As Aaliyah once sang, “Age ain’t nothin but a number.” Unfortunately, she was 13 and married to R. Kelly and had to get divorced, but not all May-December love stories are so tragic. With so much talk about age differences lately, whether its celebrity pairings or inane court cases, we thought we’d share our favorites.
Dorothy Snarker: Harold and Maude, which if you May youngsters out there haven’t watched, you should for the Cat Stevens soundtrack alone. But mostly because Ruth Gordon is everything you’ve ever wanted to be when you grew up.
Bridget McManus: My vote goes to Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins in BIG. Although Hanks’ Josh Baskin character is physically in an adult male body for most of the film let’s not forget that he’s just a 12-year-old boy wooing the 30-something New York businesswoman Susan. When Josh touched Susan’s boob for the first time I remember screaming (probably because I was jealous), “Oh my god, you’re just a boy!” p.s. I do NOT endorse pedophilia.
Punky Starshine: I don’t approve of real-life teacher/student relationships, especially underaged ones, but I really liked the dynamic in Loving Annabelle, because the roles were reversed. Annabelle was the one doing the teaching, even though Simone was the older one, and a teacher by profession. (I also like to pretend it’s a college boarding school when I watch so I don’t feel creepy. Which I think is fine because Erin Kelly was 24 when they filmed it.)
Dara Nai: As much as some people loathe the fictional or IRL teacher-student thing, I don’t mind it so much when the student looks like Erin Kelly and the teacher is Diane Gaidry in Loving Annabelle. A hot pupil sincerely in love with her teacher is much better than a creepster teacher who’s obsessed with another teacher, a la Notes on a Scandal. Ironically, the woman Judi Dench chats up at the end of the movie is named, wait for it, Annabel.
Dana Piccoli: Vivian and Cay from Desert Hearts. Electric and believable.
Ali Davis: I’m going to feel really stupid going back to Desert Hearts because the tension between them is so hot.
Elaine Atwell: May/December relationships don’t typically hold much interest for me, because the power dynamics tend to be either A. A hot young thing shows a tired old fogey how to have a good time or B. A powerful older person teaches an innocent ingenue about life. I prefer relationships where both parties learn from each other. But I have a pretty strict definition of “May/December,” which is: one person is just entering adulthood and the other is passing through middle age; I wouldn’t include Portia and Ellen. With all of that said though, I’m really looking forward to Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska in The Price of Salt adaptation, and I have seen Desert Hearts infinity times.
Jill Gucci: Justin and Brian Kinney on Queer as Folk. Look, I know they’re dudes and hence not what I should be answering, but they are the ULTIMATE. “LOVER’S SPIT” IN BRIAN’S OFFICE FOREVER AND EVER.
Emily Hartl: Sunshine and Brian from Queer as Folk. Remember how we were all NOT cringing when we actually took in the fact that a high schooler was doing it with a 30-year-old man? Because it was awesome. Someone finally caught the wild stallion!
Heather Hogan: While I think Emma is Jane Austen at her very best, Emma’s relationship with Mr. Knightley squicks me out so hard. It’s not just that he was a fully formed adult man when Emma was born; it’s also that he’s the most patronizing twat in all the land. Like, remember how he’s literally all “Badly done, Emma!” all the time. Gross, dude. But my favorite May/December relationship is actually based on Emma and Knightley because Clueless is an adaptation of Emma. So for me, it’s Cher and Josh. Knightley says, “If I loved you less, I could talk about it more.” Cher says:
Oh and this whole Josh and Ty thing was wiggin’ me more than anything. I mean, what was my problem? Ty is my pal, I don’t begrudge her a boyfriend. What does she want with Josh anyway? He dresses funny, he listens to complaint rock, he’s not even cute in a conventional way. I mean, he’s just like this slug that hangs around the house all the time! Ugh! And he’s a hideous dancer, couldn’t take him anywhere … What would he want with Ty? She couldn’t make him happy; Josh needs someone with imagination, someone to take care of him, someone to laugh at his jokes in case he ever makes any … Oh, my god! I love Josh! I’m majorly, totally, butt crazy in love with Josh!
And then they got married. As if! She was only 16, and it was California, not Kentucky!
(You’re still not forgiven for Batgirl, Silverstone.)
(Also, don’t shit talk Jane Austen to me, you guys.)
Lucy Hallowell: Dean Porter and Nadia the eager beaver grad student. Sure Nadia was a little irritating, but Jessica Capshaw is my kryptonite.
Grace Chu: The royal couple themselves: Portia and Ellen. Duh.
Trish Bendix: I loved Sarah Paulson and Cherry Jones together. Talk about a power lesbian couple! That kind of talent in one pairing just wasn’t fair, which is probably why they didn’t work out. But of course, in true lesbian fashion, they’re still friends.
Fess up: Who is your fave older-younger couple?