I have been watching reruns of the 1980s TV show “Thirtysomething”. It’s interesting to see how issues such as childlessness were treated 20 years ago. Some things have changed, but some have definitely stayed the same.
In one episode, “career gal” Elyn asked her motherly friend Hope if it would be terrible if she never had kids. She wasn’t sure she wanted them. Shocking disclosure. One might notice that she didn’t cozy up to Hope’s baby Janie.
Melissa, on the other hand, adored Janie and always had her in her arms. She ached for a child of her own and even suggested she might have one without a husband. Then along came the handsome Dr. Bob. Their romance developed quickly. He looked like “the one.” Melissa loved his daughter Robyn, played by a very young Kellie Martin. Eventually the subject of having children together came up. It was an awkward conversation, along the lines of: I know we’re not at that place yet, but hypothetically . . . , if, maybe, someday, how would you feel about having more children?
Alas, Dr. Bob had decided long ago that Robyn was more than enough. He did not want to go through that experience again.
Well, now what does Melissa do? At first she tries not to react, telling him and herself, it’s early, there’s time to change his mind. Still, he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it, and his response never varies: Robyn is enough for me. Maybe he’ll change his mind, Melissa persists. “No, he won’t!” I’m shouting at the TV. A man of Dr. Bob’s age who says he does not want children won’t change his mind.
Finally Melissa presses him again for a definite answer, and he gives it to her: no more kids. Her response is one of the best exit lines I have heard. “I think me and my eggs will be moving on.” And away she goes. I am so proud of her. Too many of us are so desperate for a man that we agree to give up children just to keep the man.
Not that Dr. Bob is a bad guy; he’s just the wrong guy for Melissa. Perhaps we should introduce him to Elyn.