SNP’s word of the day: Gerontophilia

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett
Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Gerontophilia

Meaning: A sexual preference toward the elderly.

Usage: “In sheer chronological terms, gerontophiles are perhaps better thought of as being closer to necrophiles than cougar-hunters.” [Slate]

You should know it because: gerontophilia was not enough for Crystal Harris, the mid-20s SuperBunny who broke off her engagement to 85-year-old Hugh Hefner in June. Of course Hef, as soon-coming NBC show The Playboy Club is likely to demonstrate, has never experienced any shortage of gerontophiliacs. Even if in his case, those might just be synonymous with gold-diggers. (I ain’t sayin’; I’m just guessin’.)

I found out about The Playboy Club via fem-hero Gloria Steinem, who is duly unimpressed and saying so to the press. Her reasons are mainly the usual [link]. It’s also creepy and deeply unfair-seeming that while the Hef gets older his mates stay the same age. Same could be said of many a rich geezer. But it says something about us, too, that if a girl dates an old dude we think it must be for the money (see: Anna Nicole Smith) and he must be disgusting. If we assume instead that girls can be just as all-about-sex as guys are, then who knows? It might be genuine gerontophilia. I mean, I don’t see my crush on Hugh Laurie dying any time soon….

One of my favourite movies in high school (which means it’s my favourite forever) is Harold and Maude. Harold, the shy and faux-suicidal teen, falls improbably for Maude, a sensuous granny type. It’s not gross but strange-sweet and a significant (if fictional, but so what?) incentive to stay limber. Maybe you’re only as old as your lover, after all.

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