Magazine article The Spectator

Age Concern

Magazine article The Spectator

Age Concern

Article excerpt

Rougemont

Bob Hope defined old age as the time when the candles cost more than the cake. This Saturday I hit 65, and I've cancelled the cake. In fact, like Henny Youngman's grandmother, I might be turning 65 but I still don't need glasses. I drink straight out of the bottle. This is the bad news. The good is that Carol Iannone, a writer for Taki's Top Drawer, had this to say in last week's New York Press: `Ironically, the attraction of young women to older and often married men may actually be a misguided attempt to capture some degree of this male-female complementariness. Women have always had a tendency to be drawn to men significantly older than themselves, of course, as attested to by certain famous literary couples such as Emma and Mr Knightley, Kitty and Levin, Scarlett and Rhett.' (Whoa, Carol, the poor little Greek boy as Rhett? Why even the saintly Ashley would double over on that one.)

She goes on to say that the age gap is widening to an alarming degree. Young women now go out with men old enough to be their fathers and grandfathers. Which, as I said, is the best news since Bill Clinton caught the clap. `What was once a joke in mediaeval literature is becoming more common in the late modern era.' Hooray for the modern era! For the last couple of decades boys have been brainwashed not to grow to become men, but to become women, ergo the need for the gentlemanly macho type. What self-respecting lady and I do not include 'It' girls - would ever be seen dead with some man wearing a baseball cap backwards and looking androgynous at best? Take my word for it. Women do not like to be free and, always according to Carol Iannone, `to engage in unimpeded self-definition'.

This is where I and others of my ilk come in. My purpose in life is to give a young woman a true sense of worth based on the fulfilment of her nature. The important part is not to play young. Take for example the recent marriage of Nixon Doorman, a man whose chief affairs are buying stocks and selling shares (with apologies to Hilaire Belloc) to Jackie Lane's little girl, 33 years younger than the arthritic groom. The age difference is a mere bagatelle. …

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