A little while back, Dutch media personality Emile Ratelbrand started making waves on the internet about his age. He’s 69 years old. In the United States, that counts as a senior, old enough to reside in one of the 19,000+ senior living centers peppered across the country. We’re not really sure what point he was trying to make by doing this nor how Dutch government works, but he attempted to sue the Dutch government over his inability to legally change his age from 69 to 49. Why? Because he doesn’t feel that old.
He claimed that he wasn’t a big hit on Tinder having to say his age is 69, so he wanted to change it. Instead of taking the numerous routes around displaying your actual age on Tinder, like paying for Tinder or simply lying to the app, Ratelbrand decided to take the logical route: sue the Dutch government.
What gained him the most ire and attention is that his comments about it and general reasoning were regarded as transphobic:
“We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he asked.
Unfazed by the outrage and insensitivity of his comments, he kept it up. The Dutch court, in what must’ve been the biggest judicial eye-roll of the century, reviewed his claim. A month later, they announced a fairly predictable verdict.
“[Ratelbrand] is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly…amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications,” the court said.
Late-life crises are fairly common, but we can think of any number of things to occupy his time rather than taking up public resources on vanity. Get a dog. Buy a sports car. Sail around the world. Clean the carpets in your house, it’s probably been a while. Even better, buy a new house. Whatever it is, try not to become a human carpet stain.
Of course, age discrimination is a very real, and very serious, thing. Something that Ratelbrand is most certainly not facing. And, at 69, devaluing the experiences of groups around the world in an effort to reanimate virility is arguably the least mature thing one can do.