You know the rules.
That was terribly depressing. There was justice to the whole Betty and Don thing but it really was depressing.
Infidelity is a constant source of conversation among men. The paradox for so many of us is that we want families, we want life-partnership, but the act of never sleeping with another woman tugs at us like a kind of death. It almost feels off to commit, like something deep in your DNA is saying Don't do this. And the voice isn't evil, it's an essential part of you.
There's a lot of debate, not so much over whether women feel the same pull, but over the strength of the pull, and its exact nature. I've never had much interest in that conversation because it feels so unanswerable. All the women I've ever talked to honestly, who I believed were confident, self-assured and sharp, said that they struggled to commit also, that something deep inside them also said, No. Did they feel it as most men I know felt? Not really--it seemed less common. Was the pull as strong? I don't know. Maybe it's stronger How much of it is nature, and how much of it is nurture? I can't, with any amount of intellectual humility, claim to be able to answer that.
What I do know is this--the men I've known in my life who've fallen down, if that's how we think of it, almost always underestimate the longing and desire of their spouses. Many of us think we can't be got. We don't necessarily see our spouses as fully human, as people with particular needs, whether different or the same. And when those needs go unmet, we don't actually believe that they'll step out on us.
This is the arrogance of gender power, it's blinding. Tonight, Don Draper looked like Mike Tyson after Buster Douglass took him down. I thought of Johnny Taylor. We think we're invincible. Then they cut you. I don't know if we can make total and complete peace with that deep paradox--the hope is for detente. But one thing I got very clear on, and at a relatively young age honestly, was that women are human in all the evil ways that men are human, and that there is a kind of justice in the world. It's not so bad that we violate--it's that we don't understand the costs of violation, or maybe we're gripped by a kind of fatalism. It never occurred to Don that his wife might leave him, or maybe it occurred to him all the time.
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