No Age

Phoebe Maltz has a piece on prof-crushes that I think raises some smart points about the social acceptability of relationships with large age gaps. Meanwhile, the Vulture has a snarky (of course) post on the increasing age of Ashton Kutcher’s co-leading ladies (not to mention his real-life flame, Demi Moore). Anyway, leading off of these pieces, here’s what I wonder: Is age difference going to remain as relevant an issue in relationships as it’s traditionally been? Because it seems to me that, as people live longer, as youth, adolescence, and young adulthood expand and blur together, the traditional age barriers between individuals might disappear. After all, we’ve already seen major shifts over the last few decades in the way age factors into relationship expectations. Go back and look at John Updike’s Rabbit books, for example, in which the characters are all married by their early twenties and deeply concerned by the idea that anyone — especially a woman — would remain single into his or her 30s. These cultural attitudes seem deeply ingrained and permanent during the times in which they’re in effect, but can quickly shift or disappear entirely.