Don Draper is a bastard, most of these women will concede. He cheats on his pre-Friedan-ized wife, Betty, going through mistresses like packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes. He is stoic, handsome, emotionally stunted. "Obviously, he's physically attractive, but his lack of conscience is upsetting," said Megan Donis, 34, a television producer who lives in Fort Greene.
"If you just compare him, to, say, Patrick Dempsey on Grey's Anatomy, Dr. McDreamy comes off as a whiny little sensitive bitch," said Lindsay Robertson, 31, a co-editor of Videogum.com, resident of Carroll Gardens and a self-described member of the "Draper estrogen brigade."
In suburbia-inflected Park Slope, scores of such Stepford Husbands can be found roughhousing with their toddlers at the playground, hoisting strollers up brownstone steps or putting together a nice little risotto for dinner. "In New York, in the age of the metrosexual and all that, especially in neighborhoods like Park Slope or Prospect Heights, it's not that unusual. In fact, it's pretty accepted," said Timothy Spence, 39, who lives in Prospect Heights and stays home with a 2-year-old daughter while his wife works in Manhattan as a graphic designer. "There just aren't those issues of masculinity."
But even as men proclaim themselves happy homemakers, some of their wives, or "partners" to use the popular parlance of the day, express ambivalence. "You appreciate a stay-at-home dad-as feminists, this is what we wanted!-but marriage now is all about equal partnership," said the anonymous Brooklyn mom. "It works as a social system, but it's not terribly erotic."
She recalled a recent conversation between her husband and a SAHD of their acquaintance (the men had cooked, of course). "They were talking very intently about something that went on in preschool," she said. "And I just completely glazed over, went a million miles away in my head. I thought, ‘Jesus, fellas, get a life!'" By contrast: "Don Draper is a hero. He's a dreamer."