So, who will be the first-ever golden bachelor? He is none other than Gerry Turner, a 71-year-old widower, a father of two, and a grandfather. The retired restaurateur was married for 43 years before his wife tragically died. In a Good Morning America interview, the newest senior bachelor was apparently quoted as saying that when asked what his late wife would think about being named the “Golden Bachelor,” Turner replied he believed she would be happy for him.
“Oh, hell no!” There is no way I would be as understanding as his dearly departed wife in the afterlife. With nothing to do but listen to the melodic tones of harps, finding out my longtime husband is now prancing around like a beaming, smitten kitten in his new life would most definitely cast a shadow on my non-enlightened, restless soul.
But the fact is that life does go on, and so does the spawning of spin-offs of the Bachelor franchise. There is a silver lining here, as our silver fox Gerry has the chance to break ageism barriers by showcasing that companionship isn’t limited by age and that, most importantly, it’s never too late to find love.
There is potential for this TV show to portray Gerry’s prowess (dating over 20 women simultaneously) and his joys and blunders in a genuine and relatable manner, challenging stereotypes that suggest seniors should no longer pursue romantic relationships and, worse yet, be even visible on prime time!
It will be interesting to see if this wiser and more seasoned bachelor can bypass the usual emotional hysteria that ensues among the contestants. I am curious how this more mellow group of women will handle this experience. Will they display the same level of cattiness and competitive nature as their younger counterparts on the original show, “The Bachelor”? Also, in the original “The Bachelor,” the lucky women who are selected to go on one-on-one dates with the Bachelor often must prove their fearlessness and partake in adrenaline-fueled death-defying duo activities such as zip lining their way through a tropical rain forest, bungee jumping, or scaling up the wall of the tallest office tower.
Will there be similar expectations for these foxy ladies to win Gerry’s fast-beating heart by attempting similar life-threatening activities as the younger women in the original series? It would be a nice change to witness Gerry be able to get the same rush out of his adoring and eager contestants by offering deep, meaningful conversations and simply respecting, valuing, and acknowledging them. But in saying this, am I perpetuating the same ageism and societal views that older people are physically frail and limited to having only sentimental, nostalgic dialogue and offering shuffleboard? Shame on me!
No matter the outcome of Gerry’s journey, I hope these brave, mature women seize the opportunity and take advantage of their stay at the mansion to bond with each other. Gerry might be the cake, but forming new genuine female friendships would be the icing! Another growing problem aging women face is finding authentic, supportive friendships. As people age, they tend to have established social circles, making breaking into existing friend groups harder, which I am witnessing, especially since I retired. Open communication, vulnerability, emotional support, and persistence are vital to forming meaningful relationships or friendships, regardless of gender or age.
Aside from entertaining us, I hope “The Golden Bachelor” breaks down generalizations or assumptions based solely on age. I am ultimately rooting for Gerry; he could be an inspiring example of not only physical agility but wit, charm, and sincerity, and offer those that give this often rooted in public ridicule reality show a chance to shine a different perspective on issues relevant to today’s seniors, fostering a new appreciation and empathy that is much deserved and long overdue. Now that certainly would be golden!