Raging Romantics

Raging Romantics

#5: Silver foxes and romance heroes, oh my!

November 08, 2020

"Mr. Rochester was about forty, and this governess not twenty; and you see, when gentlemen of his age fall in love with girls, they are often like as if they were bewitched." (Jane Eyre, chapter XXXVI)

In this episode, Jackie and Jen explore how older men (aka, "silver foxes") are portrayed in romance novels; why are they so popular, and why does it seem like no one cares that these older men are engaging in relationships with much younger women? What's the psychology behind this? And why are women authors continuing to play into this trope with their plots? Sound off in the comments after listening; do you think that we should get rid of age gaps in romance?


TW: Discussions of rape and domestic violence; cheating, questionable consent, age of consent, "daddy issues," divorce, teacher-student "relationships"


Terms and definitions:

  • Age-gap romance: a romance where there is a big difference in age between two (or more) lovers

  • Daddy issues: "A father complex develops when a person has a poor relationship with his or her father. The need for approval, support, love and understanding progresses into adulthood, and it may result in bad decisions with relationships." (Perspectives Counseling, 2019)

  • BDSM- "sexual preferences and behaviors involving physical restraints, an unequal power relationship, or pain, including the practice of bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadomasochism, etc." (dictionary.com, 2020)

  • Insta-love: When two characters instantly fall in love with each other (Thanet writers, 2020)

  • Insta-lust: Similar to insta-love, however with this the characters fall instantly in lust with each other

  • HEA: Happily Ever After

  • "Classic" romance: May or may not contact sex, explicit or not, and focus specifically on the development of the relationship between the characters

  • "Erotic" romance: We see the development of a romantic relationship through sex; the sex is implicit and key to the development of the relationship and of the story

  • "Erotica:" features a story which is primarily about the sex and less so about the development of a relationship; no HEA necessarily, and the sexual journey influences the character's growth and development ("Gay Romance: Erotic?" Elaine Cox, 2020)

Books read/mentioned