It does not surprise me that Jon Hamm sported a wispy middle part in the 90's, considering that it was the most popular haircut of the decade. However, because Hamm didn't reach the peak of his stardom until more than a decade later, as the part of debonair Don Draper on the show Mad Men, his hairdo has made viral waves after a video clip of his appearance on dating show, The Big Date, was exposed yesterday.
Since Hamm is so closely associated with his hyper-masculinized roles, like Don Draper or his misogynist character, Ted, in the movie Bridesmaids, it is always a refreshing surprise to see someone's masculinity fail them. In 1996, when this show aired, Hamm was a struggling actor in Hollywood, desperate for any sort of time onscreen. After being asked what kind of perfect date he had in mind for the bachelorette, Hamm's answer was so brilliantly dumb:
"Well, start off with some fabulous food, a little fabulous conversation, and with a fabulous foot massage for an evening of fabulosity."
The bachelorette cringes and the audience thunders with laughter. Unfortunately, Jon was not picked.
Was this a joke Jon Hamm? It must be. Hamm's foolish proposition seems almost like a purposeful mockery of the show itself, or as I would like to think, a debunking of the "perfect date" myth. Could it be? Did Hamm's beautifully draped, middle-parted locks prophesy a future full of compatibility obsessed television daters?
Did Jon Hamm have any idea that the dating and matchmaking industry would blowup after the Y2K? I doubt it, and thank god he strayed away from that terrifying realm of television. In the decade to follow, there was an explosion of dating and love compatibility reality TV shows. Shows like, Blind Date, Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, NEXT, Room Raiders, The Bachelor, and oh my god why are there are so many?! This was the kind of junk TV I grew up watching and thankfully I never felt inclined to participate. Yet, there is still something about the way in which these people obsessed over the "perfect match" that has stuck with me all these years. The idea of dating compatibility has become a part of a happiness industry that focuses on monogamy, and a set of strict guidelines to go along with it. What is this obsession with exposing the inner secrets of your potential mate as some sort of precautionary measure? Why do people want their romantic lives advertised on television? Are the people volunteering to go on these shows even looking for love? I'm sure there are people out there that may have no other option but to contact someone like Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker to assist them with their love life. However, I am interested in our society's pressure to "couple-up," and the romanticization of this coercion. I am not saying that the phenomenon of finding the perfect match is a negative impulse. In fact, people who "date" should be looking for common interests. However, there are different ways to go about finding your "soul mate" than by rummaging through the nightstand of your potential date and being filmed while doing it.
Or perhaps I'm wrong, and these kinds of shows are representative of a new found sexual liberation that permits you to date whomever, whenever, and however!
I may not have all of the answers to these kinds of questions and I'm sure Jon Hamm probably doesn't either. What I do know is, that dating shouldn't need to fit a certain set of guidelines, or rather, categorize your "date" into a box of unrealistic expectations. The time you spend getting to know each other shouldn't have to involve million dollar investments either! Most of the time, people meet their significant others by chance, or online, which is another million dollar industry that somehow seems less superficial.
Cheers to Jon Hamm for bringing these questions back onto the table with his adorable Patrick Verona haircut.