Charles Dance's beach body has got us asking what's hot and what's not for older men

Charles Dance’s holiday physique shows that men don’t have to give up on their muscles after 70

Charles Dance
Making a splash: actor Charles Dance and girlfriend Alessandra Masi stride through the shallows Credit: IVPA, BESC

Here is the actor Charles Dance looking fit in the sea (we’re not interested in his girlfriend Alessandra Masi, she’s expected to look fit). Masi is 53 for the record but, honestly, we are unmoved. It’s all about the blokes now and what they look like, tops off. It’s their turn to be scrutinised, if not for their inner-thigh cellulite as they exit a limo, then at least for the state of their bare torsos in their swimming trunks. Only fair, wouldn’t you say?

There’s a crucial difference, of course. With women, the beach body ogle has always contained a note of barely disguised ill will. “We’ll get you in the end” is the general tone. “We’ll find the angle and the overhead sunlight that puts paid to your misplaced middle-aged body confidence. Just you wait.”

In contrast, pictures of mature chaps in swimming trunks are served up as admirable and inspirational, and the taut-chested Dance is now the hero of the hour.

He’s in excellent nick (as we all said when we saw the pictures) and, at 73, that puts him way ahead of the old bloke competition. (Pierce Brosnan is a mere 67, Dennis Quaid is only 66.)

This image has also, inadvertently, launched a whole new fun game: What’s Hot and What’s Not Over 70 (men only). Here are the top 10 rules if you’re thinking of giving CD a run for his money in the future:

  •  Choose regular old-school swimming trunks. Never Daniel Craig baby blue mini trunks or board short length.
  •  Say no to jewellery. CD has a bracelet, which we can let go, but thongs, beads, gold “Mescal” chains etc, not so much. We always felt Harrison Ford’s late-life ear piercing killed the crush.
  • Be careful not to get too chest or other body part proud. Dance is sailing close to the wind on this one, to be honest, as he is prone to the three-undone-buttons shirt. (Note: men recognise, correctly, that too many done-up buttons makes them look like a Tory MP at a staycation photo call, plus unbuttoning is one of the few ruses they have to make themselves feel loose and a bit rock ’n’ roll. Even so, the gaping shirt is lame.) Instead, we recommend ankle baring.
  • No hoodies, plunging T-shirts or V-neck ­sweaters worn with nothing underneath, if you were contemplating such a ­sacrilege (not impossible, see Simon Cowell).
  •  No long hair. Even Mick Jagger has a just-collar-covering hair do.
  • No hair dyeing (unless for a part).
  • Always trim eyebrows, and anywhere else that needs trimming.
  • Wear dark glasses, when appropriate. As with women, they make you look less knackered when outdoors.
  • Don’t be tempted to get a teeth makeover. Charles Dance has his own sharp little ivory teeth, as opposed to the set of solid white veneers that are normally provided for actors over 50. This is important since, particularly on older men, they look like glow-in-the-dark dentures.
  • Never allow a female companion to apply sun cream to your nose or bald patch (even though we will always do it better): the optics are too “carer and their elderly charge”.
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