Golden or olden?

David Swan
2 min readOct 31, 2023

October 31, 2023

Groom putting ring on bride’s finger.
“In sickness and in health, in fabulousness and decrepitude.” Photo by Jeremy Wong on

Question: What does reality TV have to do with Social Security?

  1. I hate all forms of socialism.
  2. My grandfather binges “Jersey Shore” reruns because he loves Snooki.
  3. Is Social Security like social media? Their website says I’m way too young to collect money.
  4. People think all seniors are like the ones on “The Golden Bachelor.”

Unfortunately, number four is correct. If you haven’t been watching, “The Golden Bachelor” is the latest mutation of the Bachelor / Bachelorette series, where suitors (and suitorettes?) ruthlessly battle for the heart of a desirable man or woman. Instead of a young hunk, the target is what ABC calls, “a charming 72-year-old patriarch,” showing how “love stories only get better with age.”

As critics point out, the show is really about denying one’s age. Why, seven decades is young! Life is forever fabulous! The women chasing bachelor Gerry are svelte, successful, and stilettoed, with few touches of grey but probably enough Botox to freeze a volcano. The true beauty of aging — wisdom, maturity, and the hard-earned freedom to be your real self — isn’t in the script.

Though everything about the show screams “Fake!” the folks who love to stereotype seniors have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. It’s even being (mis)used as evidence that older people are too rich for the good of the country. A recent article cited “Golden Bachelor” to support the call for raising the age when we become eligible for Social Security. The system needs repair, and reasonable people can disagree about how to do it, but this is flat insane.

For those whose bodies and souls are worn out by years of hard work, retirement can’t come soon enough. Tens of millions receive at least half their income from Social Security. For some it’s more than 90% of their income, and with an average monthly payment of about $1,700, they don’t live a “Golden” lifestyle.

Neither do I. I’ve got more miles on me than a DC cab and my joints creak like the bedsprings at the No-Tell Motel (and come to think of it, so do my jokes). Fabulous I’m not. Happy I’m still around on this rock and thankful for what I have — yes I am.


Originally published at on October 31, 2023.

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David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.