The Age-Old Age Gap Question

by - November 16, 2009

What ever happened to not being able to help who you fell in love (or lust) with?  A romantic notion that seems to have fallen into obscurity these days, what with relationships being all over the spectrum, not easily definable, and definitely no longer easy.

Things seemed so easy a generation ago: you met your high school sweet heart, you fell in love, you got married.  At least the 'good girls' did.  Take my mother for example:  she skipped into my fathers' heart when she was just 15 years-old and he 24.  And it was romantic.  No one thought it weird.  No one talked behind their backs.  It was just accepted.  My mom's friends thought she was super cool and that my dad was a dreamboat.  It was because it was known back then that my father would make an honest woman out of my mother one day, and it was known this because he was nine years older than she was, and ready to be a married man.

Now, this kind of relationship is illegal.  Not so much romantic as it is looking to spend some time behind bars, getting an 'I Heart Mom' tattoo by a guy named  Tiny.  But just when does age become a problem?  When two people are consenting adults, why is it a problem at all? Gone are the days of marrying the first person you fall in love with, and in marched a new way to be in a relationship: a devil-may-care attitude that both men and women alike are supposed to be allowed to share in today's society.  Supposed to be.  As in, looks good on paper but not in reality.

Take for instance, my brother and my sister.  My brother at 20 years-old had a long term relationship with a women twice his age.  She was 41 and he was 20.  And nobody we knew thought it was THAT weird.  If anything, they were all impressed that he was bagging an older woman.  She did not act like what a 'normal' 41-year-old would act like (what does that even MEAN?), and she didn't look the way a woman her age 'should' look.  She was just cool, going to rock shows with him and hanging out with my folks the way that any other girlfriend would.  My parents had no problem with it.  They were of the mindset that as long as you are happy, they were happy for you.  But I am sure that her friends thought it was strange, and I am sure that she was given a hard time about it frequently, jokingly being called his mom, or being asked how she could relate to someone so much younger than she.

And my sister, who is a pretty hot 34-year-old who doesn't look a day over 25, she seems to attract the younger crowd these days.  But hers is a different story.  Where my brother was allowed to be open with his friend's and neighbors about his relationship with an older woman, my sister is spending most of her time trying to hide hers.  And she is not doing anything illegal.  Both are consenting adults.  Society seems to have a double-standard in this arena, where a man is meant to flaunt it when he has an older woman on his arm, and a woman is meant to feel that they are desperate and should be ashamed to have a younger guy on theirs.

Why is it weird for a woman to be attracted to a much younger man and not vice-versa?  Is my family different for thinking that as long as you are happy, so be it?

What is your take on this situation? Should people just be allowed to 'love' (or whatever you define it as being) one another?

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