A Boxing Match in Three Rounds: Mad Men vs. Gentlemen
By Dawn Stanyon, AICI FLC, Professional Image Consultant
In this corner, we have Mr. Draper, Mr. Sterling, and Mr. Campbell: three ad execs who know how to create, drink, sell, drink, carouse, and, uh, drink.
In the other corner, we have Mr. Porter, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Tebeau, three gentlemen who value the importance of relationships and the comfort of others over their personal immediate needs.
Let’s keep this fight clean! Ding! Ding! Ding!
We know, we know: One can easily use the Mad Men of Sterling Cooper Draper and Price as a cautionary counterpoint. But isn’t it fun? People like to hear about men behaving badly – they may even like to occasionally date them - but rarely do they want to live with them, be best friends with them or work in the same office space.
On to the fight!
The Mad Men go to lunch with the Gentlemen. Roger Sterling leans in with a snarky comment; Draper and Campbell snicker behind their martinis. They know that Mr. Porter is a kind and sensitive soul, a bleeder, and first blood is easily drawn. But wait! Mr. Kelly comes to the rescue with a bolo punch, more show than blow, and deftly rescues Mr. Porter. “Sterling,” he says, “Please tell us about what’s new. We’re very interested to hear about your top campaigns.” Sterling is caught cold and diverted.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Round One goes to the Gentlemen for considerate comments and appropriate diversion.
The Gentlemen invite the Mad Men to a business-related cocktail party. The Mad Men arrive in a cloud of cigarette smoke. By 8:00 o’clock, the Gentlemen are looking at their watches and wanting to move on to dinner with their significant other. The Mad Men are diligently bobbing and weaving, shooting down their umpteenth cocktails, and giving no indication that they are ready to throw the fight. Mr. Tebeau steps in with a combination. “Draper, Sterling and Price: Thanks for joining us tonight. We need to head out. Can we set up a time next week to meet to further discuss details? I’ll have my administrative assistant call yours. Terrific. Here are your coats and fedoras. Do you need help signaling a cab?”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Round Two goes to the Gentlemen for savvy communication and respectful relationship building.
Our final round, Round Three:
Pete Campbell is e-mailing Mr. Kelly. The e-mail says, “Where are those contracts? We need them ASAP or my A*# is grass.” Mr. Kelly almost buckles from what feels like a low blow. Does the Mad Man intend to be so crass and short? Mr. Kelly moves Campbell into his neutral corner by picking up the phone and actually speaking to Campbell: “Hello, Campbell. How are you? Mmm, hmm. Terrific. I have a quick question for you. I just received your e-mail and you seem to be in a tight spot. I can get that contract to you tomorrow morning. Does that work for you? Great. Yes, let’s talk again soon.”
Ding! Ding! Ding! Round three is a knock out. The Gentleman once again build relationships instead of tearing them down.
Ok, enough with the Mad Men and fighting references.
In Peter Post’s second edition of Essential Manners for Men (HarperColiins, May 7, 2012), there is a refreshed emphasis on the importance of being a gentleman, and on how any man can enhance his strengths and skills to create success for himself while paving the way for positive personal and professional relationships.