Being in a relationship with someone 15 years older
Written by Luna Ehlers, Cultural Studies scholar and freelance culture writer
15 years old. That's how old I was when I first tasted the extremely sweet Liebfraumilch, and how old I was when I got a crooked turquoise navel piercing. I also think it was at 15 that I was first stopped by the police for - according to them - causing an inappropriate amount of commotion. Besides, 15 years is the life of a Labrador, if you and it are really lucky. And it also happens to be the age difference between my boyfriend and me.
"So what?" you might ask, to which I might reply "well, nothing". But yeah actually. Something. Because it's not without prejudice and raised eyebrows that I reveal the "big" gap. If I had a fiver for every time people spat words like golddigger and cradle robber at me in a roar of laughter, I could finance the dentures my boyfriend will probably need to acquire in a few years' time. That would be very nice, because in our case there isn't much gold to dig - or cradles to rob, for that matter. And in that connection, shall I let you in on a secret as old as the one I share bread and bed with? Actually, there are other reasons to date someone from another decade/century. It's not at all as strange as the common ageist might think.
Granted, in many ways we are incredibly different. I have a perpetually negative bank balance, a shabby grey rented flat and a regular subscription to Tuesday Hangovers. He has a couple of kids, a refurbished house and an ergonomic pillow. As he's nursing his new-found facial wrinkles, I still struggle with the last of my stubborn teenage acne.
But should a pimple and an ergonomic pillow stop us from dating up or down? What happened to the sacred breakdown of identity categories? Now that we're dissolving limiting prejudices about gender, sexuality and ethnicity, perhaps we could also give the ageist ones a woke shake?
Because no, he's not my new "dad"! No, he's not paying my expensive Copenhagen rent! No, he's not sitting in support stockings listening to Eddie Skoller! And no, no, no, I'm not part of his sports car-buying midlife crisis! We're together because we simply like each other. With or without Eddie Skoller and a sports car.
In fact, it's both fun and quite educational to be with someone you don't share a birth year with. He can tell you about where he was when the Berlin Wall fell, about the fabled moviebox and about the time when flannel shirts, greasy hair and Oasis were cool. I keep him updated on the young political activist scene and teach him that you really shouldn't use your index finger to scroll on your phone. Besides, due to age-old clairvoyance - and bad cholesterol - he's done with the antics and so-called "games" of dating life. We therefore only beat each other at home in Bezzerwizzer and Trivial Pursuit, where as the youngest I always start - it's in the rules, what's not to like?
We talk, laugh, argue, shop in Netto and go on trips to Rome. We agree on many things, disagree on even more, just like any other mortal couple - with us, one of us is just closer to death than the other. We embrace each other and the age difference, which in my book is only positive. And hey, didn't "ALT for damerne" just declare that boomers do fuck the best?
Dear everyone, raise your Tinder age preference. It's highly recommended.