Well, cooking class was a success. As you may know, Matt and I made Italian food on Friday night—we got a gift certificate to the nearby cooking school for our wedding, and since I was able to bundle it up with birthday celebrations, Matt couldn’t say no. Sneaky Brilliant, I know. In anticipation of class, I was plenty anxious about who our cooking partners would be—it was four chefs to a station—so I tried to plan our arrival just right. I wanted to have our pick of the cooking partner litter.
In the end the teacher paired us up, so I needn’t have worried.
We got a great couple. Let’s call them Jerry and Elaine. They were smart, friendly and every time Jerry gave directions, Elaine responded with “Yes, Chef!” a la Gordon Ramsey.
Over the course of the cooking, and then—even better—the eating, we got to know our partners. We traded work stories (they’re both in advertising), travel plans (Matt and I are booking a trip to Croatia!) and Jerry tried to convince Matt of the wonders of the iPad (I was especially grateful on this front since I am totally coveting the new gadget and would like for Matt to be on board with the purchase).
There was only one hiccup, if you can even call it that. Jerry and Elaine have about two decades on us. They have a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old and live in the suburbs. Not that any of that should disqualify our friendship, but obviously it wouldn’t be the same kind of relationship we might have with non-parents who lived around the corner.
I’ve wondered recently about the relationship between age and friendship. Is there one? Part of me loves the idea of having a close friend who’s a bit older and wiser. There’s something poetic about it. (I’m talking more than a decade difference, not a few years.) She could be a mentor, an older sister type, except with no investment in the rest of my family. On the other hand, I could be the tie to her former life, before the children and the suburbs and the 16-hour workdays.
Once we graduate college, does age have any bearing on who our best friends will be? Or, more specifically, can be?
In Friendship: An Expose, author Joseph Epstein talks about his dearest friend, who was 27 years older. “As one grows older, a relatively small difference in age—four years in adolescence, say, ten or twelve in early adulthood—once providing an unpassable obstacle to friendship, seems to matter less and less and then not matter at all. … And yet there remains something to the obvious fact that one’s closest friends are likely to be drawn, at least for many years, from among one’s contemporaries.”
I think Elaine and I could be great friends. Maybe not the call-you-up-to-chat type, but certainly the mutual-fondness-let’s-look-out-for-each-other variety. And Matt took to Jerry too. There could definitely be a couple friendship in our future.
As we gathered our things to leave, I slipped my business card out of my wallet, ready with my big move. But before I could even offer it, Elaine asked for my email. “Oh, here’s my card,” I said. “I’d love to stay in touch!”
Jerry said they loved cooking with us. We traded “lets do it again sometime” farewells, but we didn’t get their contact info, so we shall see if she writes. I hope so.
Do you think age and friendship are related? Have you ever had a close friend who was at least 10 years older or younger than you? How did the friendship come to be? Like I said, I think there’s something romantic—something Good Will Hunting—to the notion of having a confidant who’s not your contemporary, but is it realistic?