Cougars are still getting a bum rap. Every day now there is a unflattering story that vilifies women over 40. Why? Because they have the unmitigated gall to prefer younger men. OMG can you think of anything worse? Rare is the publication that does not feature the verb "prowl" in their articles about cougars.
Cynics may point out that, despite the tabloids’ unabated horror, powerful female celebrities with nubile younger men is not exactly new, with examples such as Mae West and Joan Collins (who surely earned the universe’s eternal adoration when, asked whether she was concerned about her and husband Percy’s 32-year age difference, replied, “If he dies, he dies”).
But these cynics are missing the point, because few things retain the ability to shock like the idea that a woman doesn’t necessarily float off on an iceberg of chastity after her 35th birthday. If Jack Nicholson has spent most of his life dating women born when he was already an adult, and been celebrated for it, why should women be la belled like animals in the zoo? Because of a woman, that’s why.
According to a 2001 article in the Globe and Mail of Toronto, “cougar” first appeared in 1999 in the name of a dating website, cougardate.com, after one of the site’s founders claimed her nephew told her that she was like a cougar, “in search of defenseless animals”.
Ten years later, Courteney Cox decided to build on her Friends success by starring in the TV show, Cougar Town, which makes having sex after 40 look about as fun as getting a pap smear in the middle of Times Square.
This weekend, a female columnist declared that “cougars have a short lifespan . . . one day it’s a hot thing, the next it’s hard work”. Shush, everyone out there, who’s protesting that sounds like every relationship in the world, and let’s give this journalist some credence. Of course, it would be easier to do that if she hadn’t cited the recent demise of the relationship between Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins as proof that “cougars have a short lifespan”, seeing as, reportedly, it was Sarandon, 63, who left Robbins, 51, not the other way round, despite Sarandon having “crossed the border”, whatever that means.
Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux said it best - “I’ve decided to overlook that minor detail [of age] and succumb to the Vesuvius of Passion that I feel pulsating inside of me". I have to give credit to Hadley Freeman for the content in this blog posting. I was happy to see other women are getting tired of all the negative press around cougars. To read her article click here.