A Golden Bachelor Show Report: Will a Platinum Bachelor Show follow?

NOT in the slow lane, YET

The blog is about living life after 70 with joy, resilience, and purpose. NOT in the slow lane, YET is a source of positive, helpful advice encouraging people to set and achieve goals and find joy in life. The blog will cover personal experiences and thoughts and concerns. Topics of blogs will be health, retirement, fashion, travel, and living in continuing care retirement communities. The blogs will be short and appear at least once a month on my website www.nadineblock.com or by email if you choose. Come walk with me.

A Golden Bachelor Show Report: Will a Platinum Bachelor Show follow?

“Dreaming” Oil Painting 2021: Block
Love: Companionship, shared memories
Empathy, acceptance, and support.

I was intrigued by the Golden Bachelor, the new reality show based on the younger-audience predecessor, The Bachelor. The Golden Bachelor, Gerry Turner, would be dating a throng of ladies around his age of seventy-two among whom he was hoping to find someone to share “ the sunset of my life.”    How would it treat love in old age?  I live in a continuing care retirement community.  It has independent living, assisted living, memory care and health care depending on the needs of its residents.  It requires a hefty downpayment to enter and charges monthly dues that allow  amenities like housekeeping and meals. We are Platinum Bachelors and Bachelorettes, about ten years older than the Golden ones who are the 60–75-year-old  participants in the Golden Bachelor show. 

I wanted to see how older women were treated, women with past loving relationships,  impressive work accomplishments, and strong family relationships, like most older women among my friends.  Many of us are widowed.  We wish for a loving relationship for companionship in leisure activities.  Most of us want to remain autonomous.  We do not want a  long-term commitment or long-term care duties.  We are often seen as invisible, asexual, and uninteresting.  However, we feel good about ourselves and feel that we are doing OK with or without partnering. 

Older men still have an “eye” for pretty women who are friendly and supportive.  A woman with a car and willing to drive  gets dating points.  Widowed men are sometimes reluctant to start dating or partnering.  Many have adequate social ties and are comfortable with community care which provides meals, social events, and transportation.  Some need more time to grieve a loving wife’s death.  There is a large pool of women to choose from for dates.   Women in my senior retirement home outnumber men by 4:1.  A friend went to see his dad in a senior facility one evening and, peeking through the window, saw all the lamps covered with dark sheets.  He asked his dad what was going on. “The widow ladies, the widow ladies! ” he lamented, “They won’t leave me alone.”

Acknowledging that old people looking at the exit door seek  loving relationships  is quite remarkable in a reality show.   Would it be presented realistically?   Would it show older women as diverse in many ways? Would it show our resilience?  We fell many times, but we got up and kept going.  We have experienced failures  in life. We lived through  the death of loved ones  and grieving.  We have a medical problem or two. Would it show us as the remarkable survivors we are?

I tuned in to ABC TV for the Golden Bachelor.    The scene was pleasant, a handsome 72-year-old bachelor and an adoring audience of  22 women seeking  his love.  The ratio was quite nice for Gerry.   If I were the Golden Bachelorette facing twenty-two men looking at me adoringly, I would faint or have a TIA.  The Golden Bachelor took the challenge comfortably.  He is an aw-shucks, “Midwestern Nice”  guy.  He seemed a bit dull.  He might have been trying on a role laid out by the producers.   I prefer educated, kind, and well-informed men.   The women had varied interests and talents and were well-spoken and clever.   They were mostly tanned and mostly blonde, physically fit and adorned in evening gowns or cocktail dresses.   Not the average cadre of 60- to 75-year-olds. Gerry would give a rose to each woman he dated and dismissed until he ended up with the chosen one.   I had trouble believing that love would catch fire in this artificial atmosphere.  It felt more like a competition.     I came with some biases and gave myself a check up on how they were  guiding my thinking.  So far, I graded myself “a bit snarky.”

Overall, I was positive about the show.  The contestants seemed interested in one another, got along,  and cared about each other.  Gerry’s  chosen, Theresa, seemed to be genuinely fond of him and he seemed fond of her.  I wish the absolute best for them.   Attention to our growing older population, its needs for belonging and loving relationships, was given a big  audience and may have changed some attitudes about old age being a time of stagnation, resignation, and negativism.

The ending was a bit flummoxed…background information arose to discredit Gerry’s dating history, Leslie implied he asked her to marry him, and some speculated he was marrying Theresa for her money.  It was over, the longest running dating show.  It is bound to have sequels like the Golden Bachelorette.  Will there be  a Platinum Bachelor show for the eighty and older population?   That would be interesting and leads me to musing.

If I were being interviewed for the Platinum  Bachelorette position (fat chance!), I would channel Phyllis Diller (deceased), the irreverent American comedian with spiked hair and a husband named “Fang.”

My interview questions and responses:

Nadine, would you give bachelors a rose when you dismiss  them as was done in the Golden Bachelor?

Answer:  No, of course not.  Men do not care much for flowers.  I would give them a ham sandwich, so they have something to eat on the way home.

 Nadine, where would you take the bachelors on a date?

Answer:  Definitely not pole dancing or tabletop dancing.  No Jitterbugs or twists unless they are slow.  I have a bad back. 

We would go to dinner and do some slow dancing or watch a movie.  I want to be home by 9:00.  

Nadine, what would you wear?

Answer:     Long dresses (covering my comfortable flat shoes)  with long sleeves (over the knuckles), something dark and slimming.

Nadine, What do you want from the Golden Bachelor? 

Answer: The most important thing is finding a guy who is genuine, kind, and truthful.  Another important quality is family closeness.  I want to stay close to my family and hope he has good family relationships too. Keeping good family relationships is challenging work  and is a good sign for our relationship.  

Actually,  I want someone who will make candlelight dinners for us and clean up the kitchen.  

Back to serious. 

More research should be done on dating and partnering in later life because of the aging of the U.S. population and  because social relationships help us overcome loneliness and isolation. Loneliness and isolation pose health risks like depression, cognitive decline, high blood pressure and even death. Does the need for loving relationships extend into the platinum generation of the eighties and older?

I will watch the Golden Bachelorette.  We have a lot to learn about relationships between older men and women and this is a “golden” opportunity.

Want to know more?

William DM, Locker L Jr, Briley K, Ryan R, Scott AJ. What do older adults seek in their potential romantic partners? Evidence from online personal ads. Int J Aging Hum Dev. 2011;72(1):67-82. doi: 10.2190/AG.72.1.d. PMID: 21391407.

National Council on Aging: Why Is Intimacy Important in Older Adults?   12-15, 2021