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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Once more unto the May/December breach

There Are Many Good Reasons to Feel Weird About Mick Jagger Having Another Baby

Aging men have long attempted to ward off the supposed decline of their manliness by dating younger women. Having a younger, tauter, and glossier-haired mate may not actually make them younger, but it’s enough to convince some men that they are immune to the many undesirable side effects of growing older. Others, however, need more. Not content with merely partnering up with someone a half, or a third, their age, these guys go the extra distance and have children with them.

Mick Jagger is the latest in a long list of rich and famous men who have children with much younger women. On December 8, the 73-year-old great-grandfather and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Melanie Hamrick, welcomed a baby boy—Jagger’s eighth. According to sources, Jagger has promised to “provide full support for Hamrick and the baby without formalizing their relationship, with the couple intending to live apart.” (One explanation for this arrangement can be found in the Daily Mail, who claim that Jagger has already moved on from Hamrick with Masha Rudenko, a 27-year-old model.)

This news has been met with a predictable mix of excitement, and even praise for “fertility god”Jagger, along with some necessary critique. The Independent’s Charlotte Gill notes: “The rise of older fathers is the perfect example of behavioural economics in action; rarely do these chaps consider the long-term consequences of having a baby in old age. What impact it will have on their life, their partners, and their offspring.” And the Telegraph’s Judith Woods points out “there is something reckless, if not feckless about fathering a child he almost certainly won’t see into adulthood.” Lest you think Jagger’s critics were all women embittered by living in a world in which May-December relationships remain a source of social and cultural capital for men, the news was also the subject of a disapproving tweet from British journalist Tony Parsons. “Deeply disturbing that Mick Jagger, 73, has had a baby with Melanie Hamrick, 29. How can this possibly work? She's far too old for him,” he tweeted ......

Remember when you were in high school or college, idealist and hopeful, and you were in love with someone who was more or less your equal and your friend? The kind of thing where women marry men as old as their fathers and grandfathers seems to be the antithesis of that to me. Maybe it's the creepy memory of my 60-ish uncle with his teen girlfriend or the creepy memory of the older docs at the hospital where I worked coming on to 20s me, but I just don't get these May/December relationships - they seem more about barter than love.


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