Don Draper’s 10 Lessons in Being a Man

In Entertainment by Matt Kiebus / August 9, 2010

If there is one character in television history that captures the essence of being a man, it’s Don Draper.

Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Draper smokes, drinks and fucks all during his three-hour lunch breaks. He also happens to be the best advertising executive in fictional TV history. Over the past couple years, since “Mad Men” first aired the name, Don Draper has been synonymous with style, success and all that is manhood.

What’s interesting is Draper is absolutely nothing like the modern man — no sentimentality or geekish humor. Don Draper exists to out-drink, out-class and out-charm every minion that comes within ten city blocks of him. He enjoys the finer things in life such as high-class prostitutes who fulfill his masochistic desires. Draper is the masculine ideal because of his embodiment of cool and a graceful confidence that rivals Sinatra.

What Don Would Do

Always Be Able to Out-Drink Your Boss
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Say Roger Sterling makes a pass at your wife and insults your drinking ability because he’s your boss and he feels entitled. Well, go out to one of those nine-hour lunches and have an oyster-eating, hard liquor-drinking contest with him. Follow that with a jog up 23 flights of stairs, and when he collapses to “find his tie clip,” smile. When he vomits in front of clients, smile smugly.

Always Follow a Shitty Fatherly Decision With an Awesome One
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

It’s your daughter’s birthday party — you know what that means: time to hydrate. In the ‘burbs we switch to beer when doing anything outside, and continue heavily throughout the day. Videotape the whole experience with one of those expensive recorders you bought. When Betty asks you to get the cake, take a six-pack with you and disappear for six hours. Take a nap in the car. Consider your mysterious past. Return triumphant with a Golden Retriever. All is forgiven.

Never Let Anyone Know Anything About Your Past
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Why would you let anyone know your secrets past? To relate to them better? To bond over being raised in the same state or attending the same school? Grow up. Your past is only a weakness. It’s over. Forget about that dead guy whose identity you stole. Nostalgia is for the meek.

Smoke Two Packs a Day
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Smoking cigarettes makes you 50% cooler. It’s a fact, because ad men like Don said so. The government tried to tell you it’s poisonous, that you’ll die from smoking — whatever. All I have to say is look at Paul Newman and Don Draper. Do they look like they’re dying?

Dress like You’re in the Rat Pack, but Classier
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Know how to pick out a good suit. Wear a lot of grey suits, skinny ties, and fedoras if the weather calls for it. Think classy. Act classy. Always look good, never disheveled. Wear your suits with confidence that would make Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. look like they’re part of a barbershop quartet.

Attempt and Succeed in Having Sex With Every Good-Looking Woman You Meet
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Whenever you see a woman you’re attracted to forget the fact you have a wife, three kids and a dog. In fact don’t think at all. You’re Don Draper: Women want to sleep with you at the mere utterance of your name. Take control of every situation, show them how powerful and suave you are. Take them out for drinks. Light their cigarettes. Then proceed to show them how much of a man you really are. Never talk about your exploits with anyone. And if they talk, leave them tied up to a bed.

Two Words: Old Fashioned
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

I’m assuming you’re a man — drink like one. Having a bad day? Pour yourself a glass. Having a great day? Pour yourself a couple. You deserve it. Writer’s block? Attempt to finish the bottle; I’m sure an idea will come through.

Master the Dramatic Pause
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

As the man in charge everyone should be hanging on your every word. Speak clearly and with absolute certainty. When you’re about to say something genius/ stirring/ poignant take a breath and count to three. Then pull the rug from underneath them.

Leave Your Clients Speechless From Your Brilliance
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Never look like you’re working. Stare aimlessly out your window until virtuosic advertising brilliance flows out your pen and onto paper. When clients arrive, excite, dazzle and blow their fucking minds. For example, when Don invented “The Carousel.”

Emotion is for Pussies — Grab Another Drink
Don Draper's 10 Lessons in Being a Man

Like I said before, sentiment has no place at work or in the company of others. Stand strong. Never cry. Always have a firmer handshake than the other guy. Never show frustration, rarely show love (in marriage-saving situations only). No one wants to hear about your feelings. Pull yourself together. Pour yourself another drink. Numb the pain. Be a fuckin’ man. Just like Don Draper.