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 that are gaining acceptance and government recognition in the Netherlands and around the world.
“With this free(dom) of choice, choice of name, I want to have my own age. I want to control myself,” he said Thursday.
Ratelband says he wants to avoid age discrimination in society — especially on dating websites.
“So when I ask for a mortgage, for example, they say it’s impossible,” he told The Associated Press. “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.”
Marjolein van den Brink, who specializes in human rights at Utrecht University’s law school, said age discrimination is a problem but is different than the issues involved in reassigning gender.
“It’s quite clear that elderly people have a much smaller chance of getting a job than younger people,” she said. “But that’s just one element and it’s only something that happens to you once you reach the age of 40, 45, 50, depending a bit on your job.
Ratelband, the Dutch TV personality, says the Dutch government could benefit if it were to accept his age demand. He said he’d be happy to forfeit his monthly pension of around 1,200 euros ($1,370) — a concession he estimates would save nearly 300,000 euros ($343,000) over the 20 years he wants shaved off his age.
The court in the central city of Arnhem is expected to issue a ruling in about four weeks.
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. I’m new again. The whole future is there for me again.”