I've been having fun reading a ton of contemporary romances featuring buff young things getting it on. But it's time to get real: which means ageless love, with plenty of imperfection, wisdom and fun thrown in. It's romance full of humor, honesty, acceptance and kindness. The sexiest combo I know.
The Heaving Bosoms podcast features different romance novels that best friends Erin and Melody have enjoyed--or just have opinions about. Hysterical, smart opinions.
At Home in Mitford
Movies/TV Shows mentioned:
Something's Gotta Give
Our Souls at Night
Grace and Frankie
State of the Union
Geraldine bags Johnny Depp!! in this Vicar of Dibley special.
This is Confessions of a Closet Romantic, a podcast where I celebrate my love of romantic TV shows, movies, books and talk in detail about why I love them so much. Without embarrassment or shame. Mostly! This is Poppy and in this episode: the Romance of Ageless Love.
Has anyone else noticed that the heroes and heroines of costume dramas seem to be getting younger and younger? Or is it just that I'm getting older and older? Some seem barely out of their teens. Which is probably appropriate for the era of historical romances, but y’all, I'm getting a bit exhausted with these perfect toned bodies and unwrinkled faces.
Oh, I love romances with young hunky alpha guys and petite young cuties with tight behinds that only throw their man’s hulk in relief.
Did I say young? Buff men who can enfold you in their meaty arms, lift you with one Popeye forearm. I mean… double yes? please?
I've been overdosing recently on some fantastic contemporary romance novels with massive powerful perfectly perfect alpha males in law enforcement and the military, and their sweet little love interest pigeons (as the Heaving Bosoms romance podcast calls tiny delicate heroines– if you haven't listened to that podcast yet, you should).
I need something… a bit more real at this point my life. I love looking at a set of a washboard abs – have we established that yet? Like when Ryan Gosling takes off his shirt in Crazy Stupid Love and Emma Stone exhales and says oh my God, you look airbrushed!
It's so much fun, but it's pitched to people with raging hormones. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if I really think about it, different things are more attractive to me now — wisdom, humor, kindness. Like Harry and Erica’s budding friendship turned romance in Something's Gotta Give.
As you grow up, you know yourself better, and you can love better, help your partner unpack their baggage and sort through it— that’s the very definition of romance, to me. One of my all-time favorite romantic tropes: the tortured hero whose heart is unlocked by that special person. Who doesn’t like stories of "everything turns out" romantic perfection?
But sometimes it's nice to see characters older than 29 enjoying romance and sex. With a partner old enough to get their cultural references. Like Steve Carell as the awkward, newly separated dad trying to be Ryan Gosling's wing man in the movie Crazy Stupid Love. It's somewhat silly and cheesy but so adorable.
His performance as the 40-Year-Old Virgin is adorable, too, even though the film is a bit yock yock yock. Directors and writers, please please don't treat sex in our 2nd and 3rd acts as a novelty or joke.
We need representation of healthy sexuality across the spectrum at every point of life in books, TV shows and films— whatever you want with another consenting adult, whenever you want it, however you want it. There’s no sex police. And we don't become invisible once we reach 40 either.
We’ll get back to Diane Keaton and see if she goes for hot young doctor Keanu Reeves a bit later.
Let’s see more characters who go after their bliss and happiness at any point, in any way that's healthy for them.
Our Souls at Night is a quiet, thoughtful film about that idea. It's about two people in the twilight of their years becoming friends and then falling in love—in a really unusual way.
This is how the film …starts. Addie, played by Jane Fonda, is in her 70s. Her stunned widower/neighbor Robert Redford— trying to absorb her proposal— is around 80. Talk about courage and not caring what anyone thinks and the beauty of that!
The gentle unfolding of this plot is like a meditation. Robert Redford and Jane Fonda with all of their joint stiffness, wrinkles and caring honesty on display, are a beautiful sight to see.
The Diane Keaton love affair in the movie Book Club is a fantastic representation of mature romance. The movie stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen as sexy smart powerhouse friends in their third act. They’ve formed a book club and one month they decide to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Most of them are prepared to hate it, but the book and their discussions start to change their lives.
What I love most about the script is that the Diane Keaton character gets a hot relationship with Andy Garcia. He was always a fox but now he's a silver fox—with a paunch and slight double chin. Doesn't matter.
All this past the age of 40—shocker! Their characters are actually closer to 70 and their relationship and healthy desires aren't turned into a cutesy joke. Like how adorable: older people falling in love and having sex!
if you're going to joke, the characters themselves should make the joke. Yo Mama joke rule number one.
Grace and Frankie are the biggest badasses to make it to the TV screen in decades. I love every second of that keepin' it real show.
Which brings us to Nancy Myers and Something's Gotta Give. Okay I love this film so very much — this is the film that stars Jack Nicholson as Harry Sanborn, a hip hop record label exec who's 63 but always going after younger women.
When his latest casual hook up turns out to be Diane Keaton's daughter, Marin, she has opinions. She plays the sexy playwright Erica Berry, who not only intrigues Harry but also attracts Harry's hot young doctor Keanu Reeves.
In case you haven't seen this, I won't spoil the plot twist that brings these enemies to lovers together, but know it’s funny, and Keanu Reeves in this triangle…. whew. I’ve confessed about my crush on Keanu in past episodes, and he’s at his hottest, deepest old soul-ness here.
There is nothing like a Nancy Meyers film for age-positive romance. What I love most about her films, beyond the stunning houses, gourmet food in every scene and snigger-free scripts, is the very real and witty way she explores romance and sex past 40….or even 50.
Yes let's really shake it up. Lets get honest. We don’t have time to waste. But we’ve always got time for good romance,
Let’s blow expectations out of the water: enemies to friends way past the age of 29 , May December romance, cougar romance…so many tropes treated with humor and smarts. Or let’s have any combination we damn well please. Thanks, Nancy Meyers.
Yeah her characters are of a certain socioeconomic status, they're usually gorgeous and seem to have access to a stylist on a daily basis. But they live in a world where people past 39 seek sex, romance and relationship—and find it. It can be scary and messy the older you get, but to me, it’s so much more positive and hopeful then any number of romances with perfect, beautiful young people doing airbrushed, perfect sexy-dirty things.
Here are more recommendations for age-positive representations of romantic love in books and films. I'll link to as many as I can in the show notes.
At Home in Mitford: this is the first book in the Mitford series by Jan Karon which is pretty delightful. it features a middle-aged Episcopal priest in the small town of Mitford, who finds himself is open to love and romance after an attractive divorced writer moves to town and buys the house next door.
The 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion, stars Amanda Root as Anne Elliott, who is persuaded to break off her engagement to naval officer Frederick Wentworth. She's madly in love with him, so it's sad,, but they get a second chance years later, when they're both a bit older and wiser.
It’s Complicated: this Nancy Meyers movie is another don't miss. It's a redemption and reunion romance that is so funny and real.
The Vicar of Dibley is an oldie but a goodie TV sitcom starring Dawn French as the vicar in a small English Village. She seems to be in her 30s, single and up for as much sex and romance as her busy job will allow. When I say up for it, she's drooling for it. She’s completely serious about getting some no matter what, which becomes one of the funniest through line jokes in that show.
State of the Union: this TV show written by Nick Hornby is incredible— it makes me mad that is fairly difficult to stream but if you have a chance to see it, don't miss it. The series is 10, 10-minute episodes starring Chris O'Dowd and Rosamond Pike as a 40-something married couple whose marriage is on the rocks. Each episode is a freewheeling, seemingly improvised discussion about life and their relationship as they wait at the pub across the street for their couples therapy. It might sound sad, but it's Nick Hornby, so instead, it's sharp and funny and clever but deep and eventually hopeful at the same time.
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Find ahow notes with links to what I've been babbling about at confessionsofaclosetromantic.com. You can contact me there or leave a voicemail by clicking the tiny blue microphone at the bottom of the page.
Special shoutout to my listeners in Canada, and Russia. We’re thinking of you, Russia. So nice to have your company…until next time, wishing you shame-free, passionate, age-positive romance!