Last Saturday, my friend’s love interest basically said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Gio, you have quite an old soul. I can see you dating older women.” My jaw dropped. The thought of me and an older woman is like a teacher scratching the chalkboard. It was quite disturbing. But what exactly did she mean? Was she trying to imply that women at my age aren’t mature and thus, I needed a far older women if I wanted compatibility? Was she trying to imply that my love for all kinds of music, especially that of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and the more modern Michael Buble had somehow aged me? Little did I know that her prediction may somewhat come true.
So yesterday, I caught up with one of my favorite blogs, “Just A Guy Thing.” And it just so happen that on that day, the writer wrote about the Cougar phenomenon. For those that aren’t familiar with the term, “cougar” is an older woman who dates younger men. On September 1 in Palo Alto, California, the first-ever national Cougar Convention was held. Gloria Navarro, 42, won the title of Miss Cougar America. And she’s quite the experienced cougar, dating men as young as in their 20s. You know what that means? She dates pretty much guys my age! But she definitely isn’t the only one, as evident of the convention. All across America, cougars are on the prowl.
But why are they on the prowl? People like actress Demi Moore, 46, married to actor Ashton Kutcher, 31, has become an icon for the cougar community. Perhaps writer Melinda Maximova puts it best when she writes, “A younger man represents the youth women fear losing, and the fun they may have already lost. When a woman was 25 an older man was more attractive. He was strong, confident, paternal and powerful. But as a woman ages she views older men as a little tired, boring perhaps, and grasping at youth, pathetically, just like… Well, she sees herself and doesn’t like it” (Examiner.com). I think it’s pretty much the same reason older men tend to date younger women. Aging scares people, and the thought of being with someone youthful is in a way, making them youthful. So maybe the Fountain of Youth isn’t really a fountain, but dating a young person. Now, various shows about cougars are making their way to our TV screen. Vivica A. Fox hosts, “The Cougar,” a cougar version of “The Bachelorette.” And Courteney Cox plays 40-year-old Jules Cobb in “Cougar Town.”
So where does a cougar come into the picture for me? Last night, I went for a run around Westwood, keeping my promise to you and myself that I will get down to 160lbs. I was “warming down,” walking, and sweating everywhere. And that’s when I heard it–a wolf whistle. Now, I assumed it was a guy my age who just saw a beautiful girl walking around the corner. As I looked back, it turned out to be a brunette woman, perhaps in her mid 30s commenting on how strong my arms looked and how cute I was. Then she touched the side of my right arm and went on her way. Was this unwarranted attention? Heck ya. Did I feel uncomfortable? Heck ya. Did I feel good that someone commented on how I looked good? Heck ya. Was she drunk when she saw me? Maybe. It was the evening. As I walked back to the frat house, I couldn’t help but laugh. This is what women must feel when they receive wolf-whistles from guys. And wait a minute, was I just sexually-harassed?
I wonder if older women who date younger men hate the term that’s been given to them. Cougar. Is it a derogatory term? Maybe they like it–it sounds powerful, like a lion. Is there a term for older men who date younger women? I can’t think of any on the top of my head. Maybe because it’s just a normal thing to see–so normal in our society that when women do it, it’s sort of looked down upon. Now, is it a societal concept for men to date younger women or purely a biological one? Maybe, it’s a little bit of both.
According to the Scienceblog article, “Older Men Chasing Young Women: A Good Thing,” it is a necessity for the survival of the species. Cedric Puleston, doctoral candidate in biological sciences at Stanford says that it’s part of evolutionary theory because when our reproductive lives are complete, then we die. To put it more simply, Puleston says, “a man’s fertility is contingent on a woman’s fertility.” Men can produce millions of sperm, whereas women can produce only a limited amount of eggs to be fertilized. Thus, the younger the woman, the more healthy her egg is to be fertilized.
So where does this leave me? Is age really just a number? Maybe. Will I date an older woman? Umm…no–it’s just not my thing. However, I did come to compromise and I could see myself with someone 2 years older than me at the most. Now, will I watch Courteney Cox in her new TV show? Probably–she’s so funny!
But that’s my identity as a 23-year-old revealed. Got a lot more maturing to do.
Photo Credit: Examiner.com
Photo Credit 2: San Francisco Gate