Janet beamed. "Why, thank you!"
But then, Robert made the mistake of continuing. "I mean, I was kind of surprised by the casting. I was worried about the age difference. You being so much older than I am and all."
Well, that brought her smile down a notch. "Oh."
Oblivious, he continued on. "I was like, are people going to think it's weird that we're together, given the age difference? You know what I mean?"
Janet smiled at him, but it was clear that she was on the defensive. "Believe me, I know that my days of playing Kim MacAfee are over, Joe."
He took this as an invitation to continue. "I know, right? But then my girlfriend pointed out that I should be younger than Janet, because that's why I'm so attracted to her. Because she's so experienced and such a big star, and I'm so young and rich but inexperienced."
I tried to change the subject. "How old is Sutton Foster?" I asked.
"My age," said Jen. "But she played this role ten years ago."
"No, Drowsy was on Broadway about four years ago. Anyway--"
"So I guess I'm okay now with you being so much older than me." Then he scrunched up his nose. "But isn't it strange? What will your kids say?"
Christ! Won't this kid just leave it alone? But he kind of does that, he's like a dog with a bone, At the first rehearsal, he came up to me at the end of the night, and spent twenty minutes telling me how good looking our Man in the Chair is, and how he told his girlfriend how good looking he is and she thought he was weird for thinking how good looking he was, because really, he's so good looking. It was just...I get it. Message received. No need to belabor the point!
Even so, you'd think he'd have enough sense to know that ladies of a certain age don't like being reminded of that fact. Repeatedly. You'd think he'd realize that it may not lead to good actor/actress relations.
Tact is an attribute best served up warm, no matter what the age.