Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Praise of midlife love -- is that a thing?

Delivered to my email today from Poets.org, this love poem by Sarah Browning entitled "Praisesong." A contemporary poem about lovers in midlife -- how refreshing. Here are the first seven lines:

"Praisesong" 

by Sarah Browning 
At the coffee shop you love,
white mugs heavy on the table
between us, young baristas—
spiky haired and impatient—
cannot imagine how two people
so old to them can feel so wanton,
coffee growing cold between us,
middle-aged bodies growing hot
under the other’s gaze. Even now, 
Anyone over 40 knows that seeing poems, movies, and romance novels about mature lovers is far too uncommon. Even more rare are romantic narratives in which one partner is a woman in midlife or an older age group. Fiction in which some man over 40 finds a woman in her 30s or 40s who loves him are much easier to find. Is that because it's also more common in real life. Still, I wonder sometimes that perhaps not only do younger people avoid stories about older people in love but older people also don't care to read or see such stories.

Humans like to identify with their fictional heroes and heroines. Is it possible that as much as we in the AARP crowd like to complain about a dearth of stories about people like us that we, too, don't want to identify with lovers over 40? Is it that we don't want to imagine wrinkled bodies in passionate embrace?

I don't see many romance novels marketed to people over 40. On the other hand, I don't look for them regularly, and I wouldn't want to read anything as formulaic as those I read in my youth. When I was young and dumb, I could suspend belief much more easily than I can now.

In any case, the movie and book Our Souls at Night as well as the Netflix series Grace and Frankie are doing well. And I think Nora Roberts may have a few books with older heroines. There was also the series the Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer. I wish she had written more of that series. The women were real and the stories were both poignant and amusing.

My commentary here is based purely on personal observations. I should probably research this topic to see if my intuition proves accurate.

1 comment:

Patricia A. Patton said...

It's funny but I am so much MORE interesting and easier to love now than I was when I was younger. I was interesting then, I believe, but I had a lot of baggage I didn't recognize when it came to love. I know now that I am responsible for my own happiness but that in itself makes it easier to love or share love with someone else. I loved this poem. What a refreshing thought.