When Don Draper epitomized masculinity in AMC’s hit television series Mad Men set in the 1960s, he wasn’t exactly a role model of sorts, and to be quite brutal, self-destructive at minimum. But the dapper suits and slick hairstyle, the incessant smoking and drinking and his endless desire for beautiful women did not rocket the TRP ratings. Instead, it was the return of the most masculine, alpha male that rendered present day protagonists to pulp. According to UCLA psychiatrist, Paul Puri, it was the existential dilemma engulfing Don that made him irresistible to men and women; the quintessential mysterious persona exuded on screen that caused older women to bat eyelids and older men appreciate the ‘lost’ art of always, always being in control. Surprisingly enough, even young bloods could not keep away from the magnetic charms of the gray shades of the sadistic Don Draper who once famously said, “What you call love was invented by guys like me … to sell nylons.”
Luckily enough, in Suits we get to witness a second testosterone-driven protagonist in our lifetime; one who is refreshingly cocky, verbally ambidextrous and likes to go out all guns blazing. Intellectually of course. The contemporary epitome of masculinity, invulnerability and a sense of style that exclusively Tom Ford suits, chauffeur-driven cars in present Manhattan only reinforces that even in the era of Adam Sandler and Juno, there is hope for mankind. Meet Harvey Specter, the man who has set USA’s cash registers on fire with his dynamic demeanor of a bratty, alpha male; men want to be him, or work with him, and women would risk everything to be with him. The elite suaveness, punctuated with the famous Specter smile sees Harvey earn the unofficial of ‘the best closer this city has ever seen”. With his protégé by his side, men around the world are starting to take notice as they rediscover their manhood. Sadly enough, before Suits premiered, boys could not ask themselves “What would Harvey do?”
In an attempt to give credit where due, Robert Downey Jr. did struggle to personify masculinity but somehow he slipped into the abyss of boyishness. But that’s the closest anyone has ever come. To be the person whose reassuring presence is enough to calm the nerves, or the diabolical shadow of a man whose name alone makes a woman tingle with desire is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Maybe that’s because Harvey Specter and Don Draper only have whisky!