What's in a num­ber? Dutch 69-year-old asks court to make him 49 again

The Northern Advocate - - World - Mike Corder

Self-styled pos­i­tiv­ity guru Emile Ratel­band thinks age is just a num­ber. And his is a num­ber the Dutch­man wants changed.

The 69-year-old TV per­son­al­ity has asked a court in the Nether­lands to ap­prove his re­quest for a new birth­day that of­fi­cially would make him 49.

Ratel­band says his le­gal ap­peal is con­sis­tent with other forms of per­sonal trans­for­ma­tion — such as “choice of name, free­ness of gen- der” — that are gain­ing ac­cep­tance and gov­ern­ment recog­ni­tion in the Nether­lands and around the world.

“I want to have my own age. I want to con­trol my­self,” he said.

Ratel­band says he wants to avoid age dis­crim­i­na­tion in so­ci­ety — es­pe­cially on dat­ing web­sites.

“So when I ask for a mort­gage, f or ex­am­ple, they say i t’ s im­pos­si­ble,” he said. “If I go on Tin­der, then I get women from 68, 69 when women are there.”

How about just be­ing eco­nom­i­cal with the truth about his age? “I don’t want to lie,” he said. “I want to be my­self, so don’t force me to lie.”

Ratel­band, who makes a liv­ing urg­ing peo­ple and busi­nesses to be pos­i­tive, de­nies that the age re­quest is a pub­lic­ity stunt. He claims he is seek­ing a per­sonal pos­i­tive ef­fect.

“Now I’m an old man, I have to save my money to give to my kids so that they can live,” said the fa­ther of seven. “But If I have that age again, I have hope again. The whole fu­ture is there for me again.”

The court in the cen­tral city of Arn­hem is ex­pected to is­sue a rul­ing in about four weeks.

PHOTO / AP

Emile Ratel­band says he wants to avoid age dis­crim­i­na­tion.

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