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Fri, Feb 12, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Age gap not an issue for Cheryl Miles
by Karen Tee

Cheryl Miles, 34, and Tim Ross-Watson, 26

She may be dating a man nine years younger but do not call her a cougar.

'It bothers me,' says Radio 91.3 DJ Cheryl Miles. 'I know people are not mean-spirited and say it because they think it is funny. But the term refers to someone who goes out with younger men for fun and that's not what our relationship is about,' Miles explains.

She has been dating Tim Ross-Watson, a British chef and retail manager of Huber's Butchery, since August last year.

'Our relationship is based on equality. He is emotionally mature, confident and does not have many insecurities,' she says.

As for Ross-Watson, who has been in Singapore for two years, age is not an issue at all.

'Cheryl looks like she is in her late 20s so the age gap is not even apparent. Plus, it is a bit of a guy fantasy to date an older woman,' he quips.

The pair first met last February at a church gathering in a mutual friend's home.

'I glanced over and thought he was not bad looking but felt that he was too young,' she recalls. 'I remember he was wearing a pair of unflattering baggy low-slung jeans.'

Ross-Watson chimes in with a cheeky grin: 'I noticed a tattoo on her lower back and remember thinking to myself that this girl is trouble.' Still, that did not stop him from sending her flirty text messages.

Miles says with a laugh: 'As I kept thinking that he was too young, I thought he was 'mercy flirting' with me because I was still single at my age.

'I did not want to be in a situation where it was just for kicks. When I was 25, I was not ready to settle down, so I didn't know where he was coming from.'

She had never dated a younger man before. What finally sealed the deal for her was when he cooked her a four-course dinner for her birthday last August. 'I was so touched I started crying and well, that was it,' she says.

The pair consider themselves lucky that they have the support of their families - Ross-Watson won over Miles' mother and two younger brothers with his cooking skills.

Their friends are also happy for them, save for the occasional ribbing about Miles being a 'cougar' or 'cradle snatcher'.

Food has become a passion that the two share. Date nights usually see the doting Ross-Watson whipping up a gourmet meal for Miles at either his or her apartment. 'I'd be annoyed if she didn't appreciate food. It is important that she can indulge in my passion.'

So pampered are her tastebuds that Miles says she can no longer dine out at restaurants because the food just 'cannot measure up'.

Indeed, Ross-Watson seems the perfect boyfriend. 'Not only do I cook for her three or four times a week, I wash up too,' he says.

Six months into their relationship and the signs of a blissfully happy couple are all in place. They nudge each other playfully throughout the interview and laugh at inside jokes that only they are privy to.

Although both say it is still early days to discuss marriage, it is where they seem to be headed towards. 'We're both serious about making this work and we're already comfortable enough with each other to joke about our future kids,' says Miles.

Her biological clock may be ticking, but she notes that women these days are having children later in life. 'Madonna had a kid at 40, so I've got a few good years left,' she says.

'Besides, I've always wanted to have kids later in life while Tim wants to be a young dad, so it is working out for us.'

Even as Ross-Watson hits the prime of his life, her best days could soon be over.

Asked if this worries her, she says philosophically: 'There is always a possibility of the other person straying, no matter at what age. I think it is more important for me to keep looking my best by going to the gym more often and keeping our relationship spicy.

'Age really is just a number.'

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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