Thursday, 9/28, 5:30 pm, before the show.
Is the whole Internet talking about The Golden Bachelor? Or are these constant ads and promotions targeted at me because of my age? If the latter, they’re doing a good job for once. Much better than the ads for pee panties and “mature” fashion that will change my life (“not to be overly dramatic”). I admit I’m curious. Ignoring the unrealistic premise that a 72-year-old widower will find meaningful love on a reality TV show, will the interactions be genuine? Will we see the vulnerability of seniors putting their wrinkled selves in front of a camera that catches every move and word as they try to date in a society that brands them as undateable? (No, spellcheck, do not change that to “uneatable”!) Or will it be bravado, strutting, catfights? (Oh, please, no.)
I read that Gerry will be given a supply of condoms. That’s good, but if this is really a “reality” show and his potential partners are in their 60s and 70s, they’d better supply him with lube, too!
Here’s my plan. I’ll watch the show, making notes on my laptop as I watch. Afterwards, I’ll post my reactions. I’m posting this much now so that you can join me by adding your own comments.
Know that I’m on the West Coast, so I’ll likely be late to the party, as the show is already airing if you’re on Eastern Time. Go ahead and start without me!
Thursday, 9/28, 10:30 pm, after the show.
The show opens with Gerry putting on his hearing aids – cool! He’s a good-looking guy, though I’d like him better clean-shaven than scruffy-faced, just my preference. Bristles are not pleasant against the tender skin of an aging face or more sensitive areas. Sorry (not sorry), that’s where my mind goes.
The first limo arrives filled with women screaming like junior high girls. Were they told to do that? I can’t imagine that’s how senior women arrive at a first date that’s also a competition.
There’s my problem. I have to remind myself, no, this isn’t reality – this is entertainment (or someone’s version of it). These women signed on for a competition where the last one standing supposedly will find love with this eligible widower. That means they all have to fall in love with him first, or that won’t work. Long before the end of the first episode, they all have a crush on him. “He’s perfect!” one says after knowing him for a minute.
The 22 women, age 60- 75, are all attractive, some conventionally and others uniquely. They’re all dressed in gowns – except for Renee, 67, in a track suit – and professionally coiffed and made up. From the get-go, the women try to stand out from each other with tricks, gimmicks, and sexual innuendos:
- “See these heels?” Susan, 66, asks Gerry. “I’m very comfortable with 6 inches.”
- Sandra, 75, calms herself with deep breathing while chanting the word “fuck” bleeped out.
- Leslie, 64, comes out wearing a robe and grey wig and using a walker. She throws off her robe and wig to reveal a low-cut black corset dress. She’s a fitness instructor and dancer who once dated Prince.
- Faith, 61, arrives by motorcycle. Later she plays guitar and sings to him. She gets the “first impression rose” because she makes him feel “very special.” Lots of kissing follows.
- April, 65, presents Gerry with eggs from her chickens and does a chicken dance, clucking and slapping herself on the butt. She’s a therapist.
If I seem to be picking on April, I was offended by her comment, “I am 65 and I hate to say that because aging sucks!” No it doesn’t! I have 15 years on her, and the “aging sucks” attitude… uh… sucks. Oops, there I go again, trying to impose authenticity on a reality show. But she’s a therapist!
I personally found the few natural looking women the most interesting and attractive – faces that move, foreheads that wrinkle, eyes that crinkle when they laugh, silver hair, diverse body types.
The most entertaining woman wasn’t really in the competition. Jimmy Kimmel’s aunt Concetta (“Chippy”), 84, crashed the party. She slept through the rose ceremony, where 6 of the 22 contestants were eliminated.
Would I watch this if the people weren’t seniors? No. Is this realistic about how seniors fall in lust and fall in love? No! Is it offensive? No, Gerry and the women are treated with respect so far. The show doesn’t fall into the “Oh, aren’t they cute?” trap, thank goodness.
Will it hold my interest as a series? Not likely, but if you want to keep reading or talking about it, I’m open to that. I’d love to know your views.
Friday, 9/29/23, 3 pm
Was I too dismissive and snarky in last night’s post? I’m reading comments on social media from people who love seeing self-confident women over 60 and 70 affirming that life isn’t over and it’s never too late for love. I support that! And Gerry’s story is moving. Part of my problem was that the way the women presented themselves to get Gerry’s (and the show’s) attention was usually silly. But when I look at the list of their professions, these are accomplished women. I hope we’ll get to know their stories with more depth and authenticity and fewer party tricks.
Yes, I’ll continue to watch. Whether I continue to blog about the show depends on how much interaction I get with you, readers!
Saturday, 9/30/23, 12pm
I’m thinking back on a promo I saw before the show aired, in which Gerry was asked, “What makes you the most nervous about dating?” Gerry answered, “The woman might ask me back to her place. That makes me really nervous. Ha ha ha!”
Gerry, you do seem really nervous. Let me help you with this. Please read my book, Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved.
Thursday, 10/5, 2023
Thank you all for the thoughtful comments and your encouragement to continue blogging about The Golden Bachelor. I’ll keep blogging here (rather than start a new one) for episode 2. Keep those comments coming!
Thursday, 10/5, 10:30 pm, after the show.
Episode 2 opens with the women moving into the mansion. Though they’re still screaming like preteens, they look, act, and speak more like real women of our age. They wear normal daytime clothes, more subdued makeup, careless hair. When they learn that some will be sleeping in bunk beds (seriously?), they decide who gets the bottom bunks on the basis of needing to pee at night and knee replacements that can’t climb ladders. This is enjoyably realistic.
The first date with Gerry goes to Theresa on her 70th birthday. She is widowed and tells a moving story about her husband of 42 years, who wished her love again after he died. We should all convey these wishes to our mates while we have each other.
Gerry is nervous about his date. “I’m a bit scared because I’m out of practice. There are many things that could go right and a lot that could go wrong.” In fact, what goes wrong is expecting this Indiana driver to navigate a LA freeway at night with headlights that aren’t working. He can’t see the road markings in front of him. Not good, people.
It’s also not a good idea to drive a convertible on the freeway with the top down when your companion had her hair styled for this date. The hairstyle blows into to streaming, shredded strands in the wind.
After this harrowing drive, Gerry takes Theresa to a ‘50s style diner for her birthday dinner! Fries and a chocolate shake.
Theresa’s birthday is saved from being totally kitschy when she recounts the story of her husband dying. Being a widow myself, the realism of comparing losses with a new person speaks to me. I was hoping the show would have moments like this. “I was talking to someone who understood the loss of a spouse,” says Gerry.
Just in case this show is getting too realistic and the emotions too authentic, a flash mob erupts through the diner and out into the parking lot, dancing to “Don’t Stop Believing.” For some reason, the dancers are all young. In case you don’t know, I’ve been teaching line dancing for more than 25 years, and most of my dancers are wild seniors. ABC, you could have flown us to LA for the dance scene.
“Theresa could be the person I spend the rest of my days with. She could be my life partner,” says Gerry after one date.
Then comes the extremely odd group date with 12 women for a “romance novel cover photo shoot.” The women are given clothes of different themes and time periods. They pose with Gerry, who changes outfits and sometimes hair. Aside from the photographer Franco’s suit and Natascha rocking her ’70s colors, most of the scenes were forgettable.
Authenticity again seeps through when Nancy, wearing a wedding dress as a costume, keeps breaking into tears. Nancy tells Gerry, “I haven’t had a wedding dress on since I got married” 36 years ago to her husband, who died 12 years ago. She remains teary but toughs it out. Gerry, who is compassionate, gives her a rose because they share loss and histories and connect emotionally.
I feel that giving a widow a wedding dress costume is a cruel attempt at manipulating emotions. Could they have guessed that this would be hard for her? Of course they could. Did they care, or did they consider it just good TV?
My favorite lines of the evening:
- Theresa: “At this age, we don’t want to waste time.”
- Nancy: “There’s joy in remembering [my past great love], and I still have hope moving forward.”
- Leslie: “If you ever want to whisper sweet nothings in my ear, I’ll be able to hear you,” as she shows him her hearing aids.
- Gerry’s conversation with his wife before she died: “When one of us passes away, the other should go find happiness.”
- Jeannie: “My mama found love in her 70s – I can do it, too.”
- Natascha: “Guys, do the rose ceremony in chairs! You’ve got people 60, 70, and above. Chair Rose Ceremony!”
Wed, Oct. 11, 2023
I won’t do extensive commentary on every episode from now on, but I’ll likely check in with short comments. I’ll be out of the country for 3 weeks, so I won’t be able to stay up to date for a while. Meanwhile, a rose for you via Gerry. Do keep your marvelous comments coming!
Sat., Dec. 2, 2023
I watched every episode. I thought I would have a lot to say about the finale, but to be honest, so much is available online that you don’t need me to weigh in. But I do want to say a few things.
- Yeah, I know — it’s a show, it’s entertainment, everything is staged, not reality. But still! If Gerry is “in love with” (in quotes because you can’t be “in love” when your meetings have all been in front of cameras) two women, and they feel the same about him, he should date both of them until they get to know each other much better. How absurd that he’s supposed to choose, propose, plan a televised wedding in another month. How absurd that an intelligent, experienced woman would go along with that.
- It’s all been about what Gerry likes (“loves”) about these women, how he sees them as fitting into his life. But what about their lives? What is he offering them, exactly?
- Even as the contenders narrowed to three, then two, here’s the conversation I kept wanting them to have with each other: “Tell me what sexual expression means to you, what you need, what’s off the table.” That always needs to be a long conversation, whatever our age, before we can move into intimacy and especially into commitment.
- His treatment of Leslie in the last episode and his inadequate comforting of her made me angry on her behalf. Good for her for asserting, after he told her not to think that way, “I’ll think whatever I fucking want!” (Correct me if I’m misremembering.) Leslie, you can do better.
- The Hollywood Reporter broke a story shortly before the finale: “The Golden Bachelor’s Not-So-Golden Past.” Read it. So much of what we were led to believe about Gerry’s recent past and personality was fake or exaggerated. He described himself as a “retired restaurateur” — he owned a drive-in burger franchise and had many jobs after that. He hid his three-year live-in relationship with Carolyn after his wife’s death, and that he kicked her out of his house after she gained 10 pounds. There’s more, lots more. Did he deceive the show? With the thorough background checks they do, it’s doubtful. Was the show complicit? I hope that comes out.
I welcome your comments.
I think I’m in love. The beautiful and arousing Inya the Rose from Good Vibrations has become a dear friend with benefits. Inya the Rose by NS Novelties combines the pleasures of air pulse technology with powerful vibrations in a compact sex toy that looks like an artistic model of a rose. It’s small, but the sensations are big!
Air pulse technology, if you haven’t experienced it, feels kind of like gentle sucking, nibbling, and pulsing on the clitoris. It’s hard to describe, but luscious to experience! Combine that with vibrations, and you’re on your way to orgasm.
Here’s how to use it:
- Apply your favorite water-based lubricant on and around your clitoris and inner labia and on the top surface of the Rose.
- Turn on the Rose by pressing and holding the “water drop in a circle” button for two seconds.
- Press the center hole of the Rose to your clitoris. Wiggle it around until your clitoris says, “Oh, yes!” Get a good seal for the most enjoyable sensations.
- Press the button quickly to cycle through intensities 1-3 and, if you want them, 7 different rhythmic patterns.
- Hold it still, or circle, or twist for different sensations.
- Relax and enjoy!
- When you’re done, press and hold the button for two seconds to turn it off.
I was astonished by the amount of power in this little thing, and I love that it does not get buzzy when increasing intensity. The small size makes it possible for your or your partner’s fingers to assist if you like vaginal penetration along with clitoral stimulation.
Inya the Rose is made of body-safe silicone. It sits on a magnetic charger for easy USB charging. The “water drop in a circle” control button lights up during use and while charging. Although designed for the clitoris, Inya the Rose delights sensitive nipples of any gender!
Anything I didn’t like? The packaging is plastic inside a cardboard box, no storage pouch. I know that keeps the cost down, but I do appreciate a storage pouch with my vibrator purchases!
I’ve read an occasional review from a user who complained that her clitoris was too large for this product. Realize that the hole in the center needs to surround only the tip – the rest presses against the surrounding area. However, if you think this might be an issue for you, this product might not be your best choice.
Caveat: There are many rose vibrators on the market – they seem to be a trend now. They’re not the same. I tried another Rose of similar (but not identical) appearance, which I found not only not pleasurable, but actually uncomfortable, because of the design and placement of the petals. I won’t name it, because we’re all different, and it might not feel the same to you. But do your due diligence in reading reviews when you order this or any other sex toy – don’t make your selection because an item is cheaper.
In case you’re new to my work, I’ve been reviewing sex toys from a senior perspective since 2007, when I first reviewed the Eroscillator (still one of my top favorites). I’ve been using sex toys since buying my first Magic Wand in the “personal care” department at Macys in the 1970s! I tell that lively story to Kate Lister in the “Sex In Old Age: Myths, Toys & Desire” episode of her marvelous UK podcast, “Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society.” Give it a listen!
One of the challenges in a longtime monogamous relationship is creating newness and surprises. Another is continuing to deepen intimacy, communication, and empathy. Reading Wild Monogamy: Cultivating Erotic Intimacy to Keep Passion and Desire Alive by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn is like having Mali and Joe personally coach you through these issues and more. If you and your partner have hit a roadblock, or if you need information and a boost to take your relationship to the next level, this book is your valued guide.
In Wild Monogamy, Mali and Joe share stories that illustrate how partners can support one another in overcoming insecurities, inhibitions, shame, and self-consciousness that often accompany aging. I invited Mali to share some of her own aging issues and how the two of them cope.
Interview with Mali Apple,
co-author of Wild Monogamy:
Cultivating Erotic Intimacy to Keep Passion and Desire Alive
What’s one arena in which you help each other heal limiting ideas about yourselves?
I turned 60 this year. I have to admit that at times I feel a sense of shame about being an aging woman. I guess I drank the cultural Kool-Aid about older women not being attractive, desirable, or even worthy of pleasure!
These societal beliefs can be deeply ingrained. They might only emerge when we’re confronted with signs of our own ticking clock. The ever-more-unachievable images we’re bombarded with daily magnify our discomfort.
Since ageism in our culture disproportionately affects women, I have a tougher time than Joe when it comes to accepting my own aging face. When I can’t see beyond the newest spot or wrinkle, he’s right there beside me. His words and actions guide me toward accepting —even appreciating! — the woman looking back in the mirror.
What does Joe say to help you let go of your insecurities?
From Joe’s perspective at 65, age isn’t important. “When I look at you,” he’ll tell me, “I don’t see an aging woman, I see an amazing woman!” He insists that it’s the whole me that makes me beautiful to him. This includes my heart, my spirit, my energy, my ideas, and my enthusiasm for life.
Or he’ll say,
- “These lines on your face are a celebration of your life.”
- “Your body has brought me more pleasure over the years than I can possibly even remember.”
- “The beauty that radiates from within you is timeless.”
- “There’s no one else I’d rather get old with.”
When he catches me fixating on my age spots and wrinkles, he encourages me to speak to myself more kindly. “You have to put your wrinkles into perspective,” he’ll point out. “They’re such a tiny part of who you are!”
You might try affirmations like these with someone you love. When it’s coming from a person you trust, you can consciously choose to accept their perspective as truth. Joe gives me these reminders anytime I need them. This is a beautiful gift for partners to offer each other!
Do you have rituals or activities that help you embrace the changes that come with time?
Here is one ritual that helps us. We intentionally see each other as continually evolving works of art. Together we reflect on the truth that all our life experiences — the everyday ones, the challenging ones, and the extraordinary ones — have contributed to this masterpiece before us.
We also practice seeing each other as spiritual beings in human form moving through the natural stages of aging. This has been the genesis of more than a few heart-opening conversations!
During our sexy time, Joe will often encourage me to shift my focus from how I look to how I feel. For example, he’ll ask me to put all my attention on the sensations created by the silky scarf he’s trailing across my skin. When we clo
se our eyes and touch or kiss, he’ll point out that nothing tells us our age is a problem.
Joe and I also actively look for role models our age or older who are filled with vitality. Sometimes we’ll sit in a public place and observe the older people around us. We make a point to find something beautiful in every one of them.
Here’s one more sweet activity we enjoy together. We choose a few photos from when we were younger and immerse ourselves in them. We talk about where each was taken and how we felt about ourselves at the time. We get a sense of who we were during those moments. As we kiss and make love, we become the people in those images, connecting with who we were back then. Sharing our past selves in this way creates a uniquely healing and intimate experience in the present.
What is a key truth you’ve come to about aging?
The older we get, every moment we have together deepens and becomes more precious. We feel honored to be with each other on this journey. We’re excited to be a witness to the shifts, insights, and personal transformations to come. And we’re confident that plenty of sexy adventures await us!
Learn more about Mali Apple and Joe Dunn at https://maliandjoe.com/, and watch their many TikTok videos at https://www.tiktok.com/@maliandjoe. Purchase Wild Monogamy at your local independent bookstore or order from Amazon.
“My body feels like an alien being,” you tell me. “I want my old self back!” We spent decades figuring out who we were sexually, what turned us on, what touch or rhythm brought us to orgasm, and how to please a partner. Now it feels like we have to learn this all over again.
Aging affects sex in a gazillion ways: physical comfort, emotional needs, body image, and what we need for sexual arousal and pleasure, to name a few. This is true whether we’re having sex with someone new, a reunited lover from our past, or a longtime partner. It’s not what we signed up for, but it’s what we get with aging.
We may need stronger or lighter stimulation now, a gentler or rougher touch, slower or faster rhythm, and lots more time. Sometimes we don’t even know what we need, and we mistakenly think that if sex as we knew it no longer works for us, we’re doomed to a sexless future. Not true! We just have to rediscover what turns us on now and makes our body respond. Think of it as a wonderful journey of discovery.
Instead of focusing on what doesn’t work, let’s focus on what does work to increase sexual pleasure, and make that special, such as:
- Plan sex for the time of day when you are most energetic and in the mood for sex. Enjoy a morning or afternoon delight. If energy is a problem, try resting or napping first.
- Have sex before a meal—not after one. When our diminished blood flow is working on digestion, there isn’t enough to arouse the genitals. You’ll have more energy and better arousal before eating.
- If a medical condition is making sex problematic, plan your sex dates for the times that your medication is working best to ease the condition while leaving you lively. Ask your doctor about the timing of your medications—is there a way to modify the schedule for better sexual response and comfort?
- Celebrate the deliciousness of long, slow arousal. Rather than wishing orgasm came faster, enjoy the slow-moving ride.
- Try new positions if a position you used to love is no longer comfortable. If one position is the best way for you to reach orgasm but you can’t stay in it comfortably for a long enough time, try starting in another position and finishing with your favorite.
- Whether you’re single or partnered, relish the capacity of your body to enjoy sensual pleasure and indulge yourself regularly on your own.
From Chapter 2, The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life by Joan Price
The Ultimate Guide to Sex after 50: How to Maintain – or Regain! – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life offers helpful information and practical tips for enhancing or reviving your sexual pleasure after 50, 60, 70, and beyond. Chapters cover these topics:
- Busting the Myths about Sex and Aging
- What’s Happening to My Body?
- Getting Your Mojo Back
- Sex with Yourself and Toys
- Sex with a Longtime Partner
- Stretching Boundaries
- When Intimacy Ends
- You and Your Doctor
- When Sex Is Painful
- Cancer, Cancer Treatment, and Sex
- Heart, Brain, Joints, and Sex
- Sex without Erections
- Single After All These Years
- The New Rules of Dating
- Sex with a New Partner
- Safer Sex: Always
- Sexy Aging Going Forward