What to say, oh, what to say about an anonymous Thought Catalogue essay that starts, “From the beginning we knew our relationship looked like a cliché—perhaps plucked from a boring episode of ‘Mad Men.’ You, my 21-year-old millennial intern, me, your 30-something married boss with two kids”?
“To The Millennial I Left For My Wife (And 8 Parting Words Of Advice)” is a hate-read from the first line. Sadly, it only gets much, much more hate-able as it goes on. I don’t mean to spoil the surprise for you, but this wannabe modern day Don Draper leaves his wife and two kids for his millennial intern. They have a few great “magical” and “addictive” weeks together “dancing on the dock of a river” and stealing kisses in an elevator. But soon, everything goes to hell in a hand basket. Why? Oh, because “serious differences emerged from the shadows” and “common backgrounds also forged common problems.” God, I HATE when that happens.
Less obtusely put: the girl came to her senses and realized that Don Draper was a delusional, “bipolar,” narcissist, asshole, cheater, dickwad douchebag who could not be helped by therapy. So she shtupped her neighbor and maybe an ex-boyfriend or two and then he clung on like a bunny boiler and she had no choice but to cut him out of her life completely like a cancerous tumor. I think it’s safe to say that this manchild is worthy of his “bipolar” title, as his ridiculous screed swings wildly from vengeful (“I threatened to expose how we got started when you threatened to leave”) and patronizing (“You said many times that you looked up to me, and you were never shy about seeking my advice”). REALLY, guy? REALLY!?
But before he goes, he leaves his much younger lover with the most ridiculous, most insulting tips for living her life without him — including pleas for her to continue to make her bed, never give up on her dreams and not to be afraid to seek help. He ends his missive with a very earnest “I love you.” I CAN’T.
Below, I have a few tips for Mr. Don Draper, who has no business in HELL doling out advice to anyone ever:
1. Continue to work hard on getting in touch with reality. Here’s what I know for sure about you, Don Draper: any man who would leave his wife and kids in ONE WEEK for a 21-year-old intern does not know what end is up in life. He is out of touch with reality and out-of-touch with himself. Time to start tuning back in, dude, because you are a PARENT.
2. Learn how to value your family. You advise your lover not to “give up on being the type of friend and family member worth keeping in one’s life” yet you abandoned your own family. See how that doesn’t add up right there? YOU HAVE KIDS. Go pay attention to them.
3. Make your own damn bed. It’s so nice of you to reassure your former intern that you appreciated how she made your bed every day, but you would have loved her just the same if she didn’t. But part of me suspects you haven’t made your own bed maybe ever. It’s time to learn, buddy.
4. Give up on your dreams. I can’t pinpoint your exact dream. It’s either to be a sage guru or a great writer. You are neither and you never will be SO STOP.
5. Be comfortable being alone. It’s pretty clear you’re co-dependent and insanely needy. Spend some time, a lot of time, alone. Please. The female population BEGS you.
6. Be afraid to give part of yourself to someone else. It’s clear that your plea for your ex to make “the one you love a priority in your life” is a little dig at her for leaving you. But the truth is, she made a mistake in giving any part of herself to you and her takeaway should be to be more discerning in the future about who she invites into her life. I recommend you do the same.
7. Don’t be afraid to keep seeking professional help. The last thing you need to worry about is whether or not your millennial love is in therapy. She’s 21 and figuring out who she is. What’s your excuse? Your lack of self-awareness and insight is pitiable. I hope you’re still in therapy and plan to be for a long, long, looooonnnng time.
8. Societal norms exist for a reason. There’s a reason why most people don’t leave their families for a 21-year-old intern. Because it’s kind of shady. While I agree that you shouldn’t let society define your life or stay in an unhappy marriage, you definitely don’t get to ignore the very real consequences of your actions and the impact they have on others. Also, P.S. why the fuck is your ex-wife comforting you in your time of heartbreak? Oh, because she’s just so relieved to be rid of you?
Goodbye, Don Draper. I’m sure you only look like Jon Hamm in your dreams. I will try my best to forget you as soon as is humanly possible. And I think I speak for the entire internet when I say: I hope we never hear from you again.