Pop Culture Junkette

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Age: Not Just a Number

Last week headlines blared that Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan got into a big fight at some Hollywood hotspot (I can't even remember which one), apparently because Lindsay was annoyed that Jessica was trying to get with Lindsay's new boyfriend, direction Brett Ratner. The story ran on the cover of venerable publications such as U.S. Weekly, and was picked up by countless media outlets.

What has been shockingly absent throughout the reportage of this incident is any commentary that Lindsay, at age 19, is dating a 37 year old (Ratner). That's just gross! Of course, this follows a disturbing trend of teenagers dating older men, including Ashley Olson (then 18) and restaurant/nightclub owner Scott Sartiano (then 30), Nicky Hilton and Todd Andrew Meister (although when she married him she was 20 and he was 33, it has been said they were dating from when she was 15, putting him at 28--the marriage was quickly annulled), Lindsay Lohan (again, 19) and Jared Leto (34) and Lindsay Lohan (then 17--sensing a pattern here?) and Wilmer Valderrama (24).

I read a lot of celebrity gossip, and yet I have seen almost nothing discussing the fact that grown men are dating teenagers. Sure, Hollywood is supposed to be a different world, but no matter how mature these teens are (and it doesn't really seem they are all that mature at all), they shouldn't be dating men ten to twenty years older than they are. Imagine if you were at a work social and your pushing 40 co-worker was a little late because he had to drop by the local high school to pick up his girlfriend who was in her senior year? Would this be considered at all acceptable?

Of course not. Interestingly, one celebrity (and I use that term lightly--we are entering the D-List) has been getting a good bit of heat for dating someone a good bit younger. Chad Michael Murray, who stars in a WB show called "One Tree Hill" (which I don't even watch) is 25 and has just become engaged to an 18 year old extra from the show who is still in high school. The tabloids have been screaming about the age difference and about the fact that they started dating when she was still 17. But how is this any different from Lindsay and Wilmer? And please note that Lindsay and Wilmer was the least egregious example on my list above.

In the end, there is just no way that a 19 year old is at the same point in her life as a 37 year old. Regardless of her life experience (in Lohan's case anorexia, cocaine use, endless partying) she can't be in the same place as someone who is 37. And someone who is 37 who chooses to date a clearly troubled 19 year old is questionable, to say the least.

I would think that at least one magazine would pick up this angle of the story and run with it. Instead I guess everyone agrees that men over 30 dating teenagers is perfectly fine.


Blogger Laura Holt said...

I think the ick factor of the Chad Michael Murray relationship is only getting play because (1) this is the SECOND One Tree Hill castmember he's married (the first one lasted what . . . 5 months?) upping the skeeve factor considerably and (2) rampant rumors that she was pregnant at the time of engagement but no longer is (which, so sad.)

I totally agree that this trend is gross, and have been equally surprised by the pass that it's getting in the tabloids. Just to add to the fun of counting, you left off your list two of my "favorite" recent old-guy/teen hook-ups: Bruce Willis/Lindsay Lohan (looking for a daddy figure much?) and the tabloid friendly Nick Lachey/Kristin Cavalleri (which I don't think actually existed outside the Ivy and the pages of US Weekly).

4/24/2006 2:07 PM  
Blogger Red Fraggle said...

Yes, you are definitely right on both the Lohan/Willis and Lachey/Cavalleri pairings. I didn't include them because I was never quite sure they were real. But if so...gross!

As for Chad, I agree with you. I think that a lot of it is also that his first wife (Sophia Bush) was considered a victim in the sitution, because Chad was cheating on her throughout their courtship and marriage (and to add insult to injury, one of his affairs was with Paris Hilton). So he is not all that popular right now.

And the abortion rumors don't help.

Ick, ick, ick to all of it.

4/24/2006 2:12 PM  

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