Handsome actor stuns world by possibly dating young model: Phoebe Maltz Bovy considers the curiosity about Leonardo DiCaprio’s alleged new teenage Israeli girlfriend Eden Polani

Leonardo diCaprio has a thing for Israeli models. And for Palestinian models. The common ground, where the 48-year-old former Titanic heartthrob is concerned, would seem to be models. Is he actually dating Eden Polani? I have no independent info on this, but I have not run into either at the supermarket.

What I can state with confidence is that the famous and famously handsome actor enjoys dating beautiful young women. News at 11, as the saying goes. He can, and like so many would if they could, he does.

The only reason anyone cares is that there’s a post-#MeToo trend, among younger adults, in viewing age-gap relationships as inherently non-consensual, even when both partners are well into legal adulthood. It’s not that older men-younger women relationships were considered delightful by all prior to 2017. It was always fodder for salacious gossip. There’s a scene from 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers, where Sybil’s on the phone, saying, “Nineteen?! Well the last one was only 22,” and this is in reference to a hotel guest who’s brought along a much-younger companion.

No, what’s new is the idea that there’s something predatory going on when a 50-year-old dates a 20-year-old. Thus the Jewish Chronicle coverage that’s less about the proverbial Jewish angle (behold, an actor who could have anyone, and he wants one of ours!) and more a roundup of tweets about how problematic it is that Leo’s dating a teenager. The cavorting actor might have once been a figure of admiration, but if Jamie Kirchick’s epic article about Armie Hammer is anything to go by, it is now a cancellable offence.

Ultimately, what the age-gap relationship topic hinges on is whether you see adults as being, well, adults. An adult can still be manipulated or abused, so the point isn’t that anything that goes on between adults is acceptable. There’s a reason the expression is consenting adults, a bar that covers the 19-year-old who wants to get married; the 19-year-old who wants to have another 19-year-old over to her dorm room; and indeed the 19-year-old woman who—bafflingly, given what 19-year-old Israeli men look like—chooses to hang around with Leonardo DiCaprio.

The CJN’s senior editor Phoebe Maltz Bovy can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @bovymaltz