I was called a cougar recently, jokingly of course. It started innocently enough with a discussion of Justin Bieber and what young people like these days, but devolved to a comment about me being a cougar.
I know it was meant to be light-hearted, but I stopped in my tracks and could not think of a witty reply.
For starters, I just find the word so derogatory.
But I think that speaks to my own judgment more than anything else.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ve been judging older women who go with younger guys in my own disapprovingly subtle way. (According to this definition, it should be at least a 10-year age difference to be deemed cougar-ish.) I’ve got 4 younger brothers, and the idea of dating a much younger guy creeps me out. I would definitely go for Clooney.
When I was growing up, it was the notion of the old maid or the cradle-snatcher. Or the May-December romance. Sure makes me long for the days of euphimisms.
But somehow, women have found their own power and being an older woman going after a younger man is now synonymous with a hunter-and-prey kind of relationship.
Is that good?
Perhaps. But I don’t think I’ll ever accept it.
But I do know I want to stop the judging.
I mean look at Demi Moore, whose heart is so obviously broken. In the end, it’s not about labels or power or even sex. It really is just a need for connection, and dare I say it, love.
What right do any of us have to judge another woman because of her age? Why should we think that the men in these relationships are ‘prey’? As if they didn’t have minds of their own and were somehow trapped into a corner? Puh-leeeze!
So I still don’t like the word ‘cougar’ but I don’t ever want to define any of my sisters with a term that teenage boys (in mind and body) decided was cool – even if it’s just for fun or to pass the time or even to describe what we think is bleeding obvious.
The truth is nothing is obvious because none of us know what goes on in anyone’s life.