Stephen Fry and Elliot Spencer Aren't So Crazy...Trust Me

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to comment on how Stephen and Elliot got together, nor on the validity of their relationship. I can however tell you about my relationship with a 55 year old that started when I was 23.

Renowned for his intellect, eloquence and comedic prowess, Stephen Fry is a man loved by the nation; the last decade of his career iconicising him as your friendly household homosexual....and one that could absolutely smash you at Scrabble.

However the 57 year old's unearthed plans to marry 27 year old Elliot Spencer have placed him under the floodlight like never before. The substantial age gap between his future husband and him instantaneously drawing much attention to the topic of age-diverse relationships - that gay marriage debate is so 2 years ago darling.

So what's the deal with this Elliot guy? Is this for real? Can someone that young really be attracted to someone that much older? Well being a 25 year old guy in a loving and committed relationship with a 56 year old guy, maybe I can shed some light on the topic....

Gays v Straights Background: Now We Can Both Marry, But Differences Still Exist

The first thing that struck me when I sashayed my way out of my sports-filled closet at the age of 23, was the breadth of relationships that exist in Homeoland (Netflix Contemporary Thriller series pending).

Whilst not followed by all, "types" is a lot more prevalent a concept in the gay community. Many will happily state their penchant for a bear, twink, otter, daddy, or cub - don't worry, large amounts of Googling helped me too. An increased openness over physical desires has led to a higher percentage of "socially un-normative" relationships - e.g. older-younger - than in heterosexual relationships. This has been supported and sustained by a social acceptance that is likely born from the type of camaraderie you often see in minority cultures.

Now I'm in no way saying that unlikely matches don't happen in heterosexual relationships - the stereotype of a middle-aged man leaving his wife for a 20-something blond thing springs to mind - but at the moment they are less frequent and therefore seem different and strange...because they are different and strange!! [1]

So Is The Age Gap Really So Weird?

Unfortunately I'm not in a position to comment on how Stephen and Elliot got together, nor on the validity of their relationship. I can however tell you about my relationship with a 55 year old that started when I was 23.

Sorry to disappoint, but having dated girls and guys, meeting and dating my boyfriend has been no different to any other relationship I've had. But I guess that's the point. We got together in a fairly standard way - met at squash, few drinks here and there, started to have feelings[2], date, sex, relationship - and just like most couples we have some similar interests - squash, playing cards, making cocktails, gym, Netflix - as well as differences - I play cricket and the clarinet, he likes horror films and The Times.

I'm not denying there are the natural disparities you'd expect - he is at a different stage in his career and does earn more money than I do - however whilst perhaps slightly extenuated it's no different to most "normal" relationships. As with any situation there will be those that do look to take advantage of circumstances [3], but again as with any relationship, if you're open, honest, don't take advantage of the other party, and each is happy, there's no reason for these things to be an issue.


14 months and 2 days after nervously meeting my partner in the pub for our first date, I'm happier than I've ever been in my life - and as far as I know he's not too miffed with our situation either. An age-diverse relationship with a man isn't something I'd ever contemplated in my youth - trust me - however now being in one I understand when people before have said if it fits it fits, and that whilst it's different it doesn't mean that it's wrong. If someone makes you happy then age should be no more an issue than their race, religion or ethnicity. Hopefully others can look past the "strange" factor and simply be pleased for two people that are lucky enough to care for each other.

As such, I wish Stephen and Elliot all the happiness in the world for their upcoming marriage, and I hope you do too.


[1]What will help these oddities become more accepted in straight culture? Well with apps like Tindr that instigate relations on pure physicality, it will be interesting to see whether the protection of the internet helps people start to ignore the fears that often prevent us acting as we truly want.

[2] At the "feelings" phase I did have a big "what the hell am I doing" day or two, but having seen others in diverse relationships by this point and seen that it's actually ok to like someone, I figured "I get on really well with this guy, what's the worst that can happen?"

[3] Interestingly "gold diggers" and attractive women dating sports stars and celebrities are very rarely frowned upon, despite occasionally popping up in magazines and in the media. Often the sexiness of a woman leads to a "well you would if you could" sort of attitude towards the male counterpart.


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