The golden years

Facebook reminded me that it was my friend Nic’s birthday yesterday. Not that I could forget, as we had dinner with him last night to celebrate.

Coincidentally, Facebook served up a meme showing what society perceived 50 to look like in 1985, compared to how it looks now … via photos of Rue McClanahan in “The Golden Girls” versus Jennifer Lopez performing at the Super Bowl.

Blimey! 50 has changed A LOT over the past 30 + years.

The Golden Girls ran between 1985 and 1992 and broke from TV tradition by having not just a female-led cast, but one dominated by older women. The plot revolved around three widows and one divorcée sharing a house in Miami. And it was a huge hit.

The lead actresses were Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Betty White.

Betty – who was actually the oldest member of the cast – is the only actress still alive today.

How old were these widows supposed to be? In a 1988 Mother’s Day episode it was revealed in a flashback that Blanche (Rue) was 17 in 1949. That made her 53 years old when the series began in 1985 and 60 when it ended in 1992. In real life, she was 51 when the first season aired. Younger than me!!!

In episode seven of season one, Dorothy (Bea) is said to be 55.

And in real life Estelle Getty, who played Dorothy’s mum, was actually one year younger than her. During the show’s first season, it took the makeup department 45 minutes to transform Getty into Sophia Petrillo. That aging process became even more complex when Getty turned up looking even younger when season two began (she’d had a facelift during the summer hiatus).

OK, that’s probably enough Golden Girls trivia for one blog post …

I much prefer the 2020 perception of 50, even though I’m a loooooong way behind Lopez in the youthfulness stakes. I think it’s great that women aren’t pigeon-holed as little old ladies and expected to start dressing that way from their late 40s until they shuffle off the mortal coil.

And it’s not just a chick thing. The way the older blokes in The Golden Girls presented was pretty geriatric too.

It’s a complete contrast to my male friends in their 50s – and 60s – and how their dads dressed and styled themselves at the same age.

Birthday boy Nic definitely doesn’t look 50. And I think it’s because he has such a youthful approach to life, from the way he dresses to his fitness regime to his boyish outlook.


Happy birthday Nic! Thanks for letting us celebrate the milestone with you at the delicious Sky Bar. Fabulous Thai food – and company – as always. 

Song of the day: “Thank you for being a friend”

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