I watched Mad Men last night (yeah, I watch that prime-time soap) and to my utter astonishment found myself actually choking up with emotion on Don's pitch to Jaguar for the E-Type account. The pitch was perfect, the sexually charged tagline spot-on, and the sequence produced in me an overwhelming nostalgia that took hold of me absolutely unawares. By way of explanation, a short personal history. During my twelve or so years as a young (mostly twentysomething), card-carrying bourgeois with far too much disposable income on my hands for my own good, I was what some might call a car freak and during one period in the early '60s owned at the same time five (5, count 'em!) cars: a Chrysler Imperial (my conservative "company car" dubbed by my coworkers Black Beauty for its black exterior set off by a tan leather interior), a red Mustang convertible (for my then-wife), a tan Studebaker Avanti, a "British racing green" Lotus Elan roadster (the original Lotus Elan), and a "British racing green" Rover 100 sedan (called in Britain at the time, the "Baby Rolls"). In short, I was a material-object-satiated happy man — until, that is, I saw Her in the flesh for the first time and knew that I would never again be happy unless I could possess Her, Her being a newly minted 1963 Jaguar XKE coupe. It was not only, then as now, the most beautiful production car ever built, but simply the most beautiful material object I'd ever beheld and I quite literally ached to own Her. Silver-gray, she was, and I bought Her on the spot (the below photo not my XKE but a replica grabbed from Google).
No way I could justify that purchase even to myself much less to family and friends, but I was shameless. I simply had to possess that car and possess Her I did. I couldn't bear to be away from Her, and of course driving the other cars was now totally out of the question. I sold them all (with the exception of my then-wife's Mustang) and blissfully drove the XKE exclusively for the rest of the decade until I was forced to give Her up when I willfully gave up my comfortable bourgeois existence in the early '70s. Apart from my Dowd harpsichord (which I also had to give up), she was and remains today the most cherished of all my past material possessions. Little wonder, then, I suppose, my seemingly out-of-left-field access of nostalgia on hearing Don's pitch.
Non-human physical beauty holds an allure and establishes a bond for us humans that's quite mysterious and presents a puzzle for which no wholly satisfactory solution exists, is it not so? But then, I must confess, I rather like matters that way.