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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Trope-tastic Tuesdays: Silver Fox

Before we get to this installment of Trope-tastic Tuesdays, a quick announcement: the newsletter subscriber bonus is going to be changing in a few weeks, so if you haven't already signed up and received your free copy of Sweet Escape, don't miss your chance! You can use the form that's over there on the sidebar, or this sign-up link.


Trope: Silver Fox

Description: A person—often male, often with gray or white hair—who, despite their age, is still regarded as being attractive and charming. Silver Foxes are distinguished and powerful; after all, being older has its perks. If the Silver Fox is a love interest, the other half of the pair will usually be younger, though it's not required. To qualify for this trope, characters have to play by the rules - they have to *look* older, not just *be* older. No thousand-year-old vampires who look like they're in their 20s allowed, etc.

Allegedly, the female version of the Silver Fox is the Silver Vixen, but I'm going to be honest here, I don't think that idea is nearly as popular, which I'll expand on below.

Examples: Oh, hell, just take your pick of older actors who only seem to get better with age. There definitely isn't a shortage of them.

Pros: None of us are getting any younger, right? It's nice to know that even as we age past what's considered the "standard" ideal of beauty, there's still a chance others will find us attractive. In romance especially, this can be used as a shortcut to help establish a power dynamic, for better or worse. If a Silver Fox is in a relationship with another character, chances are he's not going to be the passive, submissive one.

Cons: Time for the standard disclaimer about how all appearance-based tropes for love interests are highly subjective! Okay, that's out of the way. The aforementioned power dynamics in the "pros" list can also be subjective, and it can veer into problematic territory if the Silver Fox is using his age and assumed privilege to influence his partner to do things she may not really want to do.

I said I'd come back to the gender issue; as much as TV Tropes may try to convince me otherwise, I do feel like this one favors the men, and I'm not sold on the "Silver Vixen" thing. I mean, a good number of the women on their list of examples didn't have gray or white hair. I suppose we could debate whether the "silver" part is supposed to be taken literally or if this is all just about a general persona. Regardless, there's a whole lot to unpack here about how society sees men aging vs. women aging.

(If someone knows the difference between "Silver Vixen" and "Cougar", PLEASE enlighten me.)

Would/Did I Use It?: I do have a few entries for this trope! First up is Colin, one of Celeste's potential love interests in Blazing Justice. He's older than her, he's her boss, and yup, he's got the hair. It's no secret that other women in the office find him attractive, too. Lucky her.

I'm going back and forth on whether Edwin from Closing Montage qualifies. He and Abigail take a trip through the highlights of their lives via virtual reality, so obviously he's an older man by the end, but she's aging, too, so there's no contrast there. Additionally, there's one point where he questions whether she's still attracted to him in his older form (SHE IS!), so his lack of confidence may prevent him from being a true Silver Fox.

Bonus mention of Aras in Out of Orbit - he's over 500 years older than love interest Jasmine. Despite the fact that he may not look so old to her, he's considered to be in the older age range for his species. Plus, since he's the ruler of his planet, he's got the elevated status that contributes to this trope. While he doesn't have any hair, his skin is silvery gray, so I will insist that counts and add him to the end of this list. :D

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