Cut the Cougar Crap
Through the ages, women have never had a lack of complaints about the inequalities between men and women. Particularly when it comes to romance, dating and age, there’s always been a lot to complain about. I wish I could say that I am not about to contribute to that litany of gripes, but oh no, I’m about to jump right in.
So, this whole “Cougar” thing. I wouldn’t mind if that term got lost in the Bronx Zoo and was never heard from again. Or was shot with a dart gun and left to die on the Serengeti. You get my drift. I loathe it. It is the word that is now used categorically for any woman who dates younger men. When you hear the word “cougar” what comes to mind? Sharp claws, bared-teeth, pouncing on an unsuspecting zebra to make a kill.
When sometimes, a guy just asks an older woman out and she says yes.
Sometimes the younger guy even falls in love with an older woman, sometimes even marries her, and it was actually all by his own free will. Can you imagine? He wasn’t seduced, tricked, pounced upon, hunted down. He just found her attractive and decided he wanted to be with her. I wish we had a name for that. Oh right, we do. It’s called dating. The very word we would use if an older man dated a woman half his age. Oh, what a fuss everyone made about Demi and Ashton and their 15-year age difference. Isn’t she worried he’s going to leave her? Or cheat? It will never last! She’s so much older than him! Did you know Bruce Willis married someone 24 years younger than himself? Probably not. Because no one was calling him a lion or a panther or even a dirty old man.
In fairness, I am assuming the term “cougar” was meant to be used regarding women who repeatedly go after younger men. It is also meant as a compliment, I am sure. But my friend, who is sexy and in her forties, hears that term used about her in general, even when there’s no younger man in sight. I am sure it is meant to infer that she’s (still!) sexy and (still!) attractive to men. But it also infers she’s a predator, up for hunting down a young man in his prime and making a kill.
So what’s to be done? Probably nothing but complain. And I guess we could be more philosophical about it. If “cougar” has replaced “spinster” and “old maid” as the word to describe over-forty women, then at least we’re headed in the right direction.
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