THE 31-year age difference between Martin Freeman and Jenna Ortega in Miller’s Girl has outraged filmgoers. But not many men, who are always oddly cagey about age-gap relationships. Here’s how.
No outright condemnation
Men with vocal opinions on everything else will be unusually circumspect about dating a much younger woman, eg. ‘It depends on your personal circumstances. Everyone is different. Who can say whether a relationship is working unless you’re actually in that relationship?’ Which is an incredibly long-winded way of saying: ‘I would shag the hot student working in Costa.’
Suddenly becoming an incurable romantic
Emotionally stunted men who think an annual trip to Pizza Express is all the romance any woman could ever dream of will suddenly say ‘You can’t choose who you fall in love with’ or even ‘The heart wants what it wants’. How sweet, and coincidentally how handy in the unlikely event of a 22-year-old wanting to sleep with them.
Favourably comparing older men to a fictional youth
One ploy is saying young women are better off with someone older (ie. you) than ‘some young guy who’s always out getting pissed with his mates’. Variations include ‘always smoking weed’ and ‘got four kids by different teenage mums’. The problem is this feckless young fellow is so obviously made up to make you look good by comparison you may as well make him a cannibal serial killer while you’re at it.
Claiming older men have more life experience
By definition true, but experience of what? Driving a car? Opening a bank account? Being awake? Your lucky young squeeze is in for some fascinating conversations. Even if you’re widely travelled with a deep knowledge of world culture, she could skip the middle-aged spread and erection problems and listen to a travel podcast instead.
Flipping the discussion
No one can criticise women who date younger men without sounding judgmental, so definitely mention Heidi Klum (16-year age gap), Lisa Bonet (12 years) and Brigitte Macron (24 years and she was his teacher, the old minx). Who’d have thought Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, who you’ve never even met, would make it socially acceptable for you to go out with someone who doesn’t remember Britpop?
Praising our more tolerant society
Society used to be incredibly horrible about all sorts of relationships, and you could, at a stretch, include age gap ones. ‘She’s young enough to be his daughter,’ wasn’t a compliment on your superlative pulling skills. We can all agree it’s better to live in a tolerant, progressive society, even if your main motivation is shagging Anya Taylor-Joy.