As my favorite fictional hero, Gillibran Brown would say, “I feel a chunter coming on.”
My short story, Wintertide, in the Winter Warmers anthology features two guys who are pretty far apart in age. A couple of reviewers commented on the chances against such a relationship lasting. I totally see their point. “Opposites attract” is probably the most erroneous adage outside of the world of electrically charged bits of metal. In reality, people tend to get along best with those similar to them. Some gay couples take this to the extreme by even looking like they came from the same cloning factory.
However, there are exceptions. To write such a relationship I was inspired by the story of Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood was a British writer who moved to the US before WWII. He published novels and worked in Hollywood. He also was openly gay when homosexuality was even less accepted than it is now.
Isherwood met Bachardy when the latter was sixteen or eighteen (accounts vary) and Isherwood forty-eight. They stayed together for the next thirty-three years until Isherwood’s death. Of course, they had their ups and downs, like everyone else. The story is told in a movie, Chris & Don: A Love Story.
In the end, the May-December relationship in fiction, like several other themes -- rent boys, D/s, etc. -- hits the kinks of some readers, but turns off others. I’m not trying to make anyone like what they don’t, only explaining why it works for me. I have plans for a sequel that would pick up the story maybe six months later.
Since we’re here, I have a few Isherwood related movies to recommend – all with a gay angle, of course.
In 1931 Isherwood went to Berlin “for the boys.” Much later, in the seventies, he wrote about those times and the young German man he fell in love with.
In 2011 the BBC adapted those stories into a TV drama, starring Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame. Christopher and His Kind is an interesting and enjoyable movie that gives a slice of history from a particular angle. It doesn’t exactly have a traditional story arc, but there are a few joyous and unabashed (gay) sex scenes.
Cabaret (1972) is technically the same story, as it is based on the Broadway musical that was adapted from the same stories, however it is a more fictional, more stylized version of them, with a well-rounded story arc. Nonetheless, it still has a sharp bite. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone, even if they don’t like musicals.
Cabaret has a great cast: Michael York, Joel Grey, and Liza Minelli in unarguably the best role of her entire career. Cabaret was directed by the legendary Bob Fosse. It’s one of my all time favorite movies.
A Single Man is a far more recent film, directed by - of all people - fashion designer Tom Ford. It’s an amazing movie, slow but powerful, like an ocean tide. Colin Firth, who is one of my favorite actors anyway, gives a beautifully nuanced performance. By the way, Isherwood wrote the novel about ten years into his relationship with Don Bachardy. They hit a rough patch at the time, it’s the story of Isherwood imagining his life without Don.