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Sunday, January 31, 2016


René Angélil passed away this month. He met Céline Dion when she was 12, became her manager, "began a relationship" with her (as Wikipedia puts it) when she was 19 and he was 45, and married her when she was 26 and he was 52.

Tommy Mottola encountered Mariah Carey when he was 41 and she was 20. They married, he at 44 and she at 23.

Bill Clinton was 49 when he began a series of sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky, then 22.

All three broke the so-called French rule, half the man's age plus 7. All three entered those relationships from positions of power, not equality.

I was outraged by Clinton's escapade, and I would have been without the juicy tidbits about the closet and the desk in the Oval Office. When I accepted a faculty-level administrative position at Georgia Tech in my mid-20s, I was told point-blank not to pursue female undergrads. When I first took a management position in industry, the universal rule was the same: managers don't chase interns.

From all accounts, Angélil and Dion had a good relationship. Not so, of course, with the other two couples. I have no relevant statistics from sociology but my gut says the odds of the outcome that Angélil and Dion enjoyed are very small. And even when it happens, I can't condone the guy's actions. Do we pardon Mary Kay Letourneau for her two felony counts of statutory rape simply because she remains married to Vili Fualaau? I say no. The end does not justify the means.

Besides, real men know that women get better with age.