I CANNOT get my head around an adult man pursuing a relationship with a teenager.
Consensual or otherwise, it’s riddled with issues.
It’s immoral and unethical, even if everyone feels the need to argue it’s legal.
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean you should do it.
At the age of 16, I met a famous DJ at a film premiere I was attending on account of my stepfather working in the film industry.
He showed an interest in me and asked me out on a date.
I was a green, naive, provincial and virginal teen, so was flattered and perplexed in equal measure by the attention.
I couldn’t quite believe it because I was definitely not one of the cool girls at school and he was at the height of his fame.
He invited me as a guest to a show he was presenting.
On another occasion, we went to listen to a band in a studio and then on to dinner with some of his friends.
He whispered in my ear that I should say I’m studying for A-levels, not O-levels, because it “would just be easier”.
I did as I was told and lied hesitantly.
As he drove me to my taxi home, he stopped the car and very gently tried to kiss me.
It was nothing forceful or invasive, but I pulled away out of embarrassment.
I kicked myself afterwards for my inexperience and clumsiness.
At that age, I was keen to not be so innocent. Some months later he wrote me a reallyletter saying he had met someone else and was pursuing that relationship.
I was dramatically devastated but, in reality, two dates do not constitute a relationship.
And, as a friend of mine at the time pointed out, he did not have to write that letter.
In truth, I was lucky. He had manners and I have no desire to sully his reputation in any way.
Nothing awful happened to me at that time.
And therein lies the issue. No assault or sexual activity took place, nor would it have been illegal if it had been consensual. But that doesn’t make it right.
As a mother of two daughters, I cannot even imagine either of my girls engaging socially, romantically or, God forbid, sexually with a man in his thirties when they were merely 16.
The very thought of it sickens me. Except, for some people, it clearly doesn’t — because I won’t have been the first or the last who had this kind of experience.
What on Earth is it that makes an adult man attracted to such a young girl, apart from control — that infamous imbalance that many men are so addicted to?
I presume the innocence and vulnerability of the teenager is magnetic.
There’s always that old chestnut when people talk about how “mature” she is for her age. Everyone except for me at the time.
Girls shouldn’t be perceived as mature at that age, they should be allowed to be their age.
I was not particularly developed or savvy. I was well-mannered and a rule-abider.
I wasn’t cool or trendy and I was certainly no rebel.
In fact, I was so insecure that I would have been ripe for the picking by someone with bad intentions.
We can’t legislate against older men’s relationship interactions with 16-year-old girls.
Even though we know girls younger than 16 are sexually active with their peers, raising the age of consent wouldn’t do anything to improve the situation.
There is so much we need men to understand — that this kind of age disparity at such a tender age is quite simply unethical.
It’s warped and, dare I say it, somewhat perverted.
Why would an adult man want to disturb a young girl’s life, halt her youth, discoveries and experiences by objectifying her, distracting her from her natural developmental path and hold her back?
The temptation is to start a conversation about how we protect younger girls from this kind of interaction.
But I would start with educating boys and men about how inappropriate the very concept is.
Don’t doubt migraine misery
She says they are making it “difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with the demands of ministerial life”.
I have so much sympathy and empathy.
More often than not, people hear it as a feeble excuse, a pathetic reason to get out of doing something social or even work.
I was often made to feel migraines were for hypochondriacs.
For those who have never experienced one, count yourselves very lucky.
It isn’t just a headache or even a bad one, as some will have you believe.
It’s not waking up a bit dehydrated with a sore head, which leads some people to phone in sick with a “migraine’ when it really isn’t.
I have prescriptionfor my migraines and thankfully they don’t come too often.
But when they do, it tends to be in clusters for two or three days.
The last few weeks have been unbearable.
I’ve exhausted my stash of medication and have been at my wits’ end.
What I should really do is go and lie down in a darkened room with a cold pack on my forehead.
But life goes on and sometimes you have to work, tend to kids, prepare food with a head that feels like it’s trapped between two steel bars.
Then there is the blurred vision from what feels like one eye in the middle of your forehead and the accompanying, debilitating nausea.
Migraines come on for all sorts of reasons: Stress, hormone fluctuations, food allergies.
But one thing they definitely are not is just a bad headache.
Good on you Louise
I say he’s lovely but I have no evidence, except for the smile on her face. So, here’s hoping.
She’s spoken recently about how she is ready to meet someone but says dating is not a priority.
And, of course, it never is. So often, we women are programmed to still hold the fort at home with the kids, concentrate on our careers and bringing in the pennies, and juggling a lot of the other mundane, domestic stuff that keeps us busy.
Statistically, men are much better and faster at moving on to a new relationship.
It could be that they’re not as good at being on their own, or they’re just better at finding themissus.
Added to this is the fact women can be rubbish at prioritising, because it isn’t always in our DNA.
I hope Louise finds a whole heap of happiness and is ready for this new stage of her life.
Because one thing I’ve learnt over the years is that by always putting others first, we go on accepting we will always come second.
Strictly’s the tonic to give Annabel a lift
MY passion for Strictly has waned a bit over the past couple of years.
But this time I shall be tuning in religiously – and Annabel Croft is the reason.
I don’t profess to know her well but we’ve met a couple of times and I’ve always found her engaging and empathetic.
She’s a proficient pundit and ever the consummate, articulate professional.
But this year dealt her a dreadful blow. Her husband and soul- mate, Mel, died a few months ago after a short illness.
I met him, too, and he was just bloody nice. They were meant to be together and I don’t know how she has coped these past few months without him.
Of course, Strictly is just the ticket. Not only will it be a welcome professional distraction, but apparently Mel was a huge fan of the show.
So I can well imagine Annabel must feel like she will have him looking on as she strides across the dancefloor. I wish her the very best.
THE hospitality industry was brought to its knees by the pandemic and lockdowns.
Everyone’s up in arms about this peak-time price hike. But let’s cut our pubs a bit of slack and show them some support.
Another 20p on a pint isn’t going to break you – depending on how many you have, of course.
I guess one option would be to just drink a bit slower and not down them like I used to on Shooting Stars.