i was in college when The Golden Girls wrapped in 1992. to give the swan song of such a pop culture opus its due, my roommates and i held a most magnificent drinking game around the final episode.

when it came down to deciding which among us was which character from the Golden Girls, i ended up as Betty White.

Betty White. not the sexy one. not the smart one. not even the wiseass mother hen. the ditz. Betty White. Rose. Rose fucking Nyland.

for lo these eighteen years, friends, i have puzzled and stewed about being tagged as the Betty White of the co-ed set. i was flabbergasted. i thought i was smart, possibly a dry wit. i was aiming for sexy, however awkwardly. and i definitely wanted to be funny. but instead, at least to a gang of drunken undergraduate rugby players, i was Betty White.

today, with the death of Rue McLanahan, who taught me sexy doesn’t end at thirty, bless her tawdry little heart, Betty White became the last Golden Girl standing.

and i thought, this is my hour.

then i spent the day with the Golden Girls theme song stuck in my head. yes. you are welcome.
***

the good thing about being Betty White, besides her recent SNL glory and the fact that she’s, you know, alive, is that she’s nice. as Rose, she was vapid, sure, a little slow on the uptake. but good people.

and more than anything of the other Golden Girls, she was fearless. Rose Nylund wasn’t afraid to be kind. or to say she was hurt. or to look like a fool.

i want to be more like that.

that is all.

i can see myself as an old lady. my grandmother, whom was perhaps my unwitting model for my more feminine attributes, looked a lot like a much older Betty White, with the same little cold wave perm and the lipstick that came from Woolworths. she was almost 70 when i was born, and it is around 70 that i imagine myself truly growing into my skin, fully and completely, just as it softens for good and begins to collect in little pockets all over me, like pompoms.

i will learn to make tea properly, and to have the patience to drink it. i will sit with my lady friends and be silly and make them feel smart, and i will not care one whit about my own damn vanity and ego. i will laugh. i will be a friend in a way i don’t find much time for, these busy days.

and i’ll be fearless. except maybe of cockroaches. but i’ll be so damn sweet you’ll all get rid of them for me.

i’ll be Betty White, finally.

who do you want to be, when the days grow short? what kind of old lady (or old gentleman, or dude) do you see on your horizon, your someday?