Edith here, blog wrangler for the month, happy we made it to the end of May!
Many years ago I was chatting with a poet friend, the now-late Miriam Goodman, who was about fifteen years older than me. She mentioned that she’d had a May-December romance. I’d never heard the term, so she explained that it was when one partner was significantly older than the other. In her case, Miriam had been the older one. I saw one definition that said the gap has to be eleven years or more to be a real May-December situation. In our culture, the man being the older one of the couple is a cliche, but certainly it happens in the other order as well as with same-gender couples.
So let’s talk about May-December romances. Do you have stories from your own life or those of friends who are/were in such a relationship? How about fictional instances in books, movies, TV shows where one partner is a couple of decades older or younger? [Because we try to avoid politics on this blog, let’s omit the current residents of the White House. Let’s not talk about celebrities, either.] Go!
Sherry: It seems like lots of classic literature has May-December romances. I haven’t read Rebecca for a very long time, but it’s hard to forget how young Rebecca seemed and how old her husband was. Although for the time period that wasn’t so unusual.
Julie: Jane Eyre was also much younger than Mr. Rochester. Lots of those romances in novels. I will admit I was always a fan of Cary Grant and Fred Astaire, both of whom had much younger screen partners late in their careers. It never really bothered me, though I will admit seeing Fred and Leslie Caron in Daddy Long Legs recently gave me a start. She was so, so young. And the story celebrates a May/December romance that doesn’t necessarily age well.
Barb: I do have a few friends in my own life who meet the eleven year definition (which I had never heard before). Shall we give a shout out to French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte?
Edith: Sure! I was in such a relationship for a couple of years, with a man more than twenty years older than me. Sweetest guy I’ve ever known. We used to go walking in a beautiful cemetery and find gravestones of couples with similar age gaps. It ended because I very much wanted to have children and he’d already had four with his ex-wife.
Readers: Who do you know? Who are your favorite May-December couples from literature or the screen?