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The Independent Culture
SO KATE Mulvey ("Is she really going out with him?") thinks that the world has gone "wrinkle mad" and there is something wrong with Catherine Zeta Jones (29) going out with my friend Michael Douglas? Well, Michael is 58, the same age as me, and I can quickly solve the mystery as to what Catherine sees in him.

First: Michael is a glamorous, powerful, good-looking man. He is also mega-rich. But then Catherine is a very beautiful young woman and quite well-off in her own right.

Second: nearly all the examples of older men/younger women relationships that Kate Mulvey listed are in showbusiness. Well, people in that industry do tend to go out with each other, mixing as they do in the same circles. It is perfectly natural. What's more, showbusiness people tend to be livelier and stay younger longer. I should know. When I look in the mirror, I don't see a man of 58, I see Peter Stringfellow - with his own hair and teeth, and who looks quite reasonable.

Without being rude, Miss Mulvey's former boyfriend, a writer aged 61, sounds like a bit of a nightmare. But writers are like that - I think they get emotional blockage. People like Michael Douglas and me don't. Kate Mulvey, I see is 32 years of age. That may also explain something. It may be that, having had a relationship with an older man herself, she feels perhaps a little uncomfortable about the idea of rather younger women being in that position instead. It may be that just a little bit of envy is at work here.

Some older men might be a bit crusty. But not all of us. Often we are, like me, gentle, kind, and do our young girlfriends no harm at all. I know that my girlfriend, Lucy Carr, a model and dancer and 23, thinks so. Or maybe she's just wrinkle mad!

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