Poor Maggie Gyllenhaal. Poor creaky, decrepit, human fish-oil teaspoon Maggie Gyllenhaal—like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of her life. Last week, the 37-year-old said she was turned down for a role as the romantic foil to a 55-year-old man. Gyllenhaal, it turns out, is too old to be the love interest of someone achingly close to getting a senior citizen’s discount for a haircut at the mall.
But speaking as a woman whose boyfriend is significantly older—I’m 24, he’s 37—I can tell you few Hollywood productions have accurately depicted what it’s like to be in love while juggling a significant age difference. And if the film industry is so invested in getting much younger women to coo at much older men, then maybe they can at least attempt at some realism. Because that’s what’s really weird about this, isn’t it? Not so much that an actress in her 30s is considered “too old” to bed a man in his mid-50s, but that when they do cast significantly junior women to play house with older men, it’s an entirely unrealistic depiction. Have none of these people actually dated someone in a different generation?
Since I have my own affection for crow’s feet and greying temples, my personal life is rife with possible plot devices for May-December romantic movies. Here are some of my faves:
1. An eerily accurate reenactment of my first meeting with my boyfriend, at a summer keg party, where he struggled to stay up later than 11 p.m. and I considered what it would be like to have a man die on top of me.
2. While out for dinner, the male protagonist mentions the impact of Reaganomics on the current state of the U.S. economy; the younger female squints and asks who “Reaganomics” is; the male weeps for the future.
3. During the early months of courtship, the younger female contemplates the likelihood that her boyfriend has a secret family in Vermont. (The movie is mostly footage of her digging through his drawers, looking for signs that he’s actually saddled with twin daughters and a very hot, age-appropriate wife.)
4. Ninety minutes of my boyfriend explaining a tax-free savings account to me.
5. 40 minutes of my boyfriend doing my taxes for me.
6. The older male teaches his new girlfriend how to open a bottle of wine because she’s used to “just tearing the top of the box clean open and going to town on it alongside a can of old cake frosting.”
7. A black-and-white film wherein the male lead tells his wife he thinks that “bae” is short for Beyoncé. The remainder of the film is her considering how she should leave him.
8. The female lead spends the first three-quarters of the movie trying to reconcile her liberal beliefs with her hyper-conservative boyfriend. It ends with her finding out that he used to work for Socialist Worker before getting a job at a bank. (It’s a horror movie but not a very good one.)
Let me know when you’re ready with a script. I’ll be here, waiting for the last of my “good” years to pass me by. Judging by Gyllenhaal’s comments, I’ve got about 15 minutes left before my last f*ckable day arrives.
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