The conversations of life

69-year-old man sues to get age legally changed to 49 – so he can meet more women online


We’ve heard of people lying about their age (if you’ve been on a dating app, you’ll know what I’m talking about) but this is a first.

Emile Ratelband has filed a lawsuit against the Dutch government to try to change the birth date on his passport – so he can go back to work and meet more women on Tinder.

He says he feels 20 years younger and compares the age difference to being transgender (which is definitely not the same thing).

“You can change your name. You can change your gender. Why not your age? Nowhere are you so discriminated against as with your age,” he told a Dutch newspaper.

“When I’m 69, I am limited. If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer.”

Mr Ratelband even says he’s willing to forego his pension benefits by 20 years.

Ageism the real problem

But we can’t help but feel he’s reinforcing the idea that getting older is a bad thing.

The fact is age really is just a number – even if you change it on a piece of paper.

What should change is our attitude. Ageism, whether it’s in the workplace, community, media or even Tinder, is a real problem in our society.

A recent report by the Australian Human Rights Commission found around one-third of Australian employers set age limits for job applicants, despite doing so being against discrimination laws.

Even the language we use – ‘over the hill’, ‘having a senior’s moment’, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ and (the worst) ‘you look great for your age’ – reinforces these stereotypes.

We need to better value older people – and ourselves as we get older.

If Emile did this, he might actually have a date by now.

Dutch man Emil Ratelband.

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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