The Third Leader: Old spice

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The Independent Online

More and more women, we report, are marrying younger men. Now it is part of the code of conduct operating in this space never to indulge in sexism, condescension, or stereotypes; nevertheless, I should like to enter a plea on behalf of my more mature peers.

I do, of course, well understand the advantages of the younger husband. He is stronger and more vigorous in the physical department, which is increasingly important in these days when recycling demands at least three separate boxes for the weekly collection.

He does not sigh every time he sits down. He begins sentences with, "Did I ever tell you about..." less often. He can separate whites from coloureds almost instinctively, and cook without ostentatious use of a book and reading spectacles. He looks, generally, less puzzled.

But. Discount, if you will, the older model's malleability, instilled by life's buffets, and the advantages for you in his hearing difficulties; do bear in mind, though, as also revealed by the latest Social Trends report, that his younger rival is almost certainly living with his parents; which, apart from certain problems of overlap and comparison, has negative implications for any future joint property enterprise.

So, women of Britain: think on. Ignore, please, "there's many a good tune played on an old fiddle": that was said by a woman in a book by Samuel Butler, who never married. Joan Collins dispelled one worry when asked about the 32-year age gap in her marriage: "If he dies, he dies." Above all, however, do consider that vital quality, so often overlooked: gratitude.