Now we all know that I'm not averse to getting involved with a younger man. But I do have my limits and that is why the whole Caroline Flack/Harry Styles relationship did freak me out somewhat.
For anyone not in the know, Caroline is a tv presenter around about my age (early thirties). Harry Styles is a member of boyband One Direction and is a mere 17 years old. Well, apparently he is going to be 18 on Wednesday but it's still a pretty hefty age difference.
As far as I'm aware, they've broken up now, but I've found the whole short relationship a little weird all the same. I know some relationships have big age differences and if we fast forward ten years and Caroline was early forties and Harry was late twenties then it wouldn't seem like such a big deal . . . but right now I really find it icky.
He may currently be in one of the UK's most successful boybands and I'm sure he's gotten his fair share of tail in that time and is possibly a bit grown-up than your average 17 year old, but the fact is that he's barely left puberty and she could practically be his (very young) mum. Even when I was seventeen myself I found seventeen year old boys to be a bit young and immature . . . I may have once saw an attractive guy on the street and thought "nice!" before I realised he was not wearing a suit but actually a school blazer . . . but I wouldn't have then went AFTER him.
I'm really trying not to judge because we can't help who we fall for but . . . seriously??? He's not even legal (to drink, I mean, not for the other stuff). As the Mirror quoted on their break-up "The split comes ahead of his band’s first tour of the States and just a week before Caroline could legally take him for a pint". Doesn't that say it all?
Don't get me wrong, I think it's horrible that Caroline got so much of a backlash from One Direction fans about their romance - but I think that would have happened anyway, regardless of the age difference. Unfortunately that's the price you pay for dating a so-called heart-throb (I don't see it personally - but then again, that's possibly because HE'S SEVENTEEN!) And it would have been one thing if she'd fallen for him and THEN realised his age (a la Monica from Friends in "The One With The Ick Factor" or me that time in the pub when the guy told me he was in his final year at uni but everyone else thought he had his school uniform in his rucksack) but she has been perfectly aware of his age considering that she is presenting the spin-off show of the reality show he became famous on, so once again it gets icky.
And I'm not talking double standards here - i think it's equally gross when a man in his early thirties goes out with a girl in her teens, even though girls are allegedly more mature than boys. I may actually judge that more, and maybe some people would see it as almost EMPOWERING that the roles were reversed in the case of Flack and Styles. But no, it's equally yucky either way, as far as I'm concerned.
I'm not surprised the relationship ended because there was just so much about it that was a little taboo. I'm more surprised that it lasted as long as it did. I hope the two of them can move on and find happiness elsewhere - and if they want to hook up again in ten years, then fair enough!
What do you think? Should people in their thirties be dating people in their teens?