Last night J and I watched The Door In the Floor; it’s based after the beginning of John Irving’s novel, A Widow for One Year. It’s one of my favorite movies (and books) because not only is Jeff Bridges the star (swoon), but it deals with a troubled family and their issues. Also, Elle Fanning, Dakota’s little sister, is the daughter in the movie and her acting, even at her young age is impeccable. The movie isn’t a happy one, but it’s a thought provoking look at a family’s life and how they cope, even years after tragedy. Irving is a fan of writing about the forbidden relationship; for example, in The Hotel New Hampshire, a brother has a life long romantic, passionate, love for his sister. Think Richie and Margot Tennenbaum, sans the her being adopted part. In The Door in the Floor, a young boarding school boy has a fling with the mother of the family. It’s forbidden on many levels, some which Irving blatently tells you, and some which you can theorize about, but either way, it’s a young boy involved in a sexual relationship with a woman (Kim Basinger plays the mother) at least twenty years older than him.
It got me thinking about the whole older man/younger woman and older woman/younger man double standard. If the character Jeff Bridges plays were to get involved with the young nanny, the whole book/movie would have a completely different tone, I mean, it wouldn’t even be the same story line. There’s a reason that the boy gets involved with the mother; and for some reason, the reader, the viewer, is okay with that. Yes, it’s seductive, and she does take advantage of him, but it flows with the plot. We aren’t saying, “Oh, it’s just another older man seducing and innocent young girl” story, there’s more to it. Is there more to it because it is an older woman and younger man? I think so. It seems there’s always more theorizing and analyzing involved when it’s an older woman and younger man (think: Mary Kay Letourneau). For some reason, and I could be wrong here, when it’s an older man and younger woman, people chalk it up to, he’s bored, she’s young, she’s after money, etc. When it’s an older woman and younger man, people seem to say, “Why is he with her?” What’s he after? What’s wrong with him? What can she give him?” The discussion is greater; perhaps because there is a larger stigma around it, and it’s still “unusual,” while it almost seems historical that older men take younger brides.
I was thinking about “older men” and realized I’m really not into them. The oldest men I’ve had a thing for were my uncle’s friends and they were only 8-10 years older than me. Personally, I’m just not attracted to much older men. Maybe it’s the cave-woman in me coming out, but I want to procreate with someone around my age so that they can (ideally) be there for every step of the way with me and not be too old to “provide” and “survive” just as long as I should (how very Darwin of me). Barring actors, Pierce Brosnan (55), Colin Firth (47), Hugh Grant (47), Paul Newman (83), and Jeff Bridges (58 ) (among others), I’m really not attracted to men that much older than me. I like those men because I like the way they act, and I like the parts they play; perhaps if I met a much older man, and I was attracted to his personality, I would find myself attracted to him also?
Have you ever dated a man twenty years or more older than you? Who are your older, handsome, man crushes?