Brian Edwards Media

What Silvio Berlusconi, Hugh Hefner, Rodney Hide, Brian Edwards and 20 Other (named) well-known Kiwi men have in common – and it ain’t pretty!


I recently contributed a chapter to a book called Loving All Of It – Eminent New Zealanders Write About Growing Old. Gordon McLauchlan edited this collection of essays by 11 women and 21 men, all over the age of 65. It’s a wonderful book, full of humour and the insight into the twists and turns, the ironies and contradictions  of life that perhaps only old age can bring. Or maybe ‘getting older’, for whatever year appears on their birth certificates, none of these writers has reached ‘old age’, none of them is old. Invite any six to a dinner party and you would be guaranteed a wonderful evening of stimulating conversation, passionate debate, brilliant storytelling, side-splitting humour and, quite possibly, the heated exchange of opposing views. What defines these 32 Supergold card-holders is that they are gloriously alive.

A quite different view of aging was provided by Sunday Star Times columnist Rosermary McLeod yesterday. In a piece entitled In Praise of Older Men? Not Likely she offers as reality a caricature of older men, so sick and jaundiced that one can only wonder what life experiences have drawn her to these conclusions.

Her concentration is on the physical unattractiveness of older men, their geriatric self-delusion in imagining themselves still appealing to younger women, their pathetic attempts to retain or revive their fading libidos. Equating ‘older men’ with ‘dirty old men’, McLeod chooses as representative of the species: 74-year-old Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 84-year-old Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner and, one might have thought prematurely, 51-year-old New Zealand politician, Rodney Hide. 

On Berlusconi: ’74 and showing every minute of it; gets pretty girls into his cot only because he’s very, very, very rich and because they can shut their eyes.’

On Hefner: ‘Doddering; musters women with gifts of money, and surely pays them to say how fabulous he is in bed.’ (‘surely’?)

On Rodney Hide: ‘I don’t want to think about Rodney Hide, but there he was last week, announcing that his much-younger partner is going to have their baby, and modelling a pair of baby bootees on his digits. Hide is 53, his partner 21 years younger….  And I wish them well. Really I do. But I will never understand their chemistry. They talk about older women as cougars; well, older men are possibly labradors, amiable scavengers and a bit slobbery.’

On the Archbishop of Canterbury who will marry William and Kate next year and: ‘whose wild facial hair makes him resemble a benign prawn.’

And on older men in general: ‘paunchy partner takes off for younger pastures… shacked up with a slip of a girl, dandling what should be their grandchildren on their arthritic knees… seen jogging, sweatily… they take up fitness for the first time in their lives, like Rodney did after his life-changing stint on Dancing With The Stars… newly single older men’s hair takes on a sudden strange yellow or reddish tint, or they shave themselves quite bald to hide their real baldness as Rodney does, and no female under the age of 30 is suddenly safe from their rusty moves… a man old enough to be her father then struck her as – what ? Sexy? In a tatty bathrobe in the morning? In a white singlet watching telly?…. You know all about older men nowadays because of those ads promising a ‘no obligation chat’ about  – oh, little things like erectile problems, premature ejaculation, testosterone replacement  (intriguing, that), low libido and general trivia… most likely the bloke is swallowing these products in an attempt to impress a woman half his age…’

Well, there we are. That’s us. You ‘know all about us nowadays’ because of the Viagra ads in the paper and the Cialis ads on the telly. What vile, disgusting, faithless, dribbling, doddering, sweating, slobbery, paunchy, balding, impotent, Viagra-swilling,  self-deluded creatures we are in our tatty bathrobes and white singlets watching telly and scratching our balls (which Rosermary forgot to mention).  And, if only in fairness to Rodney, whom Rosemary wishes well but has nonetheless singled out as her best/worst New Zealand example of the older man species, here are the names of the 21 older men in Gordon’s book:

Barry Brickell, Bernard Brown, Bob Harvey, Brian Edwards, Bruce Slane, Elric Hooper, Erik Olsen, Gordon McLauchlan, Hamish Keith, John Coley, Max Cryer, Mervyn Cull, Merwyn Norrish, Michael Corbalis, Ranganui Walker, Raymond Columbus, Rhys Jones, Robin Charteris, Rodney Walshe, Rodney Wilson, Wilson Whineray.

Who’d have thought it? And people like that have the effrontery not only to be ‘older men’, but to write about it and use their real names. Shameless!

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  1. I assume at this dinner party of yours, after all the “pants wetting humour”, it’s “throw the car keys into the middle of the floor and take your partners for geriatric bonking.”

    • I assume at this dinner party of yours, after all the “pants wetting humour”, it’s “throw the car keys into the middle of the floor and take your partners for geriatric bonking.”

      I knew I’d regret using ‘pants-wetting’ – much too provocative. So I’m going to change it, to deny others the satisfaction of sniggering. And no, there’ll be cheese and biscuits and a liqueur for them as wants one.

  2. It’s is most good that you take out “pants-wetting”. I was beginning to think that collective incontinence would ruin a perfectly good evening of revelry and ribaldry. As you get older, you must be careful not to laugh too long and too hard, because “accidents” can happen.

  3. Presumably, Rosemary McLeod has the time to write about her peers, because unlike the fortunate women she mentions, she too is in the same position as the older men she is writing about.

  4. As an older woman, I say that Rosemary has a point , older men just ain’t sexy. They don’t even have that lovely male scent about them that a younger guy has _ their skin smells sort of old.
    Now I need a cup of tea and a lie down.

    • As an older woman, I say that Rosemary has a point , older men just ain’t sexy. They don’t even have that lovely male scent about them that a younger guy has _ their skin smells sort of old.

      George Clooney?

  5. When it comes to Rosemary McLeod’s columns I usually find myself loving it or hating it. Whenever she returns to this theme (one of her favourites) invariably I find myself hating it. It started for me many years ago when she used a column to absolutely trash Paul McCartney, as far as I could tell for no other reason than that he had got older. For some reason the fact that at the time he was still rather youthful looking seemed to only amplify Rosemary’s ire. I just don’t get it at all.

    Strangely, I am not usually a love it or hate it type of person. Usually when I hear a prediction that I am either going to love something or hate it that turns out to be a surefire indicator that I’ll actually be torn between both sides of a story.

  6. This is one of Rosemary’s favourite memes. At least twice a year she writes about how revolted she feels about older men hooking up with young women. She has really let loose this time -maybe it’s a last gasp before she gives up her resentment at getting old. Hopefully she doesn’t have to endure the company of men in her age group. (about 60 I think)

    • This is one of Rosemary’s favourite memes. At least twice a year she writes about how revolted she feels about older men hooking up with young women.

      As it happens, I’ve known several very attractive women in their late 20’s, early 30’s who’ve entered into relationships with considerable older and very rich men. It seemed to me that what was involved here was a contract of sorts – the men enjoyed what they saw as the advantages of having a younger partner, both social and sexual, and the women enjoyed the material advantages (cars, clothes, travel, fine dining…) of the high life. Eacn was, in a sense, exploiting the other, but since the exploitaton was voluntary and mutual, it seemed to me that this was no-one’s business but theirs. In at least one of these cases, the relationship came to be characterised by genuine affection. After they separated, neither would hear a bad word about the other.

  7. I’m with lettice. Milk, no sugar thanks. :o)

  8. It is only natural that older men have about as much sex appeal as a high speed traffic accident to most young women. Mother nature doesn’t like stale sperm with all its genetic mutations producing defective offspring.

  9. Never having responded to anything in the press this article realy pushed my buttons.
    First of all it’s about time she updated her profile picture (yes, I too don’t mind getting personal as I feel her article was a personal affront to the males of my generation)
    My previous partner was half my age(started by her initiative). I’m not rich and she was not poor, for a while it worked and funilly enough didn’t end because of the age thingy.
    I love being an older man and have no desire to potray myself as anything but. I shave my bald head, take Viagra, date younger women and all the other great things mentioned in the article.
    I am tired of older women (and by this I don’t mean in years, but in mentality) “Older” …. I have dated 60 year olds that are younger than 35 year olds!
    Ms McLoud sounds like one of those women whose husband has left her for a younger woman, gone to study therapy for a year at some dubious institution, and now believes she can tell us all what cads we are.
    These younger women actually have a choice. People get into relationships for multiple reasons. Power, money, love, sex….. sometimes all of them.
    Get real Ms McLoud. If you had choice, would you rather date an old codger you describe or a younger hunk? Pity it’s not your choice as after this article younger hunks are your only option.
    Oh, by the way, your roots are showing.

  10. Surely these guys are the exception, and it’s usually money or fame that makes the difference. My partner (51) works with a well preserved 50something gentleman, who pointed out one day that younger women often go for older men nudge,nudge,wink,wink. My partner reminded him, it’s usually RICH older guys who get the babes, not your average senior pushing a trolley at PaknSav. I’ve always look at the young girls and wonder at their motivation. Poor, Scarlett, you know she’s suppressing a shudder. Jayne

  11. I might be in a minority. But I find bushy nostril hairs, a solitary distended curled rogue eyelash, a couple of hairs protruding from the ear lobe, a turkey-like flopping jowl, numerous flecked age spots, a slightly-stooped gait and a leery glint in the eye — all to be rather sexy in an older gent.

  12. - 74-year-old Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
    – 84-year-old Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner
    – 51-year-old New Zealand politician, Rodney Hide.

    If these are Rosemary’s examples of typical older men, her argument is flawed in the first place.

    The first one is ridiculously wealthy, as well as being remarkably self-centred. The second has been a notorious bed hopper for publicity reasons for six decades. The third is much younger than the others, and probably only made the list in the first place because he’s local.

    And they represent older men, an entire demographic? Come on.

    The only amazing thing about this article is an editor didn’t spike it and tell Rosemary MacLeod
    to actually write something worth reading.

  13. Funny how hearing Rosemary on Jim Moira’s Show makes me instinctively think of my poor old aged Grandmother. She too was old and bitter before her time. As for her columns, they are the ones to skip and go instead to the gritty ones whether or not you agree with them.
    I am married to a woman younger than me by 15 years. I am Brian’s age and not rich but regard myself as very lucky and proud to be a bit hairy though my witty remarks don’t get the response that they used to.
    (By the way there are many women who seem to be very preoccupied with resisting aging- like Rosemary?)

  14. The size of the wallet can trump pretty much everything in Mcleods’ column, BE’s post, and these comments :)

  15. “The size of the wallet can trump pretty much everything….”

    Not quite, my dear. The size of a man’s “equipment” will trump the size of a wallet any day of the week.

    • Not quite, my dear. The size of a man’s “equipment” will trump the size of a wallet any day of the week.

      Absolutely no research to back that one up, Angela. On the contrary, large penises can be a source of acute discomfort for many women. (I have been reliably informed.)

  16. Too much information Angela.

    (And I note that, chivalrously as always, nobody ever mentions vagina size.)

  17. so sick and jaundiced that one can only wonder what life experiences have drawn her to these conclusions

    In my limited experience, direct and indirect, of Ms McLeod, she’s been sick and jaundiced since the ’90s. Sadly, she and those who publish her think her views are interesting. I’ve no idea; I hear more eloquent and less repetitive information from my 18 month old.

  18. Don’t have a problem with older men hooking up with younger women who are turned on by nose hair and age spots and that fusty papery smell that old guys get. That’s about pheromones or the lack of, and buckets of viagra and aftershave won’t fix it. Dunno about George Clooney though, he’s still ignoring my begging letters.
    The problem for older women, and I’m around Rosemary’s age, is that we acquire a well developed sense of the ridiculous.

  19. “The problem for older women, and I’m around Rosemary’s age, is that we acquire a well developed sense of the ridiculous.” (And lose our sense of shame at the same time).

  20. yes well we can’t generalise, my partner is 14 years older than I, we got together when I was 44 and he was 58, and now 13 years down the track. Because he is such a wonderful person to me and for me I have never ever concerned myself about the age difference – just the compatibility factor, and he isn’t wealthy and he doesnt wear singlets, he is pretty cool actually.

  21. Angela, the older men get, the more “ridiculous” we want to be. It’s in our job description. Trust me.

  22. Stephanie, 14 years aint much of an age difference. Make the gap wider by a decade or two and it’s a different matter, especially as time goes by.

  23. What I don’t understand is: what’s it to Rosemary McLoud what older men look or sound like? Much of what she bitches about is the natural product of ageing, the rest natural differences in body type, shape, resistance to the stresses of years of living…

    You know: it’s funny that men are expected to see beneath the exterior appearance of women. Yet no such demand is made of women, however much the hope might remain. For all we know – I’m prepared to believe it at least – Rodney Hide might well have personable qualities that go far to bridge the physical difference between him and Adonis.

    At any rate, were I – or Brian Edwards, say, to pick one better known – to write about how disgusting the progressive dissolution of aged females still seeking someone with whom to share their twilight years, what do you suppose would happen.

    But I have long suspected there is a definition of sexism held by a large portion of our society.
    Sexism: ‘The failure of a male to salivate when a woman rings a bell’. Hang about… that doesn’t work, does it? ‘Slobbering’ suggests an superfluity of salivation…

    Very well: as a corrective to the Rosemary McRaucouses of this world, I commend to you Roger McGough’s poem ‘Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death’.


  24. Only just found this post so probably too late, but here goes.
    When I was in my mid-50s travelling around in an old van, I found many younger women were attracted to me – very flattering for the ego. I had found a way to live life to the fullest as a sea kayak guide and this, somehow attracted these women to me. After a year or three of this I realised that, without exception these younger women all had had problems with their fathers! They were somehow trying to heal via me. Obviously many women were not attracted to me and I suspect they probably did not have father issues to work out.
    So, putting aside rich and powerful men, yes, some young women are attracted to older men for other reasons.
    Oh, and I do also have to suggest that perhaps (some) older men make better lovers???

  25. River Howe: good on yer, mate!

    But the most frequent speliologists of my nasal cavities are the Fashion Fashists (Fascion Fascists??) who whinge on and on, and on and on to the power of ad nauseam about what other people are wearing, what they look like or smell like or sound like…

    Five minutes before Armageddon or the Supernova – whichever comes first – there’ll be some snirp telling – no, not advising: Gok Wan advises – telling us how to live, eat, breathe, speak… Smug, self-satisfied snurges the lot of ‘em.

    I don’t know; these types really get right up my nose and camp there. I can think of no other reason for my strong allergy to the opinions of people for whom I have no respect.


  26. I’ve gone and misspelt ‘speleologists’, haven’t I. Yep. B*gger.

  27. Can’t say I have too much problem with older men hooking up with younger women. It leaves all those younger men as fair game…

  28. River Howe – older men definitely make better lovers! Absolutely gorgeous in bed.