Before you criticise Mick Jagger for dating a 28-year-old woman, try getting old

Do we really think that older people should live according to our expectations, and always stick with someone their own age?

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The Independent Online

Due to bloody feminism and my tendency to harp on about it, I have completely snookered myself with regards to Mick Jagger’s love life. How indeed can I make light-hearted yet snarky comments about Jagger, 71, and his rumoured new squeeze Alicia Rountree, 28, when 56-year old Madonna’s age-defying love life with a string of 25-year-old dancers fills me with glee. Young blood seems to keep Madonna sane, focused and happy.

It’s a bit rich of me to quibble about Jagger’s refusal to grow old with dignity and date age-appropriately, as there’s a good chance that Madonna’s boyfriend, when she’s 80 years old, isn’t born yet. What I thought for many years was me fighting against sexism – against old men dating young women as trophies – was possibly me reinforcing ideas of ageism.

Older people, I suppose I was saying, should be mature, responsible and live appropriately ordered lives. They should grow old, you know, really old – past the age of 45 – with their special forever sweetheart. They shouldn’t dance, smooch, stay out all night and come home with strange phone numbers written on their hands. They shouldn’t change their minds about what they want from life and they definitely should not parade around some bright young thing who keeps them eternally cheered them up.

But when I aged, and saw the cage of “appropriateness” it seemed to lure me towards, I couldn’t help having a re-think. As Joan Collins said about Percy, husband No 5 and 31 years her junior, “Well, if he dies, he dies”.