Had it not been for her recent facelift, which appears to have left her features frozen, even Madonna might have raised a quizzical eyebrow over her latest choice of partner — the 6ft 4in, 17st boxer Josh Popper who’s 35 years her junior.
Popper trains people to box in a New York gym and is thought to have met the Like A Virgin star while coaching one of her children.
Well, Madonna, 64, is no virgin when it comes to seducing much, much younger men — Popper follows in the long line of hot toyboys the superstar has dated. In her defence, she says: ‘I didn’t choose to have a relationship with a younger man. That’s just what happened, that’s the romantic in me.’
Romance? Or the foolhardy notion that you’re ageless and endlessly attractive to men half your age?
Before we sneer at her over this, let’s remember no one raises an eyebrow when men date much younger women. Perhaps Madonna has just turned the tables and is showing us that older, wealthier women can be catnip for young aspiring men.
But there’s a catch — and I know as I’ve been there. After my marriage ended in my 30s, I had a six-month relationship with someone half my age I met in the office. It lasted until the moment he confused Nelson Mandela with Mohammad Ali, spluttering in his defence that they were both ‘black guys fighting for freedom’.
Later the hot young Eastern European who fell in love with me — or rather my pay packet — contributed nothing, loved the heavy metal band Metallica, thought The Beatles were insects and Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone was written by Mick Jagger.
The sad truth is that Madonna has not yet realised — as I have, finally — that a healthy relationship for mid-life women is one with a man of a similar age with shared experiences. Men who know Dire Straits is not a conflict in the Middle East.
Pictures of her gripping her new toyboy Popper don’t make her look younger and more empowered, just a bit tragic and old. As Rod Stewart sang in his hit Maggie May: ‘The mornin’ sun when it’s in your face really shows your age, but that don’t worry me none, in my eyes, you’re everything.’ Until you’re nothing to him.
The idea you are only as young as the man you feel is a myth. Toyboys are fun, Madonna — but they come with a price, not least to your dignity.