Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Does age matter?

Okay, I'll fess up...I think, looking at our current list of bloggers, that I'm the oldest by, ahem, a few years. I got my first minivan more than 20 years ago when I daresay little Caroline was still in pigtails, pedalling her pink bike with the straw basket in front and the pink streamers flying from the handlebars around the block.

So, being a little longer in the tooth gives me a slightly different perspective on many things...including heroes, for example.

I have been at a swim meet six of the last 21 days--and I'm going to another one this afternoon. This means I've been spending a lot of time looking at male teenaged butts--I'm usually a lane timer, so there's no avoiding the view. If I were a high school girl again, I'm sure I'd be swooning--these are pretty cute guys. But I'm a mom. To me, these are kids.

I was out with a bunch of romance writers at dinner once. Some of them found our waiter very attractive. He was the same age as one of my sons--I wanted to protect the poor baby from these women.

I do vaguely remember, though, when I was a young teen, reading Georgette Heyer and realizing many of her heroes were in their early thirties. That seemed so old! I couldn't think about it or the hero just wouldn't be attractive.

So how do I get around this age thing when I write my heroes? Well, I don't really think about age a lot for the main hero. I love the guys as people, not hunks, and try to get inside their heads. (Yes, I'm sure it's a very romanticized view of what goes on in a male mind, but I do write romance!) And then I try to have some secondary, older guys around, so there's a lot of variety.

What do you all think? Do you pay any attention to a hero's age? Do you just picture him the age you prefer? If you're young, do you like older heroes? If you're older, do you want heroes closer to your age...or are the young ones more attractive? Or does age really not matter at all?


Eve Silver said...

Age isn't important. When I get sucked into a story, I end up picturing the characters as I see them, and if a hero is hot, I picture him as hot. When I was younger, the hero was hot in the context of my age and understanding at the time. As years passed, heroes took on deeper shades and shadows. (Of course, I will now be 29 forever, and so, too, are my heroes frozen in time ...LOL!

Kristina Cook said...

Interesting topic! And while I don't *think* I was with Sally the dinner in question, ogling the waiter, I do remember once waxing on about my lust for Hayden Christensen, and remember Sally's "Ewwww, he's my son's age!" reaction!

When I was a "Tween" (isn't that what they call pre-teens now?), my favorite hero was Rhett Butler, and I pictured him as Clark Gable--so, probably old enough to be my grandfather. Now, I still think Gable as Rhett is HOT, but I also find 21-yr. old Ryan Gosling as Noah Calhoun in The Notebook hot, too. (I can't help but think in terms of movies...sorry!). It's like my mind's eye has always been ageless. I don't care what age a book's hero is--if he's older than me but described as sexy, I imagine a Sean Connery or Colin Firth (yes, he's getting up there!)type in my mind's eye. If he's younger than me and described as sexy, I can picture a Ryan Gosling or Richard Armitage or Hayden Christensen type in my mind's eye.

A handsome man, to me, is a handsome man, whether he's 21 or 51. So I guess it doesn't really matter to me.

But I will say that, now that I've passed the mid-30's mark, I am quite attracted to stories where the hero is YOUNGER than the heroine. Which probably has a lot to do with my own aging and appreciation that there's a lot for an older woman to teach a younger man--not so much the other way around!

Ann Christopher said...

Age doesn't matter, as long at the hero is smart, funny, dynamic, and crazy for the heroine.

Anyone besides me watch SEX & THE CITY? I've spent lots of time trying to figure out which of the women wound up with the best guy (I'm thinking of Samantha's younger actor boyfriend, Smith, and Carrie and Big in particular), but I really think the age doesn't matter. It's all about the guy and how interesting he is, IMHO...


Wendy Roberts said...

I've always been a little partial to an older hero. I find it a real turn off to read about a twenty-five year old man who talks and acts like a savvy and successful forty-five year old. Romance novels of decades ago were particularly guilty of this. However, if the guy's described as hot and sexy in whatever I'm reading, my mind just morphs him into whatever age I'd find him attractive :)

meardaba said...

Honestly, age doesn't matter if he's the right age for the heroine. I'M not the one sleeping with the 50-year-old, she is! As long as the love story is believable, then I'm all for it.

Sally MacKenzie said...

Good point, meardaba! Now, you weren't hinting that 50 is old were you???