COMMENT:

I hadn't heard of the French author and television presenter Yann Moix until he made headlines around the world this week saying he was incapable of loving a 50-year-old.

The body of a 25-year-old was extraordinary - the body of a 50-year-old was not, he said.

However, only the parents of lithesome young Asian girls need fear their daughters ending up with a horny Gallic goat twice their daughter's age - Moix prefers young Korean, Japanese and Chinese.

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At a time when people seem to spend their time in a permanent state of outrage, you can imagine the reaction.

Moix said he didn't feel obliged to apologise. And nor should he. I'd venture that many women aren't attracted to greying, grizzled, ageist French authors and they shouldn't apologise either.

We're all attracted to a certain type. It doesn't preclude us from finding love in surprising packages, but in a crowded room your eyes are drawn to certain forms and figures. And he's damned right about the bodies of young people being extraordinary. Their skin has a texture and luminosity that is utterly glorious - more so to those who are older because we know that youthful glow is evanescent.

The tragedy is they have no idea how gorgeous they are until they've finally learned to feel comfortable in that golden skin. But for most people, attraction is based on so much more than firm flesh.

Someone who can make me laugh, someone I find interesting, someone who can get the one clue I can't in the cryptic crossword - that's the person for me. Of course there has to be sexual attraction. But most people I know are sexually attracted to their partners for many reasons.

Much as I look in the mirror and sigh as the ravages of age take their toll, I wouldn't be 20 again for quids. I like being 54. I'm fitter in mind and body than I ever was in my 20s - and I'm a much more interesting person now than that shallow, self-obsessed young woman ever was.

I really enjoy the company of the young ones at work. They're hard-working, intelligent, open-minded and fun. But I certainly don't see them as potential soulmates.

Reading the works of Colette in my teens was enough to put me off taking a young lover for life. The Kepi and Cheri, in particular, were brutal in their depictions of older women dallying with younger men.

My rule is if you can't name the founding members of Th' Dudes, you're too young for me and if I could have given birth to it, I'm not attracted to it.

But clearly a lot of New Zealand women either didn't read Colette or ignored her dire warnings. A few years ago, Statistics New Zealand found that in 1986, 3 per cent of 40 to 45-year-old women in heterosexual relationships had a male partner at least five years their junior. By 2013, that number had more than doubled to 7 per cent.

Conversely, the number of middle-aged men dating much younger women had fallen. In 1986, 34 per cent of 50-year-old men had a female partner at least five years their junior. In 2013, that had fallen to 27 per cent of men.

The researchers posited that women have a greater ability to earn their own keep now, which reduced their need and desire to trade their firm young bodies for financial security. (My words, not the researchers, but you get the point.)

Moix's comments may pass for confidence to some young women, which is attractive to those who are beset by self doubt. But to this over-50-year-old, he comes across as an arrogant, sad dinosaur incapable of being in a relationship of equals. And the young women who succumb to his dubious charms should be aware that however passionately they kiss this frog, he will never, ever be a prince.

Kerre McIvor Mornings, Newstalk ZB, Weekdays 9am-12pm