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Why Harry is the mother of all targets for any cougar

PUBLISHED: 16:41 19 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:41 19 March 2013

If you believe what you read in some magazines Harry Styles is supposed to have sent inappropriate messages to Yvette Fielding

If you believe what you read in some magazines Harry Styles is supposed to have sent inappropriate messages to Yvette Fielding

I'm not cut out to be a cougar - for a start I don't understand texts from anyone under the age of 20, secondly I'm allergic to Facebook and thirdly I made a pact many years ago never to be naked in front of someone who wasn't grateful.

For the uninitiated, the term ‘cougar’ - when not applied to a mountain lion - describes an older woman who dates far younger men and was coined by modern-day Samuel Johnson, Mark Penn.

Penn, who invented the term ‘soccer mom’ in the 1992 US election which influenced campaigning for the decade that followed, clearly spends a lot of time categorising women into insulting, simplistic groups.

I don’t think he’s coined a term for men who date far younger women, although I suppose when you’ve got something catchy like “cradle-snatcher” or “Ronnie Wood” there’s really no need.

While Yvette Fielding aint afraid of no ghosts (reasonable: there’s no proof they exist) she definitely is afraid of rabid One Direction fans who this week directed their venom towards her after a story was published claiming that every mum’s favourite boy band star had sent her mucky text messages.

We all know that Harry is an admirer of the mature woman – although as he’s 19, that takes in quite a large demographic – but what we didn’t realise was that he is also an admirer of ghost hunters that can whip up a scale-model of an aerodrome using empty washing up bottles and sticky-backed plastic.

In an interview with Woman magazine, Yvette is said to have told a reporter that the singer was a friend of her son, Will, and while enjoying a meal out with her husband, Harry’s mum Anne and her partner, Master Styles whipped out his mobile and started sending her racy texts.

Since the interview appeared, and Yvette became Target of the Day for One Direction fans, she has denied the incident ever happened, which has been a blow to all of us who prefer our celebrities to be indiscriminate when it comes to romantic liaisons with the public.

I remember Russell Brand once admitting that he was incapable of meeting a woman without at least trying to charm her into his bedroom and thinking that this was precisely what I wanted to hear from a celebrity. Celebrities are normally tiresomely obsessed with wooing other celebrities: all hail those that cheerfully admit they’ll accept practically anyone with a pulse.

Brand’s relentless romancing was, he said, part and parcel of his “sex addiction”. While I have the utmost sympathy for anyone living with an addiction, at least this is one that benefits those of us without personalities, with hideous physical attributes and questionable morals and who now have the chance to spend the night with a celebrity that isn’t Michael Douglas or that bloke who married Halle Berry.

In a way, Russell is performing a very valid public service, the type that should qualify for various large National Lottery grants

As a general rule of thumb, I tend to think that if I could have given birth to them, it’s probably best for all concerned that they’re romantically out of bounds: this rules out anyone under 26 (technically). Any younger readers can exhale now.

It was bad enough going out with an 18 year old when I was 21: he couldn’t even remember Zammo from Grange Hill.

Master Styles, however, has his own code of conduct which still rules me in the game: he insists that he’d never pursue anyone older than his Mum, who is 44.

“I love cougars. But really, it comes down to what they’re like. Age is nothing but a number,” he said – Dirty Harry indeed.

Personally, I just wish Mark Penn wasn’t so old – I’d love to see him cornered by a cougar. Preferably the stalk-and-ambush variety with whiskers and fangs (I’m talking about the big cat – just in case you were wondering).

According to a new poll, Mr Right doesn’t exist.

Mr He’ll Do exists and Mr He Pays Half the Mortgage is alive and kicking but Mr Right is an illusion created by crazed harpies with Princess complexes and too much time on their hands.

A poll of 2,000 women revealed that more than 75 per cent believed the perfect man didn’t exist and that the aver-age man is only 69 per cent perfect.

How can you be 69 per cent perfect? Something is either perfect or it isn’t – it’s like being 69 per cent pregnant or 69 per cent dead, although to be fair, I often feel as if I’m the latter.

Common faults that meant men missed the mark included watching too much sport, poor personal grooming, leav-ing the toilet door open, criticising their partner’s driving, an inability to multi-task and not getting along with in-laws.

These traits are pretty much the only ones that most of the men I’ve had relationships have possessed. I wasn’t aware there were any other traits, but by the tone of the article I’ve just read, it appears there must be.

Other commonly cited reasons why men aren’t reaching the heady heights of perfection include leaving clothes on the bedroom floor, snoring and only pretending to listen when their partner speaks.

Again, this is pretty standard, isn’t it?

Perfection, according to the survey results, is attainable: men should make an effort with his partner’s friends (I can see this one backfiring horribly), avoid using her toothbrush, stay clean-shaven and not be lazy. And there was me thinking it was enough to find someone who you just can’t imagine life without.

Brilliantly, only 35 per cent of women said that a “good personality” was the most important quality in the perfect man with 25 per cent saying it was a sense of humour.

The other 40 per cent of women are idiots and no one should give a second thought to their opinion: they probably look at rainbows and curse them for temporarily clashing with their outfit.

I am yet to find a survey which lists the traits of a “perfect” woman, although I am fairly sure I know what it would say. Or perhaps it would simply show a picture of me.

Thank you for all the very kind messages following last week’s column about my Dad in which I went off-piste and finally revealed that I’m not just a cynical old witch that moans 24/7.

While I am generally a cynical old witch that moans 24/7, I was touched that so many of you took the time and trouble to email me or contact me on Twitter with such kind and thoughtful words.

It was by far the biggest reaction I’ve ever had to something that I’ve written on this page (topping even Paul McCartney wig-gate last year) and for once the reaction was entirely, heart-warmingly, tear-inducingly positive. Thank you again. I promise not to make you cry for at least a few weeks: Mondays are miserable enough without me turning on everyone’s collective waterworks.

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