Monday, August 15, 2011
Several weeks ago someone requested a commentary on age differences. There are no real moral or ethical implications of dating a person older or younger than yourself. Most people do find an attraction to someone a few years older or younger. However, in this email that I received the man was referring to age differences of 10, 20, or 30 years. He is in his sixties and his partner is in his forties.
I have no experience myself with a May-December relationship, but I know several men who are older than me, that if they lived closer to me, I would be all over them. An intelligent, cultured is the type of relationship that I have always wanted. I have no desire to be a gold-digger or a boy-toy (which I am too old for anyway), but to have a mature relationship that is not all about sex (though sex is a consideration in the equation) is the type of relationship I have always desired. Whether the person is older, younger, or the same age as I am, it is the connection of the minds that means more to me.
Yet to the gay community at large, as well as those who were casually acquainted with the couple, Isherwood and Bachardy seemed to live an enviably idyllic existence in their hillside Santa Monica home, where they entertained the leading figures of the world of arts and letters, and the movie stars that Bachardy once sought out for autographs. For all that seeming perfection, Guido Santi and Tina Mascara's loving yet clear-eyed documentary, "Chris & Don: A Love Story," reveals that the couple worked hard and long to achieve their bliss.
Nowhere in this fine, quiet, richly-sourced documentary is the phrase "gay marriage" ever uttered. But then, the relationship at hand spanned three pre-political decades until 1986, when Christopher Isherwood died in L.A. Today, in the same gloriously sunny, cozy Santa Monica cottage they shared, his surviving partner Don Bachardy, a portrait artist, leafs through dozens of often nude sketches made during Isherwood's last days—and even after his death. It seems perfectly natural, and the film includes even more dazzling visual records—photos and color home movies from Venice in the '50s and of mingling with the stars back home (including Igor Stravinsky, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Aldous Huxley, David Hockney, and John Boorman). And in a nice nod to Cabaret, which made Isherwood's fortune, Michael York reads from the author's letters and diaries. Chris and Don met at ages 49 and 18, respectively, on the beach, where Don and his older brother (also gay) were trolling for sugar daddies. Was that so wrong? Their relationship—and this movie—prove otherwise. Boorman comments, "Isherwood had succeeded in cloning himself." To which Bachardy, speaking in the third person, agrees: "It was exactly what the young boy wanted."