Home / Housework, Underwear and Angry Sex: Mad Men Hits Another Bulls-Eye

I’ve been walking around all morning humming ‘Zou Bisou Bisou‘ while doing chores. So why do I feel so … guilty?

You know the song: it was Jessica Paré‘s big star-making moment on Mad Men‘s season premiere on Sunday, the musical gift she sang for her cranky new hubby Don Draper at his surprise birthday party.

For reasons that will probably never be understood, that song and that moment have rocketed to the center of the cultural zeitgeist in the past two days or, as they say in the Twitterverse, it’s trending.

But it wasn’t that infectious bubblegum ditty that really got me thinking. It was what followed: Don arriving home the next day to find a ticked-off Megan cleaning up after the party in her underwear. And not just any old things, either; we’re talking date-night black lace, probably leftover from the night before.

Cue the jungle drums as macho Don pulls his pouting bride onto the carpet and, with his best you-know-you-want-it growl, patches up his marriage in the usual way while Megan resists unconvincingly and unsuccessfully. Housework, lingerie and angry sex: now that‘s a recipe for marital bliss.

My, my. As it so often does, Mad Men has hit several psychic bulls-eyes in one throw, exposing not just a cultural anachronism but an enduring (and somewhat indefensible) guilty pleasure.

What is it about the sight of a woman doing chores in her underwear that brings out the beast in men? For that matter, what is it about doing housework in your skivvies that is so defiantly satisfying for some women?

It’s easy to dismiss both questions by saying that was the 1960s; we’ve come a long way since then, baby. But I don’t think so.

The image of a woman doing chores while half-dressed is a kind of visual cliché that’s still popular in lingerie adverts, pinup calendars and magazine photoshoots today. And, not surprisingly, most show women ironing or vacuuming which, apparently, are the sexy chores. You won’t find many images of a hottie scrubbing a toilet.

You don’t have to be a gender studies major to see it’s purely sexist stereotyping, but in this classic scenario both sexes are equally complicit, regardless of how much we’ve all evolved since Mad Men times. The housework-lingerie equation seems to bring out the neanderthal in all of us.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead, try this at home: put on your best La Perla finery, grab a mop and see what happens!

I dug through the archives and came up with the gallery below to show some examples of how the housewife-in-underwear template continues to resonate in the public imagination. This should get you both in the mood!

ELEGANTLY SCANT
The Aussie lingerie label produced this memorable photo campaign in 2010.
DAMARIS
From the award-winning sexy-housework film Chore by the UK luxury label.
KELLY BROOK
The bombshell model-actress has done a number of housework-themed shoots.
VANESSA HUDGENS
The High School Musical star in a pitch for teen undies brand Candies.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
Teri Hatcher (above) ran a lingerie housecleaning business called Va-Va-Broom.
FASHION MAGAZINE
8-page lingerie spread by Malina Corpadean in the Feb. 2012 issue.
VANITY FAIR (ITALY)
Kastyn Reid in a Pamela Hanson shoot from April 2009.
Posted in Lingerie Trends

2 Responses to “Housework, Underwear and Angry Sex: Mad Men Hits Another Bulls-Eye”

  1. robin says:

    My husband came home to me washing dishes in an apron and panties… (it was a lack of clean clothing issue, not an attempt to be sexy) about a month later when he came back from a business trip he brought me a pearl necklace and an apron.
    I think this article is right on the money.

  2. Hannah says:

    So did the people who loved this scene also think the orange sherbet fight and Meghan being chased through the apartment was hot too?

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