This title is disingenuous. My husband doesn't hate Mad Men. He likes it a lot. Not as much as I do because my like borders on obsession and fixation. But he likes it. What my husband hates, is me, after I watch Mad Men. Every time I finish watching an episode, with absolutely no proof whatsoever, I accuse my husband of cheating on me. How can I not? Over the six seasons I've been watching the show, every single male character has cheated on his wife. Every single one! Maybe not Bert Cooper but I'm not completely sure about that. Even the ones that love their spouses have cheated. And I'm not just talking about Don and Roger because really, who can turn down Jon Hamm or John Slattery. Even the ones who are grossly unattractive and you can't imagine that they would find a woman to cheat with are cheating.
It's fiction you say. Why would you assume your husband is cheating when you have absolutely no evidence? Don't get rational with me please. Believe me, I know, I'm not an idiot, yet a part of me can't let go of the suspicion and have even gone so low as to search for evidence. For the record I have found none. And my husband is not a particularly dissembling guy, plus he's a really bad liar so you'd think that if there were some proof, I would have found it by now.
Still, after every episode, the nagging feeling persists. Sometimes I won't speak to him for an entire day after watching a particularly disturbing episode like the one where Don treated Sylvia like a sex slave. I'm driving the poor guy crazy, you say. Mind your own business. I come by my insanity honestly. My father was a chronic philanderer. I realized that at a young age. It created some not-so-pretty family moments. And I'm Sally. I was 13-years-old in 1968. Sally is what? 14? Growing up in Westchester just like me. Although I didn't have the waspy parents or the divorced father with a cool apartment in Manhattan. Still, it all resonates so deeply. The colors, the hair, the clothes, the cigarettes, the assassinations, the draft dodging, the cars, the music, and the cheating. Oh, the cheating.
Jeff Garlin, my television husband, and you Curb watchers know full well that he has always cheated on my character, recalls a night at Catch a Rising Star in the early '90s. It had just become public that Billy Joel was cheating on Christie Brinkley. Jeff was incredulous. "How could anyone cheat on such a beautiful woman?" Jeff asked me. I replied, according to him, in what he perceived as my New York accent, "A cheatah is a cheatah!" Well there you have it. Don Draper is a cheatah. My Dad was a cheatah. My husband? I don't think so.
In my mind there are three kinds of men. The men who cheat no matter what, serially, uncontrollably, good relationship or bad. The Cheatah's. Then there are the ones who are so principled or religious or scared that they would never cheat, even when their marriage sours and the sex is no longer there. Those are the martyrs and quite honestly I don't really understand them. Live without sex? Better to be a cheatah. Then there is the third kind. The guy who is in a committed, loving relationship and really has no inclination to cheat on the woman he loves unless given cause, for example, his wife continually acts like a maniac, accusing him of infidelity every time she watches a TV show.
My husband suggests I stop watching the show. He sees the state it puts me in. But I can't. I'm drawn to it like a lifeline to my past. It haunts me. I wake up Monday morning and wait for him to leave for work. I turn on the DVR and watch it. I watch it alone before he gets home at night and we can watch it together. I need to know ahead of time if there's going to be a problem. If I'm going to have to tell him that we can watch the episode but if he has even the slightest desire for sex tonight, we'd better put it off till tomorrow. And so it goes week after week. I loiter in my past reliving the confusion and anger of 13 year old me and take it out on my adult husband who just possibly may be the greatest guy around. Thankfully, there are only two episodes left so my marriage may be saved after all. At least until next season.
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