Guest blogger (and self-proclaimed cougar) Jodi weighs in on this growing phenomenon.
When I saw the "Cougars 4 Cook" sign in the American Idol audience, I just had to laugh. After all, I'm a cougar, so it was glad to see another representin'. Because cougars often get bad raps.
In the wild, a cougar hunts prey. The cougar label was given to older women dating younger men, because...what? Guys are adorable innocent bunnies who are helpless in the well-enameled claws of a sophisticated predator? Oh, please. Guys know what's up, and "older" just means "older than him," and not simply "old."
To be clear, being called a cougar is a compliment; Demi Moore is regularly cited as the gold standard of cougars, and she's fierce. (Hello, Ashton!) But sometimes the term is turned into an insult. The cougar label is often stigmatized thanks to "Scary Cougars" who take it to the cheap and cheesy place. Scary cougars bed men much, much younger, and that's it. No love. No relationships. For a good time, call a scary cougar.
Mom status doesn't change these rules. Gold cougars are hot, know what they want, and get what they want. If you're 30 or over and married to a man younger than you, you're a Gold cougar! The same label applies if you're 30 or over and dating younger men. No caveats or addendums. Your romantic partners are simply younger than you. We applaud that! Samantha from Sex and the City would be proud.
But Scary Cougars, on the other hand, are not a group I personally want to be associated with. They're like Mrs. Robinson gone bad. Here are five signs you're entering "Scary Cougar" territory. (Proceed with caution!)
1. You bought your guy a dinner-appropriate pair of slacks and a shirt, but you bought them big so he'd have room to grow.
2. You call your dates with your younger man "play dates."
3. You're planning a romantic weekend, and your date asked if you could just put out extra food and water on the counter. For your toddler.
4. Your boyfriend is younger than your kid.
5. Your crush is wearing Heelys.
Look, there's nothing wrong with being a cougar. I'm proud to to be one, and I thoroughly enjoy my younger man. But I'd love to introduce a more appealing and accurate term to the hot-woman lexicon. Can't cougars just be hot mamas? It's a start.
Are you proud to be a cougar?