I spent most of the long weekend finishing knitting projects (my own, so I could move onto Christmas Gift Knitting). I knitted while everyone talked on Thanksgiving, I knitted the next day at the laundromat washing the living room rug, I knitted at home in the evenings listening to Brahms or watching the Matrix movies

And, while knitting, I had time to mull over…some things going on in my life. And I had to conclude that the Relationship With an Age Disparity (or the “inappropriate” relationship) had a lot of tradition to back it up. (Not my own tradition; that’s an entirely different post. And probably a lot more knititng.) Consider books sitting on my shelf right now: There’s Jane Eyre, in which Jane is 18 and Rochester 35. There’s Across the River and Into the Trees, in which the lovely Renata is 19 and the Colonel is mid-fifties (universally derided, but Hemingway always said it was the best thing he’d written). There’s Rebecca, there’s Fugitive Pieces
(highly recommended; yes, Dad, I have your copy), there’s even the wholesome and sentimental Little Women, where 26-year-old Jo ends up marrying the 40-ish Friedrich Bhaer.

I’m not sure what I’m proving with this book report, except maybe to say it happens fairly often and sometimes it works (unless your boyfriend is dying, or his country house burns down and he loses his eyesight trying to save his secret first wife, or you have a crazy housekeeper). Maybe I’m saying this, from The Hours: “They could have had a life as searing and potent as literature itself.”

(Unless, of course, you’re in love with a gay man dying from AIDs, like Clarissa in The Hours is. But that’s a different sort of “inappropriate” altogether.)