Stay Golden: 13 Life Lessons From ‘The Golden Girls’


Even if you’re in your 50s and you have adult children of your own, there’s still nothing quite like some sage advice from your mom. Dorothy certainly turned to Sophia many times throughout the series. Granted, Sophia’s advice was sometimes on the harsher side, like the time she advised Dorothy that « jealousy is an ugly thing, Dorothy. And so are you in anything backless » but she always came through with wisdom and wit. And Sophia’s advice wasn’t limited to Dorothy; she was often a mother figure for Rose and Blanche.

Being older doesn’t mean you can’t still have a passion for flashin’ and nobody embodied this more than Blanche. The Southern belle has always flouted society’s sartorial expectations (she did, after all, walk down the aisle in a red wedding dress) and she continued her rebellious streak into her golden years. Whether she was meeting men down at the Rusty Anchor or just lounging on the lanai in one of her silk robes, Blanche always dressed for Blanche, ignoring what was deemed acceptable or appropriate for a woman of a certain age. Clearly Rue McClanahan was a fan of Blanche’s wardrobe, the actress kept all of her character’s clothes!

Long before Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte were commiserating over cosmos, Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose were chatting over cheesecake. Whatever the problem, the women took to the kitchen to find the solution. And while we’re not saying the sugary confection holds the answers to life’s quandaries, there is something about taking the time to talk it out. A piece of cheesecake, some good conversation, followed by a good sleep can really put things into perspective. 

The ladies didn’t just find comfort in cheesecake. Over the show’s seven seasons we saw the women indulge in a variety of delicious foods, many times prepared by Sophia, whose Sicilian heritage helped make her a dynamo in the kitchen, particularly with her signature pasta dishes. We’ll never forget her saying, as she stirred a pot of sauce on the stove, « If this sauce were a person, I’d get naked and make love to it. » The point is, food is delicious and to be enjoyed. Life is short, eat the pasta! Eat the cheesecake!

Whether they were entering a dance contest, trying a new aerobics class, getting giddy at the thought of meeting Mr. Burt Reynolds, or appearing on a game show like « Grab! That! Dough! » the ladies maintained their sense of adventure and fun, proving you’re never too old to try new things. Age, after all, is just a number and life is to be lived. 

The show never shied away from tackling issues like sexual harassment, agism and LGBT rights. One storyline had Blanche confronting her own internal homophobia when her gay brother Clayton announces his plans to marry his longtime boyfriend Doug. Blanche says she supports Clayton, but has a problem with her brother making his relationship so public. It’s ultimately Sophia who makes Blanche realizes she’s being unfair and discriminatory against her brother with this exchange:
Blanche: « I can accept the fact that he’s gay but why does he have to slip a ring on this man’s finger so the whole world will know? » Sophia: « Why did you marry George? » Blanche: « We loved each other, wanted to make a lifetime commitment, wanted everyone to know. »Sophia: « That’s what Doug and Clayton want, too. Everyone wants someone to grow old with. And shouldn’t everyone have that chance? » Amen.

Whether it was because a guest was staying over and taking one of their bedrooms, or a scary storm drew them all together, the ladies ended up in the same bed several times over the course of the series. Naturally hijinks and candid conversation would ensue. But it proves there’s nothing quite like a sleepover with your girlfriends and, whether you’re a teenaged girl or a golden girl, you’re always the right age for a slumber party with your BFFs. 

Growing older doesn’t mean fading into the background and no one demonstrated that better than Sophia. She may have been an octogenarian but she was also one feisty lady. No one threw shade better than Sophia. Whether she was putting a curse on a neighbour or reading her own roomies for filth, no one was safe from Sophia’s barbs. We don’t have the evidence to back this up but we’re pretty sure her fire one-liners and insults were the actual cause of the fire at her nursing home. She definitely put the shady in Shady Pines.

Society can be cruel to women of a certain age, casually dismissing their wants, needs, and opinions. The ladies proved that while having the support of your friends is amazing, ultimately you have to stand up for yourself. A perfect example of this was when Dorothy was experiencing unexplained health issues and was summarily dismissed by her doctor. After seeking out alternative opinions, she was ultimately diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, something that only happened because Dorothy never stopped advocating for herself. 

Dorothy and Stanley Zbornak were married for 38 years before Stanley’s infidelity ultimately led to their bitter divorce. And while Dorothy never completely cut Stan out of her life, she also didn’t have time for any of his BS, often slamming the door in his face after he would show up at the door with his signature greeting of « It’s me, Stan. »  And while the two did come close to reconciling, Dorothy wisely chose not to take him back, proving it’s okay to forgive someone for hurting you but never truly forgetting. Keep those toxic exes at arm’s length, honey!

Throughout the show’s seven seasons, all four of the ladies had their share of romantic partners – remember the time Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy went shopping before a cruise with their respective boyfriends? « Condoms, Rose! Condoms! Condoms! Condoms! »Â Though Blanche may have been the most overtly sexual of the girls (we’ll never forget her « Men of Blanche’s Boudoir » commemorative calendar) all the ladies, including Sophia, got some action over the course of the show, proving sexuality doesn’t have an expiry date and you’re never too old to get it on. 

When we were introduced to Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia, all four women were single, whether it be by divorce or the death of their respective partner. And even though the ladies were of a certain age, they never stopped trying to find love. The women enjoyed several meaningful and significant romantic relationships throughout the course of the series and the show even concluded with Dorothy getting remarried to Blanche’s uncle, Lucas Hollingsworth. 

Throughout the show’s seven seasons, romantic interests came and went, jobs changed, and adult children moved on, but the one constant was the unwavering friendship and unbreakable bond between the four women. There for each other through thick and thin, the women had each other’s backs and traveled down the road and back again for each other. If there was only one takeaway from « The Golden Girls » it’s that true friendship really is the biggest gift. 


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