In defense of May-December marriages

The May-December marriage—one person in the spring of life, the other in winter—is often seen as illustrating everything that’s wrong with American society: Rich old horndogs, interested only in beauty, taking trophy wives interested only in money or fame. Hefner surrounds himself with one nymph after another (sometimes two at a time), each more plastic than the last. Anna Nicole Smith weds an octogenarian billionaire, presumably for the money, only to overdose before she can cash out. Donald Trump trades in Ivana for Marla for Melania.

But is there really anything wrong with May-December marriages? The research is thin, but there’s little evidence that marriages with wide age gaps between partners turn out any worse than marriages between people born around the same time. Presumably, at least some of the time, these arrangements fit each person’s needs better than marrying someone the same age would.