyline. Either way.
I can’t stop watching, but I’m pissed off every single time an episode draws to a close. I feel like I’m back in middle school, perpetually one point short on The Big Test.
Is Mad Men just too cool for me, or is Mad Men turning into a pretentious jerk? I just don’t know anymore.