The Celebrity Age Gap

As has been widely publicized, Olympian Tom Daley came out as bisexual in a YouTube video with a script reportedly penned by boyfriend Dustin Lance Black.

Like many other celebrity pairs, there is a significant age difference between the two, Tom at age 19 and Dustin at 39. Outside of one rogue pundit using their budding relationship as an excuse to throw the "predator" blanket over the entire gay community, the couple hasn't received much criticism. In fact, they have been applauded for being so open.

Of course, I can recall similar celebrity relationships popping up in the news with comments and mud-flinging galore because of the unique age gap.

One example was Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. Demi, 41 at the time, began dating Ashton, age 25, after meeting at a casual dinner with friends. Their relationship lasted a good 10 years before finally reaching the common conclusion of the celebrity break-up. Never once did the media or stand-up comedians break ranks in demonizing their age difference, portraying Demi as the aged witch, sucking the youth from young, Ashton a-la Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus.

This happened earlier when Cher dated a much younger man; he was 42 years to her 66. See a strange trend? It appears that the life of a celebrity can support a much broader age gap than among us common folk.

Why is that? The theory would be that these odd pairings find a unique bond in their celebrity. Sure, they may be in it to boost each other's careers, but just being a celebrity makes their relationships easier, with more understanding on how such a life functions, while dealing with the masses who fawn over them.

Before Michael Douglas made waves with his oral antics with Catherine Zeta-Jones, you couldn't watch a movie starring Catherine without thinking for a split second about her "grandpa" of a husband -- as dubbed in the jokes of Late Night. By the way, their age difference is a mere 25 years.

These odd age taboos have had time to settle into our culture, and gay relationships are still new to the general public. Soon there will be many gay power couples, with huge age differences walking Oscar's red carpet. Will there then be hyper analytics of whether certain odd pairings of gay celebrities should be together as well?

I have met Dustin Lance Black in passing at social events. I don't claim to know him well, but he is a very charismatic, attractive and talented individual, bewildering anyone he meets as to why he was single (or so we thought). So it comes to me as no surprise that it was love at first sight for Tom Daley, as he said. Maybe their age difference hasn't yet been a huge topic of discussion because Dustin doesn't look old.

However, as a non-celebrity, I find that dating a much younger partner has it's own hurdles. Finding something to talk about outside of the trivialities exclusive to celebrity is a bit difficult, only because your life experiences contrast greatly. For example, making such pop culture references to a 19-year-old as: "I love that song by Marcy Playground," usually garners a reply of, "who?"

"You know, 'Sex and Candy' from 1997."

"Oh, I was 3 when that came out."

Or, say, bringing up Hocus Pocus(released in 1993).

But love is love. On whatever level these two have found a connection, I wish Tom and Dustin the best. And, hey, screw the social bias. Everyone should date whomever they want.