Mitt and Maewen

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Tue Sep 19 14:27:23 EDT 2000


On Tue, 19 Sep 2000 08:50:19 -0400 (EDT), Kyla Tornheim wrote:

>On Tue, 19 Sep 2000, Melissa Proffitt wrote:

>> And it's not so much the absolute difference in age as it is the difference
>> in stages of life.
>Precisely! That's why I think it's sketchy for seniors and freshmen (in
>either high school or college) to date--one group's coming in, the other's
>going out, and the knowledge/life experience difference is so great. But
>if both people have graduated from college, 3 years is a piddling little
>difference.

Well, yes.  Or even ten years.
>
>> It's like other immortal characters in fiction, like vampires and
>> Highlander-style immortals.  They almost never act their age, and I'd think
>> living so long should have *some* effect on their personalities.
>Well, except that we can't really judge because we've never seen what
>*growing* old without *looking* or feeling physically old will do to a
>person. It also might be a sort of wanting to feel (mentally) young
>again. Also, one can be friends with people of all ages, and friendship is
>halfway to love.

I'm not doubting that it's *possible*.  I just wonder why it's the only
thing we seem to see when it comes to long-lived or immortal characters.  It
strikes me as a kind of wish-fulfillment: you never have to grow old and
face the physical challenges of aging.  You're always attractive (especially
if you are a vampire of the non-Nosferatu type or Adrian Paul).  You can
have the economic advantages of a long life--sort of a variation on the time
traveler who put a dollar into a savings account and a bazillion years in
the future he's a millionaire.

I can think of a few authors who have considered the other option.  Merriman
Lyon from _The Dark is Rising_ is able to relate to people but is still
obviously an ancient soul--not frivolous.  Katharine Kerr's series about
Deverry has many people living forever and drifting away and just plain
growing up.  And then there are whole races of creatures who live much
longer than humans and who consequently live at a different pace.

The above plaint comes about because I think the idea of the juvenile
immortal is on its way to becoming a cliche.  And, like all cliches, it's
possible to do it well, but in most cases it's used because it's what
everyone expects.  I just think it would be refreshing to consider the
opposite.

>And since you appear to be referring to Angel and Buffy,

Actually, I didn't even think of this.  (Surprising, given the current
discussion.) I was thinking of Anne Rice's Vampire series, in which
practically every mortal who comes in contact with vampire society asks to
be made a vampire because it's so unbelievably cool and glamorous.  We came
late to Buffy, so though we know the basics of what happened with the Angel
storyline, we missed almost all of it.  (I really like Riley.  I like that
he's a good ol' country boy in a lot of ways.  And what a cutie!  Angst is
not appealing to me.)

>I think part of
>that is that she isn't *just* a 16-year-old; she's a 16-year-old who has
>to repeatedly save the world, which will age someone a bit, or at least
>produce an odd maturing effect.

I completely agree.  For one thing, the expectations are different; it's a
given that Buffy's life is not going to be typical no matter that she's
going through the motions of being a teen.  Also, she's on Angel's level
because she has a power that matches his.  It would be different if she were
merely mortal and had a normal life, but Buffy has as much to hide--if for a
different reason--as Angel.  The same thing makes her a good match for
Riley.

Great show, by the way.  It took me a while to convince Jacob the Martial
Arts Snob to watch it.  And for a long time it was on before the kids went
to bed.  But we're hooked now.

Melissa Proffitt
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