Cougars, and pumas, and MILFs, oh my! The Online Slang Dictionary defines Cougar as “a middle-aged woman who seeks out much younger men for romance or physical intimacy.” If you’re not the one seeking, but rather the one being pursued, would you be called prey?
As soon as I hit thirty-eight I became prey. I had just moved in to my complex with my three-year-old son. I was checking my mail when my young neighbor came over to me and started chit-chatting. Somewhere in the conversation he asked me how old I was. He was surprised when I told him, and gave me the same compliment everyone else started giving me from age thirty-five on: “Wow, you look really good for your age.”
“How’s a thirty-eight year old supposed to look?” I asked.
“Old?” he said.
Ouch. So I was no longer pretty, I was well-preserved. Me being old didn’t stop him from asking me out. I think I laughed in his face, which probably bruised his ego a little, and when he told me he was nineteen, I’m pretty sure I laughed harder.
I didn’t take him up on his offer, but noticed soon after all these young buckaroos coming out of the woodwork—man-boys who were twenty-two, twenty-five—young enough to be my son, for goodness sake! What the hell was going on? I wondered. Was I emitting subliminal signals of desperation from my scent glands? I had never heard the term cougar before, but then again, I had thought LOL meant Lots of Luck, and DH signified Dumb Head, so I wasn’t exactly hip to the most current lingo.
So I did what I always do when I want to find out about something: a search on Google. I adore Google. I’d be lost without Google. If I could find the male equivalent of Google, I’d marry him. Lo and behold, I was bombarded with a slew of information. This older women with younger men thing had been happening since the dawn of time. My age and the fact that I was single qualified me to be a part of a secret club. A club where I was now known as a femme fatale, a self-assured, confident, sophisticated older woman who didn’t play games, knew what she wanted, and was able to run sexual circles around her younger counterparts. It was definitely better than being known as “Crazy old cat lady.”
I wish I could say I fell in love with a man half my age and we lived happily ever after, but I can’t. I did manage to get a novel out of the whole “cougar experience” though. The Accidental Cougar does have a happily ever after, and while my heroine was extremely resistant at first to the idea of being with a younger man, the hero managed to find ways to wear down that resistance.
When it comes right down to it, in the face of true love age is just a number.