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Must Older Women Keep Taking the Flack?

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Just because Caroline Flack (32) wants to find a husband in 2012, it doesn't mean it's Harry Styles (17).

Apparently Ladbrokes are taking bets with odds at 16-1. I wonder what the odds are on leaving them alone? Why shouldn't she have a bit of fun before she settles down?

Why should she have to elaborate on being 'good friends'? So what if it's with benefits?

She's had to tolerate being called a "cradle-snatcher", an "unrepentant cougar" and "predatory".

One so-called journalist stooped as low to compare their closeness to office harassment cases adding "or of using her rank for sexual gratification, at the very least. If she was his teacher, which she could well be, she might lose her job for forming an inappropriate relationship."

Harry meanwhile has been dubbed "a child" (hmm, has anyone called social services if they think it's a physical relationship? I doubt it because the last time I checked, the age of consent was 16), "toyboy" and the same low stooping journalist went on to say this about him: "a sexualised youngster who finds himself having to deal with the overwhelming experience of fame, plus the complications of being entangled with a much older woman."

How very dare she...the journalist, not Caroline.

You may be wondering why I am defending Caroline. It's not because I am a woman of a certain age - though I do abhor being referred to as a cougar given all my previous relationships were with younger men. It's not because I have a son - I don't have any kids. It's certainly not because I am a One Direction fan - I am not, though Liam is cute. Incidentally Liam is 18 so I'm sure certain people would find it a more acceptable age for me to remark upon yet he's only 5 months older than Harry.

The only real difference between Caroline and myself (other than our 10 year age difference) is that here I am admitting that I have had a similar liaison. Not that anyone cares of course because neither he nor me are famous. Not that it's anyone's business either but hey, if Caroline is all the things she's accused of, then I stand shoulder to shoulder with her because so am I.

I have never coerced a young man into bed. I have never abused any position (no pun intended).

I haven't broken the law. I haven't hurt anyone. I had fun and so did the willing participant. Why should anyone assume her situation is any different?

When Emmerdale's Ella Hart (44) bedded Adam Barton (19), a 25 year age gap for those who can't be bothered working it out, the actor who played Adam said: "'It's every boy's dream to be chased by an older woman."

He makes a good point, it is many boys' fantasies to be with an older woman whether the judgemental amongst us like it or not. In fact, many of my male friends willingly lost their virginities to older women; not a single one went kicking and screaming.

I don't think it's the age gap that's the issue. I truly believe it's the woman's age most people have a problem with. If it were the other way around I honestly doubt anyone would write about it. I'm just glad nobody's writing about me. Oh, darn it.

Disclaimer: This piece is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters - including myself - may be entirely fictitious.

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