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If you ask me...I am flabbergasted that an ancient crone like Gwyneth Paltrow could still be fabulous

Despite being a full 12 months past 39, the beautiful and talented Ms Paltrow remains a useful member of society. How can this be?

If you ask me, I would like to register my amazement at a recent newspaper photograph of the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, captioned: “Still looking fabulous at 40!” In fact, amazement don’t even get near it. I was also astounded, knocked for six and if you were to ask me (for a change) if I was utterly flabbergasted, I’d have to confess I was utterly flabbergasted, too.

A woman, still looking fabulous at 40? At a full 12 months past 39? Who’d have thought it! I bet George Clooney hopes he looks as fabulous at 40, even though he is now 51. I bet Brad Pitt hopes he looks as fabulous at 40, even though he is now 48. And as Daniel Craig has said: “I had my 44th birthday back in March, but I’m still hoping I’ll look as fabulous as Gwyneth when I am 40, and I am also hoping the occasion will be noted with a similar caption expressing surprise. What are the chances, would you say?”

To think, Ms Paltrow was born in 1972 – 1972, when the woolly mammoth was not as extinct as it is now – and yet she isn’t some desiccated, bent-up old crone who is no use to anybody and, consequently, should be tossed aside and then quietly euthanised. She is still going strong! She is still fabulous looking, at 40!

In fact, although I do not know Ms Paltrow personally, my impression is that it is business as usual; that she has absolutely no sense her life should be over in all but name. Indeed, as Sting has said: “Her spirit is amazing, and I certainly hope I have such spirit at 40, even though I’m now 61.”

And where will it lead? To more and more women acting against nature in this way, neither feeling nor appearing done, even though they are 24 months past 38?

“I don’t know,” says Rod Stewart. “All I do know is I admire Ms Paltrow’s bravery. I’m not sure I’ll have such courage at 40, and I say that as a 67-year-old who has been around the block a few times and knows a thing or two. Seriously, I salute her.”