How The Golden Girls Influenced Me

Al Hirschfeld's Golden Girls, the Limited-Edition Lithograph commissioned by NBC as the gift to cast and major creative team when the series ended.
“Golden Girls:” Al Hirschfeld’s Limited-Edition Lithograph commissioned by NBC as a parting gift to cast and major creative team when the series ended. (Source: Wikimedia)

The Golden Girls” is my all-time favorite TV show. I was very young when it first aired and, while I didn’t understand much of the content, I enjoyed the antics of Dorothy, Sophia, Rose, and Blanche. I would secretly wish my grandma was as spunky and zany as them. Thanks to syndication, I grew up with the Girls and came to view them as my “grandmas in my head.”

They redefined the mature woman and will always be a model of how to grow older with zest. They tackled topics such as dating after 50, homosexuality, ageism, sexism, and menopause and did so with wit, humor, and many helpings of cheesecake. They were unimaginable influences on me, imparting wisdom about life, friendship, and womanhood. Here are several lessons I learned from “The Golden Girls.”

Sophia

Sophia Petrillo-Weinstock
Sophia Petrillo

“Jealousy is an ugly thing, Dorothy.  And so are you in anything backless.”

Sophia had a wicked sense of humor and often buried words of wisdom deep in her jokes. She was the epitome of  live your life as if each day is your last. In her 80s, she was full of energy and hung tough  with her daughter Dorothy and the crew. She didn’t take any moment for granted – as she told Dorothy, ” …I’m supposed to be dead! These are your twilight years!”

I also admired Sophia’s hustle. Whether peddling bacon, lettuce and potato sandwiches with Rose, working at Captain Jack’s Seafood Shanty, or managing a pro boxer, Sophia had an entrepreneurial spirit and go getter attitude. Her ability to spot opportunity in the most unlikely places taught me persistence and not to dismiss the potential of anything.

Rose

golden_girls15
Rose Nylund

Everyone likes me-I’m the nice one! Dorothy is the smart one, Blanche is the sexy one, Sophia is the old one, and I’m the nice one! EVERYBODY likes me!” 

Rose was dim-witted, and her naiveté could both annoy and tug at your heartstrings.  Rose was an example of not everyone is going to like you – no matter how kind or giving you are. Deal with it. But that doesn’t mean you should change who you are. Be true to you.

Blanche

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Blanche Devereaux

“There is a fine line between having a good time and being a wanton slut. I know. My toe has been on that line.” 

Oh sexy, sultry, slutty Blanche. Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones had nothing on this Southern belle. Blanche deserves credit for showing that having comfort in your sexuality and being a lady aren’t mutually exclusive. Blanche’s greatest lesson for me wasn’t how to be sexually free, it was that seduction is not a tool of professional empowerment. Blanche relied on her beauty and seductive powers in every facet of her life, even in her career. In one episode, Blanche attempts to spend the evening with her boss during a murder mystery weekend to increase her chances of getting a promotion. That type of behavior just doesn’t work well in the real world. Unless, along with your VP title, you also want to be labeled a wanton slut.

Dorothy

Dorothy Zbornak-Hollingsworth
Dorothy Zbornak

“I didn’t realize that slipping my tongue to half of the firemen in the county was the more lofty social achievement.”

Dorothy was smart and cynical with a razor-sharp tongue. Her whole life was a bevy of lessons, from avoiding the devastating effects of teen pregnancy and steering clear of ill-fitting clothes, to influencing me not to live with my mother after 50. Kidding aside, Dorothy reaffirmed that men do like smart, opinionated women.  While Blanche used her feminine wiles to entice men, Dorothy scored with a strong, feminine brain, so I was  excited to see her walk down the aisle during the show’s finale. She made this head-strong woman confident that the right man would come along and appreciate me for me.

Did you learn anything while laughing at “The Golden Girls?” Share your memories!

If you like this, you may also like:

“Woman’s World” (Golden Girl Remix) by Cher (YouTube)

The Golden Girls Made Me Embrace My Senior Citizen Sluthood” (College Candy)

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