I don’t care how they make you feel, it’s right in front of you for the taking.
Who is better at keeping it together than Joan? She reacts to everything that happens as if she not only expected it, but planned it – a surprise pregnancy, a failed marriage, a man’s foot being chopped off, all handled (with the exception of a smashed model airplane) with an assured placidity; everything is happened exactly as it should.
It’s why Joan’s private moments of doubt are like watching a statue crumble, and why it rarely happens, because Joan depends on the resolve she has built. Joan accepts all that has happened to break her, all the abuse, and uses it to straighten her spine and calm her face into an expression of quiet confidence. It’s intimidating to people like Harry, whose emotions are incapable of restraint. It’s inspiring to people like Don, whose restraint is similar to Joan’s, but, as a man working in a permissive environment, is allowed to misstep. Joan must always remain on guard, she must always choose her words and her actions wisely, and the best part of watching Joan is watching her whip-smart mind decide what course she’s going to choose.
Watching Joan interact with a friend whose life is so decidedly different than Joan’s reminded me of when Roger took Freddy Rumsen and Don out on an exciting night of forbidden shenanigans that involved passwords and code names. To a woman who sells cosmetics, Joan’s life is like stepping into a novel, and Joan welcomes her friend into the world, opens the door to an exciting, opulent, seedy land where young men clumsily flirt and paw all evening, the only proof of their existence being a torn dress, a rushed morning, and a vague sense of discontent.
This is Joan’s world. Remove the pale bosomy redhead, and it’s a deep immersion inside a man’s world: a partnership; an apartment in the city; strangers tending to physical needs; child usually in the care of another. Joan, using her quiet intelligence, her diligence, and her pale bosoms, climbed the corporate ladder and landed inside a world that, to other women, seems like something only breathlessly heard about, and maybe, if pushed by an impending sense of age or responsibility, for just one night, lived inside. Joan is so brave she lives it, beautifully, courageously, every day. No apologies, no world-weary melancholy, Joan is nothing but quiet intimidation and limitless inspiration.