Mind the Gap
Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the Raising the Rent blog tour!
Giveaway: I’m offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See here for a full list of the blogs I’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any)
I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 27th October, GMT. Good luck! 😀
Never fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling – Raising the Rent
Of course, there are degrees in everything. I think most people would agree that their view of an acceptable age gap isn’t a constant: it depends on other factors, such as the age of the youngest partner, their maturity, and on whether one is in a position of power over the other.
Raising the Rent involves an age gap of 17 years. Nathan is 19; Stephen is 36 and I suspect he’d prefer to see their relationship described as more of a May-late August romance! But can such relationships ever really work?
“Perhaps,” said Elinor, “thirty-five and seventeen had better not have any thing to do with matrimony together. – Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (Spoilers: thirty-five and seventeen later marry and live happily ever after.)
Most assuredly, if you look at real life cases. Christopher Isherwood (writer of Goodbye to Berlin, later adapted into the musical Cabaret) was 48 when he met Don Bachardy, then 18—an age gap of 30 years—yet the couple stayed together for 33 years, until Isherwood’s death.
19 years separated Noel Coward and Graham Payne, and they were together for over 30 years, until Coward’s death. There’s a similar age gap between champion swimmer Tom Daley (19) and his boyfriend Dustin Lance Black (39), although their relationship hasn’t had a chance to prove its longevity yet. *crosses fingers for them*
Of course, there’s plenty of precedent for age-gap gay relationships; in fact, in the ancient Greek erastes-eromenos model (mentoring plus sexytimes), age gaps were pretty much compulsory. There was a set role for each of the partners, and age was very much a part of that. A similar system existed in seventeenth-century Japan, where for example a samurai would take his young apprentice as his lover.
Such cultures actively frowned upon partnerships of equals, which were seen as odd and unnatural, undoubtedly because the “passive” role in sex was seen as unmanly—suitable only for a woman or young boy.
So there we have it. Misogyny: affecting gay relationships since the year dot.
Question: What do you think about age-gap relationships? Love ’em? Hate ’em? Wonder what on earth all the fuss is about?
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Rent boy Nathan’s determined to get an education and get off the streets for good. But when he turns up for his first day at college he’s horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice because of his educated, honeyed tones.
Stephen’s just as shocked to see Nathan sitting in his class, not to mention terrified he’s about to be exposed as having paid for sex with a student. This could mean public humiliation and maybe the loss of his job. But when Nathan shows he’s only interested in getting his A Levels, not in blackmail, Stephen realises there’s more to the nineteen-year-old than meets the eye.
Nathan still has to earn a living, though—and when a customer turns ugly, he finds himself unable to work and homeless as well. Stephen steps in to help, and Nathan starts to think they could have a future together—but Stephen’s guilt and lack of trust could end this back-to-front romance before it even starts.
Warning: Contains unfashionable haircuts, unreasonably long words and a May-December romance between a not-so-streetwise rent boy and an erudite English teacher.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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