Elizabeth Wurtzel’s ‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Don Draper

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Elizabeth Wurtzel’s 'The Bachelorette' Recap: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Don Draper

I have lived by the same rules he does, and my life is excellent.

by Elizabeth Wurtzel

It’s time for another episode of The Bachelorette, America’s pre-eminent reality show for romantic group dates, high-profile rejections, barely concealed male rage, and rendering the phrase “true love” utterly meaningless through ceaseless repetition. This season, we have asked Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Prozac Nation and Bitch, to confront our favorite national circus nightmare. Join Elizabeth each Tuesday for all of her opinions on the squabbling and hot-tubbing that’s fit to air on ABC. 

Everything I need to know I learned from Don Draper.

Do excellent work. Look amazing and dress impeccably, even if you are only lounging at home. Be nice, always; only be not-nice in an emergency; only be mean when there is no other choice, and there is always another choice. Be irreplaceable, but replace other people when necessary, because everybody is replaceable, except you, because you are stuck with your life. But you are never stuck — never. Never blame anyone else for your mistakes, but when it’s someone else’s problem, let it be. Walk away. End the day with a drink — but it’s always five o’clock somewhere, so nothing wrong with having one whenever. So what if people don’t like you? There are other people, and they will like you — then the people who did not like you will like you again. There are always more people.

Be impossible to get over. Be the person who people are still arguing with to themselves long after the conversation has ended. If you are a genius, lesser minds will at times doubt you — forgive them, for they know not. Be patient. Let things work themselves out, because they always do. Be gorgeous. Only sleep with beautiful people, and I mean objectively beautiful people — that just makes life better. But kiss whomever you want — no harm in that. You are not as good as the last thing you did — you are only as good as the next thing you do and the next and the next and the next, and so on forever. Yes, it is a test, life is a test over and over, and in the end you die for your troubles. Be loyal even to the people you are sick of. Inspire loyalty by taking care of those who are dear to you, and those who are not. Play by the rules, but make everyone believe you are breaking them. Have regrets. But leave the past behind: This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened. There is only now. Be excellent right now, and now is all the time. Be excellent.

On Sunday night I watched this year’s last episode of Mad Men, and was heartened that Don Draper is back on top. He should be. He is my favorite television character ever, because he does no wrong, even when he does exactly that. I know: I have lived by the same rules he does, and my life is excellent. It has at times been terrible, as has Don’s, but so what? So it goes. There is no virtue without vice, to paraphrase President Lincoln. Anyone who is expecting not to fall into a thorny bush more than a lot is never going to get bouquets of quintessential roses. I have been fired from every job I have ever had, including the one I have now — yes, I left and came back — and I always return, because I am impossible get over. Which anyone can be. Truly: the trick is to like people and love life, because what you send out comes back to you. I still like people after they are done with me, and that is why they aren’t done. I like them because I know they aren’t done. Like I said: You get what you put out.

This only relates to The Bachelorette, because as it happens a couple of weeks ago I got engaged to be married for the first time, at age 46. That makes me twenty years older than Andi Dorfman, who is hoping to have a big diamond on her finger in a matter of weeks. Crazy. I was not interested in getting married until rather recently: I was not serious about love. I was not serious about much, except my work and having a good time. Most people believe you have to settle down by a certain age, or you become ineligible, especially if you are a woman. But actually, you have to be the person you are and work out your problems, and when you are ready to meet someone wonderful, you will. Age is not important. The problem is more often being too young, not too old: you are never too old to fall in love with the most amazing person in the world. I know: my fiancé is the most amazing man in the world. I am a much better catch at 46 than I was at 26, because I am not all messed up anymore. And I have had twenty more years of living like Don Draper.

Andi is lovely and charming, and she seems sensible. She is a great TV star: her breasts seem to change size and shape to match the cut of the dress, and any neckline is right. She is also a great date, because she is enthusiastic about everything, and is into kissing. Andi can’t believe how lucky she is that on her first one-on-one she starts out on a hot sunny beach and ends up snowboarding on the chilly slopes. Wow! She is a girl who likes to have a good time. Loves it. She is way into a strip show that several of the guys perform in a club for her and a screaming female audience — for charity, although they never say what charity, because it’s preposterous to think this requires a justification at all. Andi has necked with both men she has gone on dates with, and I cannot wait to see what she does with the fantasy suite. She is a hopeless flirt, with a southern accent like molasses.

I see why Andi is into this. What woman would not be? Actually, plenty would find it all too much. Maybe most. The world is mostly ordinary people who don’t know how to have fun in a hot air balloon when the sun is shining rays of bright violet. The world is full of sad souls who are miserable on their own birthdays. Who does not hate New Year’s Eve? The world is not at all like Don Draper.

But Andi has a lust for life. I don’t know why she wants to get married now. She has so much more to do.

Image via ABC