Jenny Eclair has joked that she misses going through the menopause as it gave her licence to “behave like a maniac”.
Contrary to what many women are led to expect, the menopause is actually “a hoot”, insisted the comedian and author, as she reflected on life now that she has reached her 60s.
“I think your 50s are great. People dread the menopause but once it’s over, you look back on it with rose-tinted glasses and it’s a hoot.
“It’s really the only time you’re going to have an excuse to go shoplifting and behaving like a maniac,” said Eclair, 61.
Speaking to Woman’s Weekly magazine, Eclair went on: “On the negative side, I don’t like society’s view of 60-year-olds.
“It expects you to play a role that is not natural to me, which is to be sensible and useful and volunteer for everything.
“I’m not ready to be sensible and useful just yet.”
Eclair said midlife did bring with it some health complaints, but she has accepted them as part of ageing.
“As we get older, we all have something that does a number on us,” she said. “Mine is dry eye disease, which kicked in when I was 57.
“It’s one of those things that I accept and deal with, along with insomnia and a bit of light incontinence.”
‘Personally, it’s been a miracle’
Eclair is the author of Older and Wider: A Survivor’s Guide to the Menopause, and in previous interviews said that her life was transformed by the “miracle” of HRT.
“My big problem was emotional, and it hit me at about the age of 52 when other things are hitting you anyway. For me, it was anxiety and weepiness, and just an inability to cope and feeling very self-conscious, and a total lack of confidence,” she said earlier this year.
“A lot of people are very anti-HRT. If you listen to both sides of the argument, it is quite easy to be put off. But I listened to more arguments from the pro-HRT side, and I’m very pro it. For me personally, it’s been a miracle.”
The former head of the British Menopause Society, Dr Heather Currie, recently suggested that every workplace should have a “menopause champion” to support female employees through symptoms that include low mood, anxiety and memory problems.
A growing number of employers, including The Telegraph, now have an official menopause policy.
Writing in her book, Eclair said women should learn to laugh at the situation. “It’s important that we are able to talk about it without fear of upsetting or embarrassing anyone,” she said.
“It’s not as if blokes age with any more dignity than we do; let’s face it, most of them have turned into human Toby jugs by the time they’ve hit 60.”