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Home > Culture and Society

Journojism: The real Mrs Robinson

15 June 2005

Anne Bancroft's recent death sparked a flurry of articles about relationships with older women, although Bancroft was only 34 when she played Mrs Robinson. (It proves that then, as now, in Hollywood it was fine for virtual geriatrics to play romantic leads if they happened to be men, but an 'older woman' was one in their mid 30s.)

The Daily Mail loves nice easy concepts like 'the real Mrs Robinson' and set about locating men who'd slept with older women for the article 'Our Mrs Robinson moments'.

Now, you'd have thought it would be fairly easy to find people in relationships with an age difference, and that there's an interesting and relevant article to be written about this fairly common situation.

Nah. Instead the Mail drew on a rather random assortment of the features editor's mates, obscure writers and the semi-famous. The results were precisely as rubbish as you might expect.

First up was writer David Thomas, who, when a recent graduate, slept with a woman in her - gasp - 30s. The age gap, we'll sure you'll agree, was clearly insurmountable. Having revealed that the liaison culminated in him being sick over the hapless woman's bed after drinking too much white wine, Thomas throws in a comment that makes you desperately keen not to explore any of his
other writings:

'I was to love-making what Eddie the Eagle was to ski-jumping,' he quips.

Still, at least he actually had sex with the woman, which is more than can be said for the next contributor, writer Simon Mills. After a long and tedious preamble about the 1970s, Mills reveals that he was sexually fascinated by a girlfriend's mum. This blistering relationship panned out thus:

'After an erotic eternity she turned around and handed me a can [of drink] - her cool hand lingering on mine for a second. Nothing much else happened...'

Gripping stuff. As though not to be outdone in the lameness stakes, the next contributor, Roy Hattersley, managed to relate an even bigger non-experience:

'It [having sex with an older woman] never happened to me. I just played football and cricket. Some people are natural Benjamins [Dustin Hoffman's character in The Graduate]. Some are not.'

Er, so if you've never had a 'Mrs Robinson moment', why the fuck are you being included in the article? It's like writing an article about the experiences of Holocaust survivors and inviting Girls Aloud to add their two, witless, cents.

Finally there was a liaison that had so little to do with Mrs Robinson or The Graduate that the Mail may as well have interviewed Metal Mickey. 'Writer and former comedy actress'

Cherri Gilham revealed that she'd shagged the singer DT, he who unleashed the godawful tune Lovin' It, Lovin' It, Lovin' It on the world. It turns out he was OK in bed, but they didn't have much in common so the brief relationship ended amicably.

Gilham cleverly ends the article by pointing out: 'As the late French chanteuse Edith Piaf would sing, 'Non, je ne regrette rien'. Me neither.'

Great. We're pleased for you Cherri. But we certainly regret something - bothering to read to the end of this non-article.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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