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Melanie Morris: Thanks, Susan, for sharing your cheerful secret to eternal youth

LAST March, American actress Susan Sarandon (64) was asked the secret to looking great.

"Don't smoke," she said, "it's just so bad for your complexion. And be as happy as possible. That really helps."

Yes indeed it does, especially when you're dating a man more than half your age.

While the rumour mill has been gently whirring for a few months now, it's only in the past week or so that Sarandon's close friendship to 31-year-old entrepreneur Jonathan Bricklin has come under close scrutiny.


They're in business together, both as co-investors in a Manhattan ping-pong bar called SPiN, and judging by the big smiles on their faces when papped over the weekend, profits must be good.

Susan Sarandon has always been a minxy older woman -- the sort that women want to be, and men want to be with.

A thoroughly modern girl, she was married to younger man Tim Robbins for 23 years until they sadly broke up around this time last year.

I don't think anyone expected she would retire wounded, and head straight to an enclosed order. Equally, to bounce back with such form is impressive, and I'm sure Miss Sarandon's actions give mature ladies hope, and possibly some inspiration.

I wonder if Iris Robinson has the actress' picture sellotaped to the back of her diary?

She'd inspire me, but I think with possibly only one or two exceptions, I've dated men younger than me almost all my life.

Not necessarily on purpose, nor because, at my age, only a Tony Curtis might be older, but it just usually ends up that way.

I guess I find younger men more interesting, more fun, more vital and great company.

Sure, there can be cultural differences, as one girlfriend of mine recently noticed when she went on a movie date with a younger bloke, who turned up carrying a skateboard -- cue sudden reality check.


What I like about Susan Sarandon is that she's not making a big deal out of it.

The pair don't allow the publicity machine to invade whatever is going on between them, and they give it no oxygen.

They're simply getting on with their lives, unlike say Madonna, who appears so predatory, and seems to view every date with a younger man as another golden photo opportunity.

Of Jonathan, all Susan has said is "there are lots of people in my life at the moment", and on the subject of a relationship with Susan, Jonathan has simply commented, "I'm flattered people think that we might be".

Whatever is going on, those photos of them at an art show in Miami over the weekend show a very happy, very relaxed Sarandon.

So, yes, she looks great.

Thanks for sharing your secret to eternal youth, Susan, I now feel totally justified in my life choices.

Melanie Morris is editor of IMAGE Magazine