Mind the Gap…

Mind the Gap | Kathy Lette

Best to avoid bedroom botulism!  It’s a truth universally acknowledged that aged rich men attract younger women like flies to a dropped chop. The 89 year old ex F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has just had a baby with his 44 year old girlfriend. Steve Martin was 67 when his 41 year old wife gave birth. Clint Eastwood was 66 when his 31-year-old partner had his seventh. Ronnie Wood was 68 when his paramour, 31 years his junior, delivered twins while Mick Jagger became a father for the eighth time with his 29 year old lover. The lopsided list goes on and on.

Females aged 60-plus, however, often feel we have the sexual magnetism of a half thawed rissole. Women my age feel sure the police are going to put up posters of our mug shots captioned – “Not Wanted; Dead or Alive.”

Plus we must abide by so many rules – no cleavage flashing, no mini skirts, no bingo-wing-revealing shifts… When I suggested a skinny dip with a girlfriend recently, she guffawed. “Are you kidding? I haven’t even gone sleeveless in a decade!” Clearly it’s time we kickstarted a campaign that gives older women the right to Bare Arms.

As a feminist, I’ve always railed against society’s double standards which bestows older men with the sexy ‘silver fox’ sobriquet, while women the same age get labelled ‘old chooks.’ I feel about sexist ageism the way the world feels about baby seal clubbing – it’s inexcusable and atrocious ‒ unless it’s an older woman dating my own son and then I’m, like, “Call the cops!”

Of course, I didn’t know I was a card-carrying phoney until I opened the door to greet my son’s new date and found myself looking into a face as weather-worn as my own. It was then the Grand Canyon-esque gulf between my beliefs and behaviour yawned cavernously before me. There was only one thought on my mind – was she going to date him or adopt him?

“So, where did you two meet?” I asked, thinking, at an auction? Or possibly an archaeological dig?

“At the gym,” the Grande Dame replied, “Your son’s so cute. The kind of cute that makes a woman’s eyes pinwheel.’

‘Yes, it’s called youth,’ I retorted, brusquely. “You do realise that you’re old enough to be his mother?”

‘You’re only as old as the man that you feel,’ she giggled coquettishly – not a pleasant sound from a woman conceived during the days of Aztec Empire.

When she went on to explain the benefits of dating toy boys, I countered, thin lipped, “At least the ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ bit of your wedding vows will take on a much shorter connotation.”

Mind you, this cougar’s long-term health wasn’t a major concern because if she kept preying on my son, I was clearly going to kill her. Where there’s a will, my boy was not going to be in it.

You may think I’m going for Gold in the Hypocrisy Olympics, but I’d be just as horrified if my daughter became romantically entwined with a bloke thirty years her senior.

Yes, equality between the sexes means that women should be allowed to grow old disgracefully, just like Jagger, Ronnie, Bernie, Clint and lascivious co. And yes, dating someone younger makes you feel like a teenager… But is that really a good look on a person who’s contemplating their first incontinence pad?

Age isn’t just a number; it’s the difference between using a feather or a defibrillator in your foreplay. A partner who’s passed their Use-by date can cause a nasty case of bedroom botulism..

I’m pleased to say that my son’s relationship petered out. If he ever again shows an inclination to spend time with a crumbling edifice, I’ll buy him a National Trust membership.

Yes the pasture may be greener on the other side but the point is, you’re probably way too old to get over the fence.

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