Posted at 04:57 PM ET, 06/03/2011

Don Draper is nothing like Don Draper


Left: Jon Hamm as Don Draper. Right: Donald L. Draper, of Johns Creek, Ga. (Associated Press)

Don’t always believe what you see on television. Don Draper does not work in advertising. He does not smoke. He’s not a big drinker. And he’s been happily married for years.

Don L. Draper, the real Don Draper, has lived in Georgia — not New York — for 25 years. The 55-year-old software developer from Johns Creek, Ga., is a family man, with a Southern accent, who owns a technology business. He just happens to share the same name as the fictional character played by Jon Hamm in AMC’s drama, “Mad Men.”

I inadvertently found Draper through Twitter — he has the username @dondraper, and www.dondraper.com is his personal Web site. The names are the same, but it’s a complete coincidence.

Name mix-ups are causing confusion on social networks lately. People with the same names as Kate Middleton, Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Bieber have all had their Facebook accounts suspended on suspicion of being fraudulent.

But unlike most famous name stories about real celebrities and public figures, Don Draper is the creation of Matthew Weiner’s vivid imagination.

I wondered: In this day and age, has the fame of a ficitonal character impacted a real life?

“Obviously I meet people on a weekly basis, and when I tell them my name, they go, ‘Oh, yeah, like the guy on the T.V. show!’ ” Draper told me from a coffee shop where he had set up to work for the day.

At a recent funeral, he said some people appeared shocked when he introduced himself. Looking at their bewildered faces, he thought, “Oh my goodness, what did I say?” He doesn’t think about how odd his name must sound until people react to it.

It’s on Twitter, though, where he gets the most attention for his name-doppleganger. He constantly found himself being lassoed into the 1960s-style conversation. Twitter accounts such as @PeggyOlson, @BertramCooper, @BettyFrancis_, @RogerSterling and @_DonDraper started popping up as Mad Men gained popularity.

“All of a sudden I had all of these people following me,” says Draper.

His followers include @MadMen_AMC, @WWDDD (What Would Don Draper Do) and @joanholloway (tweets as Christina Hendricks’s character).

Every now and then Draper gets followed or mentioned by people assuming @DonDraper will entertain them with musings about a weekend-long bender or a breathtaking ad pitch.

I like the Mad Men series but I am not Don Draper nor use his character, do not working in advertising or cheat on my wife. Sorry!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

But as it turns out, Draper doesn’t mind sharing his name. He has fun with it and is a fan of the show. I also learned that he’s nothing like the reckless, binge-drinking, womanizing AMC character.

Unlike the relentlessly brooding television Draper, “I’m kind of in a nice spot right now, I get to do what I love every day,” he says.

Not very Draper-like at all.

By Eric Athas  |  04:57 PM ET, 06/03/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company