Why comedian Dane Cook’s 27-year age gap with Kelsey Taylor is a power imbalance

Comedian Dane Cook, 50, just announced his engagement to his partner, Kelsey Taylor, 23, and the news has officially made everyone uncomfortable and annoyed me.

The couple’s age difference is 27 years. Yes, there’s almost three decades between them – and they’ve been dating since Taylor was 18.

Are you still uncomfortable? Think of an 18 year old girl you know and imagine she is dating a man you know who is in his 40s and you will probably get to that.

I know the argument in defense of their relationship. Love is love, and love has no age.

But is it?

Because the age difference creates an imbalance of power. No matter how you look at Cook’s love story with his fiancée, there is a serious imbalance of power in it. Starting with the fact that when they first started dating, she wasn’t legally allowed to drink in America, and he was a landlord in his 40s.

And to get personal for a second: when I was 19, I dated a guy in my 30s, and I thought it made me mature and cool — but on reflection, he liked me because I was vulnerable and malleable.

I didn’t have enough relationship experience or life experience to have any power in that relationship. I seriously believed this man when he told me that it is normal for guys to turn off their phones when they go to a nightclub. Why? Because I was much younger and was fascinated by the fact that he had his own apartment and a credit card.

Cook’s engagement also created a platform for middle-aged men to comment on things like “any guy in his 50s would love to date a woman in their 20s” and “younger women are better.”

Honestly, if the news of your engagement allows you to show the misogyny of men, then you are probably not on an equal footing.

Cook is a middle-aged man of wealth and fame, and she is a fitness instructor who has gained credibility after meeting Cook. When he first started dating her, she wasn’t even powerful because she was a teenager just out of high school. I mean, it doesn’t feel more like a love story than an absolute fireworks storyline for Taylor Swift. Everything is too good.

Cook didn’t talk much about their age difference, but in 2019, during a speech at Jimmy Kimmel, he joked, “People are like, ‘You’re robbing the cradle.’ I thought, “She hasn’t slept in her cradle for nine years.” Relax.'” And if that statement doesn’t make you sick, it won’t.

Yes, Taylor may be mature for her age, but any adult will tell you that maturity often comes with experience, and how much experience can someone else have before they turn 20? Taylor may be mature, but she doesn’t have the experience or the power, so Cook always has the edge.

It’s also worth noting that an age difference of almost three decades would be significant in any scenario, but it’s also exacerbated by the fact that she’s very early in her 20s and he’s in his 50s. It would still be weird if she were in her 30s. is he over 60? Yes! But at least the woman in the relationship will have a little more experience and financial dependency.

It’s hard to celebrate Cook’s engagement because he’s about to marry a girl he’s been dating since she was a teenager. This is not romance. To be honest, I find it creepy.

To celebrate this would be normalization, and I’m sorry, but I can’t be a part of it. I wish this couple all the best.

But I wish Taylor all the best. I hope she finds something better.

Mary Madigan is a freelance writer.

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