Toy boy joy: In praise of the younger man

Some critics couldn't resist sneering when it emerged that Sam Taylor-Wood is to marry a man 23 years her junior. But Janet Street-Porter says 'give me youth every time'
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The Independent Online

The patronising headline said it all: "Taylor-Wood, 42, casts leading man, 19, as her husband" – implying that my friend Sam is calling the shots in her relationship. Why do people think that an older women will be able to boss her younger bloke about just because she's been around longer? In my experience it doesn't happen. One of the reasons I've found younger men so attractive is precisely because you can't order them about.

You may be in charge at work, but things are different at home. I've been married to someone 19 years older than me, someone exactly the same age, and my partner of the past 11 years clocks in nine years less than me – and I know what works best: give me youth every time. In between I fell for a couple of really younger men – more than two decades younger, in fact – and the press delighted in referring to them as my "toy boys", as if I'd temporarily lost my mind. I admit, one turned out to be a big mistake, but the other affair was thoroughly delightful until it had run its natural course.

There are plenty of reasons to celebrate younger men. They usually do their own ironing. They know what they are going to wear. They like different music, so your taste gets broadened. So what if they've got weird friends and aren't interested in your old mates from yesteryear? There's nothing but pluses in my opinion. For a start, it keeps me on my toes and stops me moaning too much – which is far too ageing.

Sam Taylor-Wood and Aaron Johnson

Sam, 42, directed Aaron, 19, in her John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy which premiered to rave reviews at the London Film Festival last week. Their engagement was confirmed by Taylor-Wood's spokesman within hours of them being pictured together on the red carpet.

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

Demi, 46, and Ashton, 31, married in 2005 and share an obsession with social networking site Twitter and a cosy relationship with Moore's ex-husband Bruce, 54, with. Ashton has is reportedly pitching a movie idea about their post-modern family set up.

Kylie Minogue and Andres Segura

Kylie, who does not look her 41 years, completes her youthful look with the 10 years her junior Spanish model Andres Segura. In the past, the pop princess has also been engaged to model James Gooding and French actor Olivier Martinez.

Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell

National treasure Barbara, 72, said recently that she had called time on her role as pub landlady Peggy Mitchell EastEnders to spend more time with 'old man' Scott, 46. "He's not getting any younger," she joked.

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins

Susan, 63, and Tim, 51, are in one of Hollywood's most enduring relationships after meeting of the set of baseball movie Bull Durham in 1988. They share a passion for activism and spoke out together against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry

Twice-married Halle Berry, 43, moved on to model Gabriel Aubry, 33, and they have one-year-old daughter. Oscar winner Halle has vowed never to marry again saying she could not predict who she would spend the rest of her life with.

Mira Sorvino and Christopher Backus

Mira, 42, has 14 years on fellow actor husband Christopher who she met at a party in 2003 when he walked into the kitchen looking for cutlery and married in 2004. They have three children together aged four, three and four months.

Geena Davis and Reza Jarrahy

Geena, 53, has it all sewn up with plastic surgeon husband Reza, 38, whom she married in 2001. She already had three marriages under her belt including to The Fly co-star Jeff Goldblum, 57.

Imogen Lillywhite

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