May 012010

I can handle small doses of horror in book form (not movies), but what I really can’t stomach is romance. Take that as a disclaimer. I avoid romance and romance blend genres, including Fantasy-Romance, as much as possible, so I haven’t read the books that contain the concept that I feel like griping about today. And I may need to insert some Sci-Fi-slash-Urban Fantasy Technobabble just to get through this post.

Here’s my Logic:Fail. Character A (let’s say this character is male*) is immortal and has lived a comparatively long time (say a few hundred years (although nobody beats Methos from Highlander at 5000 years)). Character B (female, love interest) is fifteen or sixteen. Not fifty. Not fifteen hundred. Fifteen. A teenager. Yes, like the ones hanging around at the mall. I get that the 200-year-old man is still hunky and feels like he’s young still and all that, but, seriously? I have tried to imagine the most mature, intelligent, capable, driven, and inspirational young teenage women I have known or read about in such a situation (even thinking of someone like Anne Frank or Mary Shelley); I have pondered how desperately and embarrassingly my girlfriends and I, as teenagers, tried to get the attention of boys just a little bit older than us, let alone the crushes we had on some of our much older male teachers and other role models.

Just what could a 200-year-old man possibly fall in love with in a fifteen year old girl? A being who has two centuries’ worth of experience of the world/galaxy/multiverse; of lives that have come and gone; of technologies and world-powers and wars and treaties and opinions and philosophies changing and changing. (Of mitochondria, midochloria, and FTL hyperdrive, of dilithium, gravimetric field displacement, and warp core reactors.) I’m just too cynical to see any innocence in such a “romance”. But I do understand exactly why the story is lapped up by teenagers who daydream about running away with their gorgeous English teacher. But, kids, when you get a little older and wiser and start really thinking about this concept: cue the ew.

(* There seem to be remarkably few 500-year-old women seeking romantic liaisons with a willing Adonis these days, but that’s almost another post.)

Image: Full Moon © Peter Neal, 2006.


Elle Carter Neal

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.

  2 Responses to “Romance for the Aged”

Comments (2)
  1. I am so glad you wrote about this because I agree completely. Let’s face it, if you’re immortal and at least 200, an 18 year old human is going to drive you crazy. I can deal with romance between two immortals but not between an immortal and a mortal. I just don’t buy it. By the time you get to 200 you’re going to be over romance and all it entails, anyway. Hasn’t anyone ever read ‘Gulliver’s Travels? Swift had some immortals in there who were supremely jaded. The last thing they thought about was sex.

    I’m going to include this post in my Favourite Posts Of The Week. Brilliant!

  2. Thank you so much Selma; what an honour!

    I consider myself youthful, but I certainly haven’t kept up with the jargon and interests of Generation Y, let alone Gen Z (as I probably should seeing as I write for this audience, so don’t tell anyone). It’s not your looks or your vigour that determine the circles you would enjoy moving in; it’s your mind. Your interests change from year to year as you age, so even if you’re not aging physically every experience you have changes you and adds to you until you seek more intellectual stimulation. Or maybe I’m being too cerebral about this; perhaps it is just “stimulation” per se that is required and enough of it can silence any restlessness. I know this is one of the reasons some people seem compelled to engage in extreme sports or seek ever more dangerous thrills.

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