Advertisements
Call Mooney with her husband Robin Allison-Smith, who is 17 years her junior

As if I didn't test the President of Brazil enough for crimes against nature and humanity, his latest proof of oafish stupidity – rejecting a $ 22 million offer or help from the G7 to fight the fires raging through the Amazon – confirms him as a disgrace to his country.

Advertisements

Not only that, but surely President Macron is right when he suggests that Brazilian women will be ashamed or their leader for his crass approval or a tweet mocking Brigitte Macron's age.

It was one of his macho supporters who posted on social media a less than flattering picture of Mrs. Macron, 66, and her husband, beside one of Brazil's first lady, 37-year-old Michelle Bolsonaro, with her husband smirking behind her.

The caption says: "Now you understand why Macron is persecuting Bolsonaro?" Then the far-right Brazilian leader replied: "Do not humiliate the guy, ha ha." The meaning is clear – President Macron, 41, should be pitied for being married to a woman 25 years his senior, while Bolsonaro is top dog for having hooked a hottie 27 years younger than him.

Sexist and ageist? Of course. Extraordinarily rude – as Macron has said? For sure. Boorish, witless, coarse and pig ignorant? All that.

But oh, how incredibly unstylish, too.

Call Mooney with her husband Robin Allison-Smith, who is 17 years her junior

Advertisements

Call Mooney with her husband Robin Allison-Smith, who is 17 years her junior

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Macron, who is 25 years his senior, at the Elysee Palace in August

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Macron, who is 25 years his senior, at the Elysee Palace in August

French President Emmanuel Macron with his wife Brigitte Macron, who is 25 years his senior, at the Elysee Palace in August

Brazilian women are famous for their style – and currently their level of education is greater than that of men, with 53 per cent in university.

So I hope they let their calling leader know the antediluvian attitudes displayed by him and his supporters are just embarrassing.

That rather annoying 'Girl from Ipanema' once shimmied along, 'young and lovely', making men sigh with longing – but now the stunning Woman from Ipanema is striding to warn them not to be such trivial wimps.

We are all accustomed to seeing pictures or people like Bolsonaro, 64: rich, powerful, and successful with their much younger wives.

Advertisements

Proudly, they show off their beautiful partners – classic 'arm candy' which (let's face it) might not have come their way had they been ordinary blokes.

Personally, I avoid judgments about age. Let people love whomever they wish, I say — because it's hard to avoid a certain cynicism when an incredibly unattractive, rich, 60-something guy is snapped with his obligatory, beautiful, Eastern European accessory. Of course, she may well have a PhD in nuclear physics, but most of us doubt why she's wearing those diamonds.

But never mind that cliché or younger woman with older man – what about the magnificent older females who don't give a damn about a number on a birth certificate? I celebrate beautiful, elegant, intelligent, confident Brigitte Macron, who captivated the heart and mind of a bright, handsome schoolboy years ago (and by the way, no impropriety has ever been suggested) and is now at his side as First Lady of France.

Adored and adoring, Mrs Macron represents the best of sophisticated French womanhood. And I wish fashionistas would stop criticizing the length of her skirts. Have you seen the elegant, shapely, toned legs? Let older women wear skirts as short as they please – and bikinis, too. We can do what the hell we like.

I would say all this, wouldn't I? In 2006, a few days before my 60th birthday, my second husband asked me to marry him. He was 43. We married the following year, a couple of weeks before Emmanuel Macron married Brigitte Trogneux. All lives are private and complicated, but I hazard a guess that both were marrying a promised friend and mentor, something they never imagined could actually happen. My husband gained two step children; Macron three. Toutes nos félicitations. . . Comme nous sommes heureux!

Advertisements

I would be dishonest if I said that the 17-year age gap never crossed my mind. Or course it did – for the simple reason that I knew marrying me made it unlikely that he would ever have children or his own, and it worried me.

This is the terrible unfairness of nature: one can go on fathering children in their dotage while we wave goodbye to our fertility once the dreaded menopause kicks in.

Not that I would have wanted any more children – heaven forbid! – and Robin said he didn't care. Since that time, if the subject of an age gap comes up, we usually end up laughing. Because (vanity statement alert here) is the truth, he can't imagine why any man wouldn't want to share a life with somebody like me.

There's plenty of life in the old gal yet – so who cares what's on our respective birth certificates?

The term "cougar" has always made me smile. It has come to mean an older woman who is primarily attracted to and may have a sexual relationship with significantly younger men.

Advertisements

Although precise ages vary, in general, the woman is 35 years or older, the man is more than eight years her junior.

Of course, the cougar is also known as a mountain lion, puma or panther – a beautiful, fearsome big cat that purrs when pleased, hisses its warnings, and is lethal in pursuit. Sounds about right…

The founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet (54) has recently had a baby (by surrogacy) with her photographer partner Erik Torstensson (38)

The founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet (54) has recently had a baby (by surrogacy) with her photographer partner Erik Torstensson (38)

The founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet (54) has recently had a baby (by surrogacy) with her photographer partner Erik Torstensson (38)

Actress Joanna Lumley (73) is eight years older than her husband, the composer Stephen Barlow

Actress Joanna Lumley (73) is eight years older than her husband, the composer Stephen Barlow

Advertisements

Actress Joanna Lumley (73) is eight years older than her husband, the composer Stephen Barlow

Strictly's Tess Daly is 50 years older than her husband Vernon Kay

Strictly's Tess Daly is 50 years older than her husband Vernon Kay

Strictly's Tess Daly is 50 – five years older than her husband Vernon Kay

Was that how the artist and director Sam Taylor-Wood (now 52) felt when she first set eyes on the young actor Aaron Johnson (now 29)? Or course not. No self-respecting women would think of herself as predatory – although some women, just like some people, are only attracted to younger people.

Is it any surprise that a nervous young actor should fall for a powerful, creative, charismatic older woman (strong and brave too, having survived cancer) with confidence to hold his whole life in the palm of her hand? They now have two daughters and (to me) epitomic courage and 'cool'.

Fabulous older women attract men who have no interest in age … or ageism, or sexism.

The founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet (54) has recently had a baby (by surrogacy) with her photographer partner Erik Torstensson (38).

Actress Joanna Lumley (73) is eight years older than her husband, the composer Stephen Barlow. Strictly's Tess Daly is 50 – five years older than her husband Vernon Kay, while Hollywood actress Julianne Moore (58) is nine years older than husband film director husband Bart Freundlich.

There is a 12-year age gap between TV presenter Caroline Quentin (59) and her husband Sam Farmer and a 13-year gap between fitness guru Rosemary Conley (72) and her husband Mike Rimmington. So what? Tell corny, horny old Bolsonaro the world has moved on.

Our men have no interest in the 'younger model' idea – because they don't judge women on looks and know a few wrinkles are the sign of a full, rich life well lived.

There is a 13-year gap between fitness guru Rosemary Conley (72) and her husband Mike Rimmington
Advertisements

There is a 13-year gap between fitness guru Rosemary Conley (72) and her husband Mike Rimmington

There is a 13-year gap between fitness guru Rosemary Conley (72) and her husband Mike Rimmington

There is a 23-year gap between Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

There is a 23-year gap between Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

There is a 23-year gap between Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson

They realize there are few things more alluring than the glow of a woman confident within her own skin.

Advertisements

Our men prize personality, brains and experience. They may well be prepared to choose love and respect for fertility if we can't have their babies – but will gladly take us with any baggage (including kids from a previous partner) we may have.

Congratulations, Monsieur Macron, on your impeccable taste!

And what if the older woman happens to be the breadwinner? Then our devoted people will give us maximum support.

I am proud to tell you that (at the age of 72) I would find it much harder to continue with my career as a busy journalist, author and the Mail's advice columnist were it not for the strong presence of the man who will change a grandchild's nappy with as much skill as he can rebuild a motorcycle. It would be dishonest of me not to admit that older women with younger people tend to fear losing their looks – I mean, just that little bit more.

I was very pleased when my husband went gray, whereas I had my hair colored every two months. It evens us up – for, to put it simply, I don't want to seem like his mother.

Advertisements

Vanity is no crime – and I firmly believe that women my age can make themselves feel better in general (even if their partners are older) by taking care of themselves.

Like many women, I will buy a face cream that promises to plump out my wrinkles, only to replace it a couple of weeks later by another which offers the radiance of a 20-year-old. Hope springs eternal in the mature breast. I would not be more concerned about being with my looks than I would be fib about my years.

Caroline Quentinat with husband Sam Farmer, 12 years her junior, at the Costa Book Awards 2015

Caroline Quentinat with husband Sam Farmer, 12 years her junior, at the Costa Book Awards 2015

Caroline Quentinat with husband Sam Farmer, 12 years her junior, at the Costa Book Awards 2015

Why would you want to? For a start, all lies lead down tortuous paths, and I don't think it's worth it. I once knew a woman who started an affair with a much younger man, but song about her age. All years long without him finding out and she was always petrified she would let something slip which would reveal the truth – like how old she was when the first child was born.

What kind of deep relationship can a child be founded on such a sad deception? When at last he did find out. . . guess what? He didn't want her any more. Was it because he was as shallow as he always seemed? Or maybe he judged her as dishonest, as well as too needy to attract him any more?

For all my talk of the uber-confidence of the older woman, a huge age difference can leave a woman feeling vulnerable. I am sure Madame Macron momentarily felt downcast when she heard about the nasty, silly Brazilian jibe. It would have made me feel insecure as well as furious.

But we super-broads don't stay down for long. How can we – when life is short and there is so much to do, with our terrific husbands by our side? President Macron said that his beautiful Brigitte is essential to his life, and if he isn't counting months or years why should anybody else?

One day, I sighed and complained to Robin about having wrinkles. Truth is – I wanted him to deny they are there, or at least proclaim that he doesn't see them. Instead he grinned and said: "I love your wrinkles."

This older wife knows who I am today is the total of so much knowledge, joy and pain accumulated since 1946 and that all glorious experience shows in my face and body. And I am proud of every single year that brought me to this happy place.

(tagsToTranslate) dailymail (t) debate (t) brigitte-macron (t) brazil (t) emmanuel-macron