Towards the end of a 60th birthday party, I felt an arm slink around my waist. I knew he'd broken up with his girlfriend and thought he wanted some advice from Agony Aunt Amanda.

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He started blathering about how he'd always fancied me, surely I knew and that's why he wanted to come home with me. I was stunned and reminded him he was 25 years younger than me, that I was old enough to be his mother. I said I was flattered, tried not to hurt his feelings and paid for the taxi to take him back to his own home.

Now, I'm not vain enough to think the common denominator is me being sexually irresistible, and as far as I know I don't have 'cougar' - the slang term for grown women who pursue toyboys - written on my forehead.

So there must be something going on with young men these days. But he explained that it starts out fun, but before you know it they're dragging you into Baby Gap via the jeweller's, which these men just aren't ready for.

It's well known that people are marrying later and later: the average age for a man is 32 and a woman 30.

There has been an incredible shift since the Fifties when three-quarters of women and half of all men had tied the knot by their mid-20s.

Many men still aren't ready to commit by their mid-30s, it seems to me.

Not so their female counterparts, who by this point are keen to stop wasting time, their biological clocks ticking ever more loudly.

And so, says Smedley, these men go for much younger women who haven't got round to thinking about such things - or women significantly older who 'they still find very attractive' and who have already had children or decided they didn't want them.'Young women often view men as success objects (ie defined and rated by how much they earn and own) - and there's less chance of that with a more mature woman who, chances are, has already attained her own success.

This levels the playing field a bit more.'We hit the floor, he clearly believing himself to be the reincarnation of Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.