And is an age gap is an impossible thing to navigate?
On the first day of teaching at university my tutor had the whole year sit in a ring on the floor (it was a drama class, go figure) and say an interesting or unusual fact about ourselves. We went around the circle, hearing variations on a theme: I went travelling on my gap year, I’m scared of spiders, my favourite film is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. When it came to my turn I didn’t think much about my answer, but adhering to the ‘interesting and unusual’ request I went with ‘my boyfriend is older than my dad.’
What it actually got was a sharp intake of breath and a very wide berth from everyone on my course for the rest of the term. In retrospect, maybe it wasn’t the smartest thing I’d ever done. But who knew a room full of arts students could be so easily shocked?
When you’re young and naive it’s easy to assume that the older party is taking advantage of the younger one. Perhaps there is an element of that: the confidence and dominance of someone much older than you is reassuring and attractive when you’re a confused teenager, but to reduce a relationship to the age gap is, I think, short sighted.