Back when my oldest sister was in high school, she had a textbook called THE AGE OF HEROES, referring to the Greek myths.
That's not the sort of age I'm talking about.
I got the Sexiest Man Alive issue of PEOPLE'S magazine recently, and one of the things that struck me immediately was the age of several of the sexiest guys.
Hugh Jackman - 40
Brad Pitt - 44
Daiel Craig - 40
Patrick Dempsey - 42
Johnny Depp - 45
Will Smith - 40
Javier Bardem - 39
George Clooney - 47
Matthew McConaughey - 39
Of course there were several guys who were younger (and I really didn't need the whole scratch-n-sniff thing), but I couldn't help thinking they wouldn't show nearly as many mature women.
And with crow's feet and wrinkles.
Now, I like mature men, so I'm not saying the older guys shouldn't be there. It's the difference between how women are perceived as washed up and over the hill in Hollywood after 30, so much so that not nearly as many get a second sexy act in their forties or later. I was totally, utterly shocked the other day when I caught part of Sunset Boulevard, a movie I've seen many times, to discover that Norma Desmond is in her fifties, not her 70's, as I'd always assumed and somehow missed all these years.
So what about my heroes and heroines? How old are they?
Whatever the age I say they are in my books, in my mind, the men are at least in their 30s, and the women approximately the same.
How come I don't say that in the book? Why make them younger?
Well, for one thing, if I'm doing a medieval, a lot of them would be dead by the time they hit 30 and 40. For another, folks matured faster back then -- they had to. There was none of this teenage coming-of-age stuff. You were considered an adult then, and expected to act like it.
What about later time periods? Again, I'm trying to stick to the societal norms, with marriages at younger ages.
So while my hero may be the same age as Robert Pattison, in my mind he'll act more like a man of 40, and look like one, too.