Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Am Studied, Therefore I Am

I'm in a bad mood and the latest news hasn't altered this state of malaise. First, I'm just generally, in a funk. Happens every year about this time. I seriously reflect on the end of summer and think, "Crap, I didn't do half the things I wanted to do, and the days are already getting shorter than a model's mini skirt."

Secondly, I'm tired of Cougars being dissected under a microscope, like the latest Infestation Du Jour. Online today, Time Magazine posted information about another study stating that Cougars don't exist. (New Study Claims "Cougars" Do Not Exist). According to this study, Cougars have been manufactured by the media (who -- with BP, mosques next to the WTC in New York, and the latest escapades of Lindsay and Mel -- don't have enough crap to write about.)

I realize the Fourth Estate does wield lots of power. But, c'mon, I don't think the media can possibly generate enough enthusiasm to create a generation of young men interested in dating older women because Good Housekeeping Magazine says their buddies are doin' it with MILFs or Cougars. (I'll let you 'google' MILF on your own, since I think it's a seriously degrading term for pretty moms.)

 The Time article presents both sides with another study conducted in 2003 by AARP (the Hotsheet for Cougars over 50 and Grey Haired Men-of-a-Certain-Age), which found that while a not surprising two-thirds of U.S. men over 40 were dating younger women, an unexpected 34% of 40-plus women were dating younger men. And 35% said they preferred it to dating same-age or older men. Um, then some young guys have got to be dating these women! Therefore, Cougars must exist.

I guess the takeaway to this short but angry post is: Don't believe everything you read. Do your own research. And, live your life as it best suits you (as long as no kittens, puppies, or people are harmed in your personal experiment called life).

...summer seems to go by so fast, and winter drags on for decades -- kinda' like youth vs. old age? :)

Peace, love, and hoping you enjoy a long, sunny and warm Autumn with cool (or, hot, depending on your love life or state of menopause) evenings.
-- Marilyn

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

iCougar at the Zoo

Despite the heat, a Cougar's got to roam. Last week, I went to the zoo (in this economy, the zoo's pretty much my idea of roaming). A thermometer near the chilled arctic bears preserve registered a stultifying 85-degrees in the shade.

On a typical day in July the zoo is pretty much a vast, arid territory surrounded by blazing hot concrete outdoors and acrid indoor areas with examples of wildlife we'd only see in Africa, India, etc. This summer, though, is one for the record books. Long, hot days of 90+ temps and little rain make tempers flare as quickly as BBQ grills on a summer evening in the suburbs.

So, why did I suggest the zoo to Sweet Cub (SC) on a day when sweating was pretty much the only activity man or beast was capable of performing?

Well, you see, I thought it was necessary to see my four-legged counterpart in action. "Let's go to the zoo to visit cougars in their natural habitat," I asked to SC. "I have a better idea," he said. "Let's stay in your comfortably cooled condo and watch lions and tigers and bears on the Nature Channel, instead."

Ugh. After working at a computer all week, the last thing I wanted to do was stay indoors on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. But SC wouldn't budge from his microfiber lair, no matter how much I offered to stroke and groom. So, I did what any self-respecting Cougar would do. I left him in his den and took off for adventure.

When I got to the zoo a posted sign said, Due to the heatwave, animals with available facilities will be housed indoors.

"Well, that's good," I thought. "This way the animals can escape from the heat."

Um, no. Four-legged cougars (and other four-legged species) kept indoors are privy to small cages and a dank, humid, smelly environment. Nothing like the vast plains they're used to outside of captivity, they pace back and forth, their haunches raised in disgust, looking like prisoners too long away from the freedom we all cherish. Captivity. It hit me like an unexpected sucker punch. No Cougar, human or four-legged wants to be held captive. And perhaps that is the essence of Cougardom.

Human Cougars are not against marriage (it certainly has its place for young, traditional people who want to raise a family). But, for the most part, Cougars have paired off, raised their young, and really don't want to be tied by the bonds of marriage anymore. Maybe that's why Cougars "in the wild" are so feared? The fear is they'll pounce on the marriageable young males and ruins the chances for domestic-minded females who are more interested in family life.

Let me reassure all you young females. If a male wants to run off and get married, we human Cougars will pack his lunch, send him off and wish him well.

Thus, I learned something from my trip to the zoo. Human Cougars, just like their four-legged counterparts, have earned their freedom to run off -- to the zoo, with friends, or to Africa --  and leave the Cubs behind to do what Cubs need to do.

I didn't realize before my zoo a-ha, that the best part of being a Cougar is not the idea of tracking young Cubs, but the idea that I'm free to roam, alone or in female packs, as I please? Perhaps I've just been too domesticated by earlier relationship bonds (i.e., marriage), and I'm way out of line about marriage in the 21st century? Do you think that marriage today is more open to personal exploration?

Hoping that all your pursuits expand the wonderment of living -- and always with love,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meeting Encounters of the Third Kind

Whether you're Cougar or not, meeting your sig-other's family, friends, frenemies or what have you is jam-packed with all kinds of emo (ammo?).

SC and I had already been through that first-meeting-gulp-fest between his mom and me, followed by SC and my son. But, meeting the family of a former husband? Now, that's something I wouldn't want to be put through -- even if I were as steely-hearted as OJ Simpson after bail was denied. Is this an encounter that's somewhere out there, even for a Cougar relationship?

I was thrilled to be invited to the graduation cookout of my former husband's grandson. I've remained in touch with former husband's kids and looked forward to the party.

Even tho' I thought meeting the family of a former husband is kinda' lame, I asked SC if he wanted to come along with me, never expecting he would say yes (see 'graph #2 above). The cookout was scheduled for Sunday -- our special day together, so I thought it would be rude not to ask if SC would like to join me. To say I would be shocked if he said yes is like saying I would be shocked if LeBron James came back to Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers and we won the championship title next year. Both scenarios would leave me speechless.

He said, "Yes." I was speechless.

Background and Spoiler Alert: Former husband and I had been married for 15 years. It was a second marriage for both. Our divorce was not the "let's remain friends despite our differences" kind; more like the split between Soviet Union and U.S. circa 1953. SC knew all the sordid details of the breakup and that I remained in touch with former husband's kids, his sister. And his first wife. (Don't ask. It's really quite harmless and a lot less interesting than it sounds.) "Why," I asked myself, "did SC want to meet former husband's family? Perversity? Curiosity? A desire to spend every possible minute with me (sigh)?

So, being a strong believer in open communication, I asked SC why he wanted to come with me. "Just curious," he said. "They were all a part of your life and I'm curious to see why they still remain a part of your life after all these years."

Ye Gads! No wonder I love this guy. He's honest, normal, and very open about his feelings.

We went. We ate. He met. No big deal. Except one thing: SC really liked  former husband's first wife. Has this Cougar bitten off more than she can chew?

...relationships are all pretty much the same, but the devil is in the details? Every relationship, whether straight, gay, Cougar, older or younger, has its universal ups and downs. Some moments, passionate about one another; other moments, we can't understand why we stay. Yet, how each couple handles their differences or disagreements remains a mystery to other couples, who might handle the same difference in an entirely different way. Would you have invited your partner to the party, even though it might have turned out to be very uncomfortable?

With love and hope that all your encounters are lovable, laughable and long-lived,

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Do Cougars Have Too Much Nurture in Their DNA?

A lot has been written about Cougars. But no one's ever suggested that Cougars choose younger men because they have too much nurture in their genes or that Cubs choose Cougars because they kinda' like that a Cougar looks after her Cub. (Actually, a lot more's been said about Cougar's catering to other Cub fantasies. If you're looking for more on that just Google "Cougar Dating".)

But I've heard more than one Cub say he prefers older women because:
  • Cougars are less demanding (i.e., if Cubs want to drink beer nightly with their pack of fellow Cubs, go to it -- we've lives of our own)
  • Cougars know what they want and express their feelings up front (i.e., no Cougar worth her eyeliner's gonna ask if she can buy a $300 pair of shoes, and if a Cougar's interested in you -- she'll let you know -- no mind games in the Cougar den)
  • They're more confident (see above)
  • Cougars are generally settled in a career and live quite comfortably on their own income (i.e., they're more than happy to split the bill, or pick up the whole damn thing. And they never ask their Cubs for the $300 for those shoes.)
One thing Cubs don't mention -- because that's still taboo, even for a Cougar/Cub relationship, is that they enjoy being cared for by the older, more experienced woman. I mean, let's face it, Cougars, because they're older, are through with playing games, through with raising kids, and through with finding themselves (we've realized that if we haven't found ourselves by midlife, it ain't gonna' happen). But we're not quite through with living, now are we? So, maybe our nurture genes are haywire. So, maybe that's why we take on the project of watching over and educating yet another generation. But this time, along with the nurturing, our Cubs are more than friends, but also friends with benefits.

...some women never outgrow the need to raise Cubs and others are content to just hang out with the rest of the Cougar pack?  I sometimes think it would be easier to just buy a pet iguana to care for.

With love and hope that, by now, you've found yourself,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sweet Cub Gets Down 'n Dirty

The other day I complained to Sweet Cub (SC) about a nasty pain down my right leg. "Gawd, I hope this goes away soon," I said. "If not, I may wind up with a limp."

Darling SC looked up from his newspaper and said, "You're just old, sweetheart. Nothing to worry about."

Nothing to worry about! Here's this man 16 years younger than me telling me I'm just old. I wanted to kick him out of the soft microfiber sofa he was sitting on and slam the door on his soon-to-be-sagging ass. The nerve! Telling me it's just old age. But, wait, he's right. Aching bones and swollen joints are part of old age. So rather than dump him I instead decided to grill him.

Do I look old? Do I seem old to him? Are my looks fading faster than a five dollar bill in a gambler's pocket? 

"Babe, you look fabulous," he said. "But your outward appearance can't erase the fact that you're aging." 

He said this as a matter of fact, and his eyes showed such warmth and love that I had to concede defeat. Ugh, I was aging. Yup, I was aging. But the good news is, so is he. Granted, SC will never catch up to me, but he won't remain that sweet bird of youth forever. And then it hit me, the reason SC and I mesh so well is that he's always been an "old man" while I've always been more of an adventurer -- unwilling to give in to circumstances and willing to try new things.

Amanda Redman, an aging (52) but still quite beautiful British actress, summed up quite well why her 12 year Cougar relationship with 40-year-old mobile phone designer Damian Schnabel works for both of them. She says that Schnabel provides the maturity in their relationship, allowing her to indulge her more childish side. "He's far more grown-up than me and that works brilliantly. To have someone who's more mature than me in every way apart from physically is marvellous, frankly," said Redman.

I was struck by Redman's comment, because it fit our relationship so well. SC may be younger in years but in some ways he's older than I am. I'll likely catch up to him and slow down, too. But, not right now. 

...we never feel as old as we are?  Maybe that's why, as we age, we're surprised when we look in the mirror and see our mother (father) staring back at us, and we think that we're not yet ready to look as old as we are -- because, damn it, we still feel 20 years younger. Maybe that's the good news. Because once we start feeling like our minds and bodies match the image in the mirror we've reached the summit and we're heading down that hill.

With love and my hope that you remain forever young,