The Five Stages of Grief: the Fleabag Jumpsuit Edition

DENIAL: You slit open the package from the U.K., hands shaking a bit in anticipation. It’s finally here  – the surprisingly affordable black jumpsuit made instantly famous by your BFFF (BEST FRIEND FOREVER FLEABAG) – sorry, sorry, by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s titular Fleabag character in the show’s astounding second season. The image is seared onto your heart as indelibly as your first kiss: a woman, all long lines and fractured elegance, leaning against a brick wall, smoking and vibrating with sexual tension (plus the regular kind). You yearn to inhabit that image as much as you’ve yearned for anything in your life, and the (surprisingly affordable!) jumpsuit is the most obvious entry point. You slide it on, cut your eyes to a camera that isn’t there and mutter a clever aside to nobody.

The perversion of magic you see staring back at you from the mirror is almost more than you can stand. You’re aware that you’re a decade older, a half a head shorter, and about 40 pounds heavier than Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and of the fact that your hair is an indifferent blonde and usually in a harried-mom topknot instead of an alluring bob. You’re aware of all this, but surely that squat toad trussed in black nylon cannot be you.

ANGER: How could you be so stupid? On what grounds did you think you could pull off a keyhole front? Are you not intimately familiar with the appalling physics of your own body? You look like you’re wearing two newborns in a sling you haven’t worked out how to use. Did you think you were somehow going to travel around with your own brick wall, perfect lighting, and lit cigarette? How is this thing both too small and too big in the rear? And why couldn’t Hot Priest just have converted to the Church of England??  The solution was right there, he didn’t have to choose!! GodDAMMIT!!

BARGAINING: All you want is to be thrown against a wall and kissed in an act of frantic, desperate transgression. If you could take just one last hit of that most delicious of drugs, you’d never complain about doing the dishes again. Just one last memory to keep you warm as your looks melt and vanish into ancient history, please, God you’ll do anything. You have no idea what to do with this volcano of lust and sorrow inside you, but you’re learning that it’s almost impossible to rub one out in a jumpsuit.

GRIEF: “It’ll pass” – those words clang around your heart as if they’d been said to you personally, a perfect distillation of every time you’ve ever been dumped, not that you’ve ever been thrown over for a deity. It’s every heartbreak, every regret, everything you ever wanted and couldn’t have, packaged into two impossibly attractive people with beautiful accents. Are you crying out of sorrow for a fictional character’s grief, or are you crying because her grief felt so much more alive and real than anything you’ve felt in your own stupid life in years?

ACCEPTANCE: You can take the jumpsuit off now. You are not, nor are you going to be, Fleabag. Fleabag is not real. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, despite all the meaningful eye-contact she’s made with you, does not know you exist. Your legs are never getting any longer. Most priests are pretty dumpy. Guinea pigs are kissing cousins to subway rats. It’s actually a good thing that you never caused the death of your best friend. Foxes are not native to your city. The jumpsuit is a mid-price cargo cult, and there’s a much more flattering one available on ModCloth.  Return shipping is free.