OK, I admit to being ticked off!
I have been out of the dating scene for quite some time and was surprised to learn about cougars. Mind you, I’m not referring to the cats that roam in the wilds; rather, to real life cougars in the guise of older gals.
My interest was piqued when I ran across an article about older gals dating much younger guys. My first reaction was one of nonchalance. Who cares, right? Older men have been dating younger women since the beginning of time. Think about it: Adam was created first and who knows how long it took to create Eve.
I asked my friend (who is very savvy when it comes to this stuff), if she ever heard of the cougar phenomena.
She retorted, “Ceil, of course! Where’ve you been? With all the reading you do, you never heard of cougars?
Taken aback, I responded, “I’ve heard of older gals dating younger guys; but, I didn’t know there was a name for them.
My gal-pal nodded slowly, sat me down and with her usual panache, began to educate me.
After a few minutes, a 180-Watt light bulb snapped on in my brain…“Oh, I get it! Mrs. Robinson was a cougar.”(In case you know a Mrs. Robinson, I am referring to Mrs. Robinson from the film “The Graduate.”)
“You get an A+,” my beaming friend replied.
Still curious, I began researching cougar gals online. I was surprised to learn that there are probably 10 types of cougars — and get this: the guys that they date are called cubs.
These gals readily admit that they are on the prowl for younger guys. One “cub” actually said that he liked gals with a few lines around their eyes. Refreshing news, don’t you think? I have spent a small fortune on age-defying potions to erase said lines.
This particular cougar and cub were attending a beach party where a game of volleyball was introduced. A few younger gals at the party began wondering aloud if the “cougar” could even play (like she was decrepit or something.) And then, they had the audacity to ask why this 30-something guy was interested in a 50-something gal when, “they“ were available.
C’mon now. I am a gal of a certain age (not of cougar status) and can still play a mean game of volleyball. Furthermore, why is it so terrible for the cub to be attracted to this great-looking 50-something gal, fine lines and all?
To those silly girls or anyone else who supports this mind-set: Grow up! And when you do, you may discover that gals of a certain age are far more desirable, independent, don’t want children and most (not all) do not want a husband. What they want, however, is to have fun—and who can argue with that?
Then again, I watched a YouTube interview starring a “hot to trot” septuagenarian cougar. At first blush (pun intended) I was disconcerted. This gal was extremely up front about seducing really, really young men. She was the epitome of flirtation and even demonstrated for the camera how she exercises (not volleyball) to keep things from, ahem….drooping (to put in bluntly.) Strange isn’t it how our attitudes change? After viewing said video I thought, “You go girl!”
Did you know there are cougar events, cougar cruises and there is even a Miss Cougar America contest? Valerie Gibson wrote a best-selling book titled, “Cougar: A guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men.” Well, folks, the cougar phenomena is not limited to reality TV, it is reality!
Why am I so riled? I simply don’t like attaching labels to anything or anyone.
When an older guy dates a younger gal, he is given a wink, pat on the back, and some good-natured joking by his peers. Sometimes, however, he is called, “a dirty old man.” If the gal is willing, why the fuss? Let’s face it: Older guys, similar to gals of a certain age, have been round the block a few times.
And then there is the “age-appropriate” label that drives me up a wall. Catty barbs uttered by a different species of “cats” fly at breakneck speed at parties. These cats fall under the sway of the green-eyed monster and attack with: “Psst! Look at what (name…) is wearing. She never acts her age. Tsk- tsk!!
Huh? I for one am not age appropriate, whatsoever! I mean, really: What does age have to do with anything?
Because we are on the planet longer we can, if we dare, become more active; full of grace and gusto. If one wants to date someone younger, so be it. We don’t have to label them as “cougars” or “dirty old men.”
If gals of a certain age want to wear stiletto heels, shortskirts, or short anything, why not? If a guy wants to wear a black leather jacket (back then, it was a real turn-on, still is) so what? Really, aren’t we old enough to do what we want to do with no questions asked?
And one more thing: When inquiring minds deem to ask how old I am, I smile and calmly reply, “Why I’m as young as the morning and as old as God.”
They never ask again.
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in ‘retirement’ — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.
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