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Favorite Tropes: May-December Romance

Amy Leibowitz

It’s September, and for people of all ages that means back to school time. School years can be a source of great memories—passing notes with friends, complaining about the cafeteria food, playing in the band or on the soccer team, and crushing on the hot new teacher. Ah, the pangs of a one-sided love affair in your mind with a favorite instructor.

The best part about fiction is that it has the ability to provide wish fulfillment through fan favorite tropes. May-December romance and hot-for-teacher stories are always popular, perhaps because of the strong feelings they evoke. There’s something compelling about an older, more experienced person taking someone young under her wings. It’s equally fun to watch a fresh-faced young adult drawing an older person out of their shell (or closet, as the case may be). And who can resist the power of a forbidden relationship between teacher and student?

It can be difficult to write about such relationships because in our real-life world, they are tainted by societal norms and the power imbalance created by our social structures. Teacher-student affairs are taboo for a reason. In fiction, we have the chance to level the playing field, creating a scenario where love is possible regardless of how it comes about.

As you stroll down memory lane and recall your own first teacher crush, why not curl up with a good book? You can find both a May-December romance and the sweet love blossoming between a professor and her star pupil in Memoir in the Making by Adrian J. Smith. You can also read a handful of delightful stories of older/younger lovers in the Young Love, Old Hearts anthology.

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