Saturday, October 07, 2006

Older women and younger men

I'm thinking of writing a May-December romance about an older woman and a younger man. But I'm stumped. Really, what constitutes an older woman? To me, if the age difference is, say, five or six years, that doesn't really make the woman that much older, right? I'd have to say at least ten years age difference. But...I've never written about a hero that's around twenty four, twenty five years old--see picture to envision him *g* (because I'd like the woman in her thirties--don't ask me why).

But what about a woman in her forties?

I know, I know. I'm making it needlessly difficult. I'm just not sure how readers will react to a fortyish heroine. I've asked a couple of readers about that and they were okay with it. But then they were rabid romance addicts who'll devour any books of any genre, as long as it romance. LOL. Gotta love them, though.

Seriously, will a story about a fortyish woman in love with a younger man sell? Hmmm...

17 comments:

Karen Scott said...

I'm not sure about women in their forties in romance, but I'd make the heroine 38, and the hero 28. That's a big enough age gap I think.

Beverly Havlir said...

Hi Karen,

Thirty eight and twenty eight sounds very doable for me. I like that. Very good idea! Thanks. *g*

Vicious Trollop said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vicious Trollop said...

Hey :)

To me, 10 years is too much (sometimes even when it's the guy who's older).

The problem with making the woman close to 40 (give or take a few years on either side) is that the guy would be too young. I personally have an aversion to 20 year old heroes ACKK LOL

I guess if you make her 40 and the guy 32-33 it's still a big enough age gap, and a man that age might already be mature enough to handle a hot 40+ sexy dame :P

Rosie said...

I agree that a big age gap when it's the man older than the woman bothers me sometimes. I mean the younger person would have to be exceptional to have anything in common with the older person besides sex if there's too big an age gap. It's a different frame of reference for everything music, books, etc.

Beverly Havlir said...

Vicious Trollop and Rosie,

My thoughts exactly. I just don't fancy 20 something guys hooking up with fortyish women because (before everybody comes down on me with a hammer--LOL) I don't believe they're mature enough. I like my guys to be around their 30s. You know, those who've lived life some. *g*

fiveandfour said...

My parents were 10 years apart in age and I have to say it was a complete non-issue for them. (My dad was older than my mom. At the moment I know 2 married couples where the woman is about 10 years older than the man and the "age thing" is the same non-issue for them as it was for my parents.)

At a certain point upon reaching adulthood, there are so many more things you have in common with other adults - things to do with being a gainfully employed person (and possibly parent) who can pay the mortgage and sneak in some fun on the side - that the importance of an age difference diminishes significantly. There are younger adults with greater maturity than older ones; there are certain cohort things (which cartoon one watched on Saturday morning as a kid) that can separate, but I find are actually more a point of teasing and thus, bonding.

As for different tastes in entertainment, my husband and I have that at a significant degree and we're only 2 months apart in age - so to me, I don't perceive that as much of a function of age as do others (though I absolutely acknowledge that it exists to a certain degree).

My only concern as a reader would be the issue of the woman and her child-bearing abilities (or lack thereof) - which, really, would only be an issue if the story makes it so.

Finally, FWIW, as a reader I find my comfort level with an age difference seems to hover around the 10 years or less mark. For some reason when the difference is around the 15+ mark, I start thinking of Anna Nicole Smith and what's-his-name ~ irrational, but there you go :-).

Anonymous said...

Hi
I accessed your blog through Karen Scot's.
I'm a 42yr old single female. This has more to do with the fact that I'm not interested in men my age or older cause frankly I can't find any who fit 1st my physical requirement or who are even single and confident. That leaves younger (much younger) men. I'm talking between 25-33(tops). Ironically I've had a long term relationship with a guy 12yrs younger than myself who wanted to get married etc, which I declined as I've been there before and am over that. Suffice to say I'm having the time of my life dating, making friends with younger men as they're straight forward, appreciate my directness and outlook on life and especially they're not afraid of approaching a mature, educated, "kick-ass" woman!.
So in a nut shell, I'd be forever grateful for such a romance book that's not afraid to broach such an untapped subject, and, especially if the age is a politically incorrect difference.

Chandra

Anonymous said...

I'm over 40 (44 next month) and love reading about an older woman and younger man. I'm also tired of the Alpha male being 15 yrs older than the heroine and would love seeing a together woman with a hot, young stud.

Beverly Havlir said...

Hi Fiveandfour,

That's my concern, too. I guess I'm of the mind that HEA relationships usually end up in marriage and kids in the future. Although women are having children in their 40s nowadays, it's not without health risks.

Beverly Havlir said...

Hey Chandra,

Hallelujah! You go, girl! Personally, my hat's off to you. I admire strong mature women who don't hesitate to date younger men and are proud of it!
You're correct in that this is an untapped subject. There aren't a whole lot of romance books about this, and trust me, I find it very interesting. Enough to plan a future story. *g*

Beverly Havlir said...

Hey Anonymous,

I guess it's the "unofficial" norm for the Alpha male to be older than the girl. I'd love to buck the norm and venture into something new. Thanks for stopping by!

reader che said...

*Cross-posted from Karen's blog*

There are 2 May/Dec romances I've read: Anyone But You by Jennifer Crusie (fondly referred to as the dog book) and Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm. I don't recall the age difference for ABY but in Leaving Normal, it was 9 years. I belive the heroine was 40, or very close to it. May/Dec romance is not one of my favorite plot elements, but I did enjoy both.

I'm 48 years old, btw, and generally prefer my heroines to be in their 30's but I'll read whatever looks good to me, really.

Shelby Reed said...

Hi Beverly,

This is merely my own opinion and reader's taste, but I like to see an additional conflict connected to the age difference that gives the romance between hero and heroine that forbidden edge. In my own May/Dec novel, the heroine was in her mid-thirties to the hero's mid-twenties, which in itself isn't that big a deal, but the additional conflict was that she was his art professor and he was a grad student. Another M/D book I read that had that added edge was a book by LaVyrle Spencer where the heroine was 42 and the hero 30-again, not a huge deal, except that the hero was the heroine's son's best friend before the son was killed in an accident. After grief throws the hero and heroine together, she must struggle with her conflicting feelings of "this is my son's buddy" juxtaposed with her extreme attraction to him. I can't remember the title--I think it's Family Blessings.

An added thought is that you want their age difference to not be so extreme that when she's 65, he's not a sexy 40-45. LOL Although I have seen actual marriages that were like that. But in fiction, it might work better to keep their ages in a certain range. 12 years seems to be the max, IMO.

Hope some of this helps! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Shelby Reed

Beverly Havlir said...

Hi Shelby,

I read A Fine Work of Art. I have to say, it was very well-written, poignant and I simply loved it! Thanks for the suggestions and for stopping by my little blog. *g*

Anonymous said...

Hi Beverley
I would like to say that I love my man and am proud to be his partner. Our age difference is 15 years I am 55 he is 40. We base our relationship on honesty and communication. At first I was scared and my head told me horrible things so we decided to take it easy and see where it takes us. Its been fabulous we laugh and play and we share. My children are grown up and he has a 9 year old girl and we all have a lot of fun. How blessed we are, Im happy to share with you all and encourage others to not be hard on themselves and to follow your heart. One day at a time.

Julie-Ann

abderrazak said...

Hi everybody ,

well i like that subject and all i wanna say that if you are gonna talk about that different ages,you will need then to make exemples and what exactly the motivation of why young men choose a old woman ....for exemple if we see Demi Moore and Ashton Kucher , for me i think in the cas that the guy look for someone to make him famous ... and they are alot others they look for money or something like that ,and everything happen for a reason ... and for me everyone likes to be with who in his age ,what dont forget about that ..........