WATCH: Senior dating given a rare moment in ‘The Golden Bachelor’

Kaput hopes the show will combat ageism and challenge common misconceptions. Picture: IANS

Kaput hopes the show will combat ageism and challenge common misconceptions. Picture: IANS

Published Jul 22, 2023


By Annabelle Timsit and Adela Suliman

The new Bachelor is everything we usually see in the lead of America's most popular dating show. He's tall, active, outgoing - and most importantly, single.

He's also 71.

ABC is diverging from its usual cast of 20- and 30-somethings in "The Bachelor" with its new unscripted spin-off series, "The Golden Bachelor."

Gerry Turner, a retired restaurateur from Indiana who was widowed in 2017, according to ABC, is "ready to put himself out there and find a love that will stand the test of time in his golden years." Vying for his final rose? Women over the age of 65.

This will go a long way toward showing what it's like to date later in life, as seniors' love stories are rarely in the pop culture spotlight, fans and experts say.

"Shows like this are so important for breaking the social barriers around senior dating," said Kate Taylor, a dating coach for "OurTime," a dating app for those over 50.

"There is without a doubt a lack of representation . . . when it comes to older people dating. In reality, people over 50 are finding love every day."

Younger people will be watching - and not just for whether these seniors are here for the right reasons.

"I hope that this show will help normalize the idea that even as we age, we're still just ourselves," said show fan Kate Kaput, 38, from Cleveland.

"I've long been trying to convince my own mom, a widow in her late 60s, to get out there and meet someone new!"

Kaput hopes the show will combat ageism and challenge common misconceptions that "when you get old, you lose your value, your vibrancy, your excitement about life." Adding that she is curious to see seniors "reflected in the absurdity and drama of reality TV."

As people live longer, marriage rates have been declining and divorce rates even in later life increasing.

This is what some experts refer to as the "grey divorce" revolution in the last three decades.

But dating as a 60-, 70- or 80-year-old is different from dating as a 20-year-old.

Options are more limited, especially for women, who still outlive men by nearly six years on average. Children and grandchildren are in the mix. Some people have chronic health problems.

The "Golden Bachelor" knows what it's like.

In an interview with "Good Morning America," Turner described losing his wife of 43 years, Toni, to an illness in 2017, six weeks after she retired. "She got robbed. Every day that goes by, that's the thought that I have," he said.

Turner, who has two daughters and two granddaughters, said he initially "was having a hard time figuring out" if Toni would have been okay with him going on the show.

"But we always told each other, when one of us goes, we want the other one to be happy. She's up there rooting. She's saying, 'yeah Gerry, do this,'" he said.

Many seniors - or people who are returning to the dating pool in middle age - may be able to relate.