Screen Time


What does someone 38-54 have to say about all this?

The scene where Fleabag (I only just realized the character doesn’t have a proper name) was having martinis with the “Woman in Business” award-winner immediately caught my attention because I’m always attuned to older women drinking on-screen. Then it took a turn into a soliloquy about aging while female, which took a turn into menopause.

Belinda: I’ve been longing to say this out loud — women are born with pain built in, it’s our physical destiny — period pain, sore boobs, childbirth, you know. We carry it with ourselves throughout our lives. Men don’t. They have to invent things like gods and demons… they create wars so they can feel things and touch each other… and we have it all going on in here. Inside, we have pain on a cycle for years.

Just when you feel you’re making peace with it, what happens? The menopause comes, the fucking menopause comes, and it is the most wonderful fucking thing in the world. And yes, your entire pelvic floor crumbles and you get fucking hot and no one cares. But then you’re free, no longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts, you’re just a person, in business.

Fleabag: I was told it was horrendous.

Belinda: It is horrendous, but then it’s magnificent. Something to look forward to.

Wow, ok, though I wasn’t sure if I was meant to identify with the messy 33-year-old or the wise 58-year-old. Millennials are becoming curious about menopause because it’s a major life change still in the abstract future while Gen X might already be there, at the threshold, or just a few years off. It’s neither hypothetical nor lived experience, for the most part.

The two characters in Fleabag that are most likely Gen X are Claire (Sian Clifford, 42), one of those chilly, successful self-controlled sheath dress women that I’m in awe of because that type is so foreign to my core being (that everyone mistakenly thought she was a lawyer rather than in finance was fitting) and the godmother, and the former is trying to get pregnant and the latter in a no-so-distant flashback expressed that she still might like to have a child. So, that’s what we have.