Like a Fine Wine …

… does a woman improve with age?

The hero being slightly older than the heroine has long been the norm in romance novels—but as that convention has waned in society, it’s become more popular to switch the scenario around. For years I thought about incorporating a relationship between an older woman and a younger man in one of my novels. Finally I found the right fit with Wine & Roses.

We live in a society where youth and beauty are highly prized, particularly for women. The messages we see on television and in magazines make it difficult to value ourselves as we age. Even as women have achieved independence and a measure of equality, the double standard persists. Women who pursue younger men are known as “cougars”, while there’s no equivalent nickname for men who date younger women.

I enjoyed exploring this theme with my characters, Abby and Jason. Although I’m happily married, as I get older I can relate to the anxiety felt by Abby, a widow after twenty years of marriage, as she considers dating again in her forties—and the man she’s attracted to is nine years her junior. Abby worries not only about her appearance, but also about her fertility—will a young man stay with her for long if she can’t give him a family?

I think we need to give men a little more credit; despite what the advertisers tell us, I believe men are able to recognize the allure of warmth, wit and self-assurance, in a woman of any age. In Wine & Roses, Jason appreciates these qualities in Abby, and her age matters little to him as he falls head over heels in love with her. Of course, at the core is a love story between two people that transcends their age difference, as they face the challenges common to any couple forging a new relationship.

What do you think—does an age difference make a difference?

6 thoughts on “Like a Fine Wine …

  1. If we didn’t have calendars, would anyone know how old they were? And men who date women young enough to be their daughters are called, ‘old farts’…LOL I’ve never seen a poor man with a very young woman/wife. Money makes a lot of young women blind.

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  2. Great post. I read Wine and Roses and enjoyed it a lot.After becoming a young widow at thirty-six with four children, my own mother-in-law married a man seven years younger. He adored her and put her on a pedestal all her life. He raised her two youngest sons as if they were his own. I’ve never seen such a strong love that remained the same for almost fifty years.

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  3. Actual calendar age isn’t necessarily a person’s real, physical age. I’ve seen sixty-somethings much healthier and stronger than some thirty-somethings…and let’s not even talk about maturity! There are plenty of immature baby-boomers and wise beyond their years teenagers.
    Love really doesn’t need a calendar or a stop watch.

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  4. I explored this theme in Second Chances. At the time I had two male friends who married women 12 & 15 years older respectfully. One of the couples is still very happily married. Chronological age is no guarantee of longevity in relationships. I love Kristy’s comment that love doesn’t need a stop watch or a calendar, agreed!

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  5. My book Old Enough To Know Better is also a younger man/older woman romance. It’s one of my favorite books because I don’t think anyone should be defined by a date on a calendar.

    I once read a quotation — can’t remember who said it — but it went this way: How old would you think you are if you didn’t know how old you were?

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  6. Pingback: Age Differences: How Low Can You Go? « Smooth ReEntry

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