Monday, May 10, 2010

Is Romance Fiction ready for a Real Cougar?

With all the sexual liberation going on we are starting to see more 'older woman/younger man' fiction. But are we really going 'all the way'?

Many stories seem cougar-lite at best with a single digit age difference, kind of like calling a size 14 heroine 'BBW'. And, as I have previously mentioned, the women on the covers of Ellora's cave's cougar line look laughably youthful (IMHO cougar doesn't start 'til forty, although urban dictionary suggests 35 and Wikipedia agrees.... and those men don't exactly look like twinks either.)

And the reaction of commenters to Kick-Ass actor Aaron Johnson (19) and pregnant fiance direct Sam Taylor Wood (43) suggest that age-squick is still out there, although anti-sexism is valiantly trying to counteract it.  Especially telling is that notion that being a cougar is only okay if you are ridiculously hot.

When it comes to meaningless sex it seems a young hunk is fine to bed, but a wedding or parenting step-kids or motherhood or still being around when the gal hits 60 still seems a bit much for a mainstream readership, unless the age difference is essentially trivial.  But if this is true, where is the HEA?  Can anyone recommend a true cougar romance novel with a heroine over 40 or an age gap of at least 15 years?

8 comments:

Angie said...

I can't think of any books, but I saw a movie when I was a kid called Forty Carats with a 40-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man. I remember liking it very much, although I haven't seen it in ages.

It's interesting to note that although there's a big hoo-rah about older women and younger men, hardly anyone mentions it when an older man and a younger woman get together, or get married. Sure, there are jokes about dad's trophy wife only a year older than his daughter or whatever, but you can also write a romance where the guy is ten or twenty years older and make it work and have it be accepted without much fuss. And we're used to seeing older leading men paired with very young leading women in movies, such as Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou in DaVinci Code, with a twenty year age gap. Apparently it's only when the women are older that it's an issue. :P

Angie

Ava Quinn said...

I don't know any books with a true age gap like you describe, but if you want to go for major age difference with an older woman, younger man theme; rent Harold and Maude. It's a great story with lots of dark humor and boundary pushing.

Emily Veinglory: said...

I liked Harold and Maude, but it sure isn't an HEA :(

Ava Quinn said...

True. Hopeful, but not happy. Still a great flick imho.

Emily Veinglory: said...

40 Carats looks good, I must check out what it is going for on amazon http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070068/

Emily Veinglory: said...

Bummer, it's not released on DVD

roslynholcomb said...

I guess it's because I have a young son, but I'd be very upset if my 19 yo son hooked up with a woman nearly my age. Of course, I'd be angry if my 19 yo daughter hooked up with a man nearly my age. I'm not big on the whole cougar thing. Not my flavor at all. And I don't see what's liberating about it. I didn't like 19 yo boys when I was 19. Can't imagine being with one now.

Anonymous said...

I do think that the absolute age if the younger partner is something fo an issue--although there is some gender bias to the degree of outrage should there also.