So now that I’m 30, and recently single again, apparently I now qualify as a cougar (or for the purists who believe life, and cougar-dom starts at 40, at least a cougar in training).
The term cougar is said to have originated in Western Canada, on the Canadian dating site Cougar.com. Another theory is that it started as a put down in Vancouver, for older women who would go to bars and go home with whoever was left at the end of the night, with an age gap of being at least 8 or 9 years older than said young beau.
Cougars have been the subject of much media, TV and film attention, from the 2009 sitcom Cougarville, to the film Cougar Club, and there’s even a reality show called The Cougar, which all explore the various aspects of being a cougar. One of the most famous examples of a cougar in action, is obviously Mrs Robinson pursuing a spritly 21 year old Benjamin Braddock in the graduate.
There are many many examples of cougar couples. Sticking to the minimum of an 8 year gap rule, we have Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Anne-Marie Duff and James McAvoy, Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon, Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robins, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher…..the list just goes on and on. Not all of them work out, not all of them last forever, but they’re there.
Now, I’ve heard Cougars getting a lot of really bad press, and the younger men they’re with getting an equal drubbing. They’re desperate, they’re having a midlife crisis, he’s just after her for her money, for the experience. Urban Dictionary says “The cougar can be anyone from an overly surgically altered wind tunnel victim, to an absolute sad and bloated old horn-meister.
What do I think? Personally I think this is complete bollocks. Perhaps this is a social knee jerk reaction, but the truth is some people can’t handle the thought of women getting old, and not conforming to the norm of sexy, and STILL being able to pull. I mean, we get bombarded with images 24 hours a day promoting beauty and staying young and gorgeous (which implies sexy, and therefore being able to find someone, or lots of people and getting down and dirty). I don’t think we’re quite at the Logan’s Run stage (thank fuck, although I will admit waiting up until midnight on my birthday just in case a Sandman turned up), but I do get the feeling that there are subtle changes now I’ve crossed the thresh-hold.
Maybe some people are threatened by cougars. A more experienced woman, with a career, or who has already made her own money, had her kids, maybe been married. And who is now looking purely for fun. A social role reversal almost – cougars could be seen as the female equivalent of the older man, or even in the extreme view, sugar mammas. If we’re going for sexual equality, is that really a bad thing? Women have spent centuries chasing (or being chased by) older men, with all the life experience, happy with themselves, and sorted financially, looking for someone who’s happy in their own skin, a bit more mature, or generally with something a little more to offer than you’d find with a man your own age. Why shouldn’t the boys go looking for that too?
You can’t blame these girls. If you had everything you needed in your life but you were single, why not follow the lead of millenia of men, and go for the hot, sexy pretty young thing. Younger men have more energy, a better social life, are less entrenched in their own views, are still looking for adventures, are less jaded by love and life…..and as much as I believe and adore silver foxes, have a LOT more stamina.
I think that older ladies should have just as much of a free range of the dating pool as the younger ones. And if I got to 40, or 45 or 50, and I got to date a hot 35 year old, my first thought would be “Yehaw!”.
Urban dictionary also says that cougars can be real hotties or milfs, offering not only a sexual high, but many times a chick with her shit together.” This is something else to bear in mind. Your teens and 20s are for learning the social skills you need to survive, giving you experience, battle scars, and stories. As we get older, we (hopefully) learn who we are, what we want, and what we like. I’m still trying to work out the rules to this game, and by no means have mastered it yet. But if it ever came to it, I would be honoured to join the ranks of cougars, as it would mean that I still got a chance to play.