Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.
With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.
BLOG: The Age Thing.
Few relationship topics polarise personal opinions like ‘the age thing’. Any ‘May to December’ coupling will expose strong prejudices but for me, the biggest gap is not measured in the years between the individuals, but in the gulf of misunderstanding between the couple and their peers. In Bear Among the Books The romantic leads are a couple with an almost 30 year difference between their ages.
There has been much debate in both the hetero and homosexual worlds about loving relationships where there is a significant age differential between the individuals. Not long ago we saw the varied response to the marriage between Stephen Fry (57) and his partner Elliot Spencer (27). I was not surprised to see so many of their detractors focusing on the assumed negative reasons for the choices of both men. For those embarking on such relationships, the age thing is rarely a factor. For those on the outside however, it will bring the most unseemly prejudices bubbling to the surface. Even the stereotypical labels used to describe those individuals go from barely neutral to downright offensive; Cougar, chaser, trophy wife, jail bait and paedo are all examples.
For those couples who ignore the prejudice they find great happiness and riches in their choice but they are well aware of the challenges too. Many will choose partners close to their own age because they use physical attraction as a primary factor. Others however, in my experience, will choose an older mate for much more pragmatic reasons. First is that if they may seek out an older man who has the most real life experience and the most to teach. Secondly, an older man may be seen as generally more settled in his life and more emotionally stable. some just say that they feel safer with an older man.
So why do some men prefer to take on younger boyfriends? The explanation is simple. Young guys may be inexperienced but they will be eager, enthusiastic, full of energy and life as well as being open to new experiences and, importantly for me, they bring little baggage with them. By this I mean that they will not have picked up too many bad habits or had too many bad experiences.
I could probably write a whole book on this topic but that’s not what a blog post is meant to be. Instead I am going to leave you with a set of points for further thought and discussion. Don’t be surprised if they contradict because of course the only rule is that there are no rules.
Age is a fluid thing. Young boys all become old men.
Culture can play a big part in how the age thing is viewed. Go look up hypergamy.
The biological imperative. Younger women traditionally seek men who can provide the resources necessary for the survival of the family. Men seek younger women who will give birth to the healthiest babies.
In Ancient Greece young boys often partnered older men as lovers and pupils and yet long term homosexual relationships were frowned upon.
Young lovers can be real naturals even without experience.
Some young men find older men physically attractive.
An older man can teach a younger one so much.
There is no guarantee that the older one will die first.
Some people are hot and sexy at any age.
Age really is just a number.
There is somebody out there for everyone
Your values and beliefs are yours. Do not assume that they are the same for others.
Love is ageless.
Arrogance cannot replace experience.
Learn from the best that you can find.
Be the best that you can be.
The heart shows no wrinkles.
Jason grabbed me for a quick but much easier hug than his previous attempt. Again I was really taken aback, and he caught me off guard.
“What was that for?”
“Sorry, should I not have done that? It just seemed like the right thing to do.”
“No, I just wasn’t expecting it.”
Jason looked toward the entrance doors of the library and chuckled. “At least if they were watching I’ve given the others something to tease you about!”
“You cheeky monkey. They will too!”
“Bye, then. See you tomorrow.”
He quickly unlocked his bike and put his helmet on. As he mounted the bike and rode off, I turned to go inside, but I couldn’t help smiling broadly to myself. Of course I walked in to find Jake and Jess standing behind the desk trying hard to look serious. Jake tapped his watch. “What time do you call this?”
Jessica then joined in. “I want a full explanation of your tardiness, as well as any excuse you might have for that awesome display of affection with the hottie outside the front door.”
“Give over, you two; it was just an eventful lunchbreak.”
Jake pretended to be shocked, slapping his hand over his mouth as he gasped. Jess also feigned surprise. “Is that why you were out for so long? When is the wedding?”
“No, no. That’s not what I meant. We just had a quiet lunch at the pub. Completely innocent, I assure you.”
“But you like him, don’t you?” Jake never held back when it came to asking direct questions. In truth I’d not considered how I would answer such a question, but my hesitation was all they needed.
“I knew it,” Jess was quick to comment. “Clearly if that hug outside was anything to go by, he likes you too.”
“You’re reading too much into it and anyway, I’m old enough to be his father.”
“So what?” Jake turned quite serious now. “That’s a very old-fashioned thing to say. Lots of guys like more mature men or women, and maybe you are just what he wants.”
Again, I had no response, and so Jess came out from behind the counter and put a maternal arm around my shoulder. “We might be joking with you, but we’ve hoped for a long time that you might find someone to have some fun with. You are way too nice to be alone, and Colin would never have wanted that for you either.”
I planted a grateful kiss on the top of her head. “What did I ever do to deserve you two?”
Jake started flapping his arms slowly. “We are your library angels.”
“You really are crazy, the pair of you. As for anything between Jason and me, just behave, especially when he’s around.”
“Yes, sir!” They saluted in unison causing me to shake my head and walk off into the library. As I crossed the floor, I was lost in thought. Was anything happening between Jason and me? Could anything happen? Part of me reveled in the idea, but another part was telling me that I was a silly old man and probably quite deluded.
Author T.J. Masters recently and somewhat reluctantly passed his 60th birthday. After a long and happy teaching career T.J. wanted to follow a new path before senility set in. Books and stories have been a lifelong passion and there are many tales waiting to be told.
As a happily partnered gay man T.J. chooses to write what he knows best. His overactive and ever exploring mind is probably best described by the Oscar Wilde quote that “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
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Do you have a favourite May to December couple either fictional or real? Tell us who it is and why by posting in the comments here and I will choose the best one to receive a free copy of one of my previously published short stories.