What was is like to be gay during the 1960s on Madison Avenue? David Leddick (who was worldwide creative director for Revlon at Grey Advertising and international creative director for L'Oreal at McCann-Erickson) wrote an entertaining essay for Huffington Post about his personal experience of being a gay mad man.
Being Gay in the World of Mad, Mad Men: What It Was Really Like
After I left BBDO, a friend told me he'd overheard comments about me in the elevator, along the lines of, "So, they were in a lot of trouble here when the queer that was writing all the great stuff left. But then they found another queer who could write just as fancifully."
When I finally hit Hockaday Associates, a small agency specializing in high-end fashion, furniture, cosmetics, and the like, it was a different world.
All the art directors were gay, and all the account executives were women. The agency president was in fact a Miss Hockaday, and she had her own take on the 1960s. Everyone really dressed to the nines. Everyone was good-looking, and there was wall-to-wall green carpeting in the foyer. A lady with a cart served tea every afternoon at 4 o'clock. Clients came in and were overwhelmed by the chic and wonder of it all. We were famous in the advertising world because Miss Hockaday dropped the Elizabeth Arden account. After Miss Arden kept her waiting for an hour for a meeting, Miss Hockaday swept in and said, "Miss Arden, you are a tyrant. We do not want to have this account," and swept out.
Can we please have more scenes like this on Mad Men?
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.