“I didn’t want her to feel taken advantage of later on.
I just wanted to hang back and let her be a young woman in the city.” Both women were living in the Bay Area at the time, working as software engineers.
(Both women requested not to be named for this story, to protect the sensitive nature of T’s professional life.) Strangers are always trying to figure out how they’re related.
T has a 5-year-old son; when the whole family is out together, M is sometimes assumed to be the nanny. “As a mixed black woman,” M says, “that plays into [other people’s] assumptions whenever [T] walks into the room.”M finds that when she does get prying age-related questions, they tend to be from straight men, who will openly question her and T’s compatibility.
They joked about their jobs and Dungeons & Dragons.
“I hadn’t had that close a friendship in years, honestly,” Martela adds.”Myles, who recounted the incident during a recent phone call, groans.“You want to put a stake through the guy’s heart.”Myles, 66, has been romantically involved with a number of women a few decades her junior.“We just kind of got each other, a right away thing.Being older, I realize how rare it is to really mesh with somebody like that.” Their friendship inevitably evolved.According to 2014 data compiled by the Williams Institute, 31% of married same-sex female couples have a 5- to 10-year age difference, compared to 21% of married different-sex couples; for 10-plus years, those numbers are 16% and 8%, respectively. While naysayers insist that relationships like Holland Taylor and Sarah Paulson’s don't make them uncomfortable for an explicitly gay reason, significant age differences between lesbians aren’t actually divorced from their queerness at all — these differences are a nontraditional aspect of coupledom borne from queerness itself.Women who date significantly up or significantly down radically subvert heteronormative standards for what’s appropriate when it comes to sex and love.“I’ve been shocked at the audacity of that,” says M.“I don’t go around asking people about their relationships.In the newly released season two of Transparent, there's another distinctly Myles-like older dyke poet character (Myles and Transparent's creator, Jill Soloway, are currently dating), who, when hanging around with a younger woman, deals with an awkward Is-that-your-girlfriend-or-your-daughter mixup.M, a 30-year-old living in Los Angeles with her partner, T, who’s 19 years older, says they also receive some scrutiny when they’re out in public.