Well, after the demise of my last post, I think I’ll stick something that’s always safe ground for SMH bloggers: dating. Specifically, a Queensland group (of course) that wants to stick a ban on minors dating people who are more than 5 years older than them. What do you think? Have you ever been in a relationship like this? Or has one of your friends? Or would you like to be? How old is too old? How young is too young? So many interesting questions.
If we’re going to pass a law like that, though, let’s do it immediately. Before the Rolling Stones gig ends would probably be sensible.
To be fair, noted child-dater Bill Wyman’s no longer in the band – and I’m sure the rest of the Stones are extremely careful about observing consent laws, and indeed all laws, in all the countries they visit. But what a great example to consider. Mandy Smith was only 13 when she hooked up with Wyman – whose son, bizarrely, was dating her mother. And did she suffer? Huh? Well, almost undoubtedly. But she got so much out of it, infamy wise. She even released singles whose titles totally cashed in on the scandal, such as ‘Just can’t wait’ (yuk) and ‘Victim of pleasure’ (even more yuk).
She even won the coveted ‘Rear of the year’ award, Wikipedia tells us, in 1994. Now you try telling me that she would have reached such dizzy career heights if Wyman hadn’t ruined her childhood when she was barely a teenager.
Anyway, onto the law’s specific details. It’s been proposed by ‘Bravehearts’. Which is an unusual name for a group of moral campaigners, since the film involves William Wallace impregnating another man’s wife. Still, when did the actions of moral campaigners ever make much sense?
The group’s Hetty Johnson (what a perfect name for a morals campaigner) says it’s about stopping predators, and protecting young people who may be flattered into doing something they later regret: “If you’re a young person, 16, 17 and you’ve got an opportunity to go out with someone who’s much older than you are and they shower you with wine and cards and flowers and dinners – bit difficult for those young people to be able to see that relationship for what it is.”
Johnson, presumably, knows what it is better than either of the people involved. There’s just no possibility whatsoever that it could be a genuine romantic attachment. It’s automatically predatory. What bollocks.
Just think of all the beautiful, romantic, completely healthy relationships this law would have rendered illegal. Woody Allen and Soon-Yi. Rob Lowe and that teenager he was videoed with. Charlie Chaplin and, well, a whole bunch of teenagers; most classily Lita Grey, who was 16 when he was with her at age 35. Oh, right, I see where they’re coming from with the law idea.
Being fairly judgemental and prudish, I find relationships between young people and much older people fairly gross. If I had a 16-year-old daughter who was dating a 22-year-old, I’d be asking some questions. But you can’t generalise completely, and this law’s clearly interfering far too much. 16 is fine as an age of consent, and the Bravehearts should get a life instead of interfering in other people’s.
In fact, they’d do well to remember William Wallace’s cheesy last word: “Freedom”.