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HARRY Styles is, unarguably, attractive.

If you're a teen or a tween, fancying him is fine, normal and probably quite healthy.

If you're a woman in your 30s, fancying him is a bit sad, but mostly just harmless fun.

If, however, you're a woman in your 30s who not only fancies Harry Styles but also actually acts on it, it's not only sick and wrong, it's also completely baffling.

I seriously do not understand what Lucy Horobin and Caroline Flack were thinking, or how they could have managed to go through with it.

They can't even blame alcohol for their terrible judgement, because at the time they both slept with him, Harry wasn't old enough to buy any.

Maybe I am just a prude.

But I make it a rule never to sleep with anyone I'm old enough to have given birth to. Even if I would have been a gymslip mum.

Cougar schmougar - an adult woman doing the horizontal mambo with a 17-year-old boy is just too icky for words.

I don't believe Lucy when she says Harry "knew what he was doing in the bedroom" for one second... which is, coincidentally, probably double the amount of time their 'liaison' lasted.

And, once it was over, can you imagine the agony of them trying to have a conversation? It's a well-known fact that men mature MUCH more slowly than women, so a boy of 17 is probably on the same level of maturity as a 14-year-old girl. He is still a child.

So it would have been less a case of "pass the Pouilly Fume" and more "pull my finger". How, er, hot.

Even if you could bear the innate feeling of wrongness, the awkward fumbling and the juvenile chatter, surely even the most body-confident 30-something woman is going to think twice when she realises that the last person their new lover saw naked was probably some slip of a teenage girl, which is what he'll be comparing you to.

And I can only conclude that Lucy and Caroline just didn't allow themselves to speculate about what kind of mother issues Harry has, seeing as he seems to prefer sleeping with women old enough to be his, or wonder about themselves, and why they can't make things work with a man of their own age, who they have actual things in common with, and respect for, and who might challenge them. If they had thought about any of that they surely couldn't have gone through with it in the first place.

I'm not saying no woman should ever get involved with a younger man. Younger men are fine.

What's very much not fine is a fully grown woman sleeping with a BOY, which is, Lucy and Caroline, what Harry Styles was, and actually still is.

He wasn't old enough to drink, or vote, or watch an 18 certificate film, so how is he old enough to have sex with? This whole yucky business can be summed up by one fact - if we were talking about a man in his thirties sleeping with a 17-year-old girl, no-one would be giggling about it. Perhaps they just can't see beyond that head of hair.

IT doesn't surprise me one bit that teenage ladykiller Harry Styles was able to work his magic on 32-year-old DJ Lucy Horobin. I never thought I'd end up a 'cougar' - but at age 31 my serious fiveyear relationship ended and I found myself back on the singles market.

Suddenly it seemed like all the men my own age were married or in longterm relationships.

Yet when guys in their 20s asked me out I was hesitant. Surely that was far too young? But then the day after my 32nd birthday celebrations I awoke to a text from a guy I'd met the night before, who, after several cocktails, I'd given my phone number too.

In the sober light of day I was unsure. I estimated he was about 25 and too young but when he asked me on a date I figured it couldn't hurt.

We were a couple of hours into our date when he asked me how old I was.

When I revealed I was 32 he looked surprised. Then it was my turn to looked horrified - it turned out he was only 21.

"Does it really matter?" he asked. "I don't have a problem with it."

Although I had my reservations I kept seeing him. After feeling weighed down by the end of my long-term relationship, I found that being with a younger man was fun.

I loved the fact that there were no serious, intense discussions, instead we spent carefree days holding hands in the park or evenings going out dancing.

My new boyfriend was also the perfect gentleman, refusing to let me pay for a thing on our dates, carrying my bags and always opening doors.

He talked with enthusiasm about his ambitions and dreams and his energy was infectious.

Maybe it was this same unbridled lust for life that attracted Lucy to Harry when she was on a break from her marriage.

The fact is, being a single woman in your 30s is hard. Often it feels like a no-win situation.

Everyone says you should be settling down before your eggs shrivel and then guys in their 30s avoid you because they assume you'll drag them on to the "desperation express" - destination marriage and babies.

Since my first toyboy romance I've dated several guys in their early 20s and generally I find them to be charming, keen and fun.

Last year at the age of 33, I dated a guy who was 22 and who would constantly tell me how much he enjoyed my company.

"I like that you have plenty to say for yourself and that you don't get jealous or bitch like younger girls I have dated," he said.

However it is true age gap relationships can have a short shelf life.

"He'll eventually leave you for someone his own age," I was warned about my first toyboy boyfriend. But after five lovely months it was me who called time on our romance.

He had declared his love but I just couldn't see it lasting. I felt I would want to start a family at some point and I wouldn't want him to give up his carefree days so soon.

I'm sure Harry was never a long-term prospect for Lucy either. More that she had gone through a difficult time emotionally and welcomed the chance to enjoy the company of a good-looking young guy who was charming and fun.


MATURE J Harry Styles' former lover Caroline Flack BASHFUL n Lucy looks coy as pair leave radio station
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 26, 2012
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