So I was out the other night with four "girl" friends. Very unusual for me, although we are out of school so I don't have to get up quite so early.
Anyway, we got out of my friend's car and were walking to the entrance of the Wit Hotel. (Just as an aside, (Sarah), the Wit is a brand new hotel with the best rooftop bar I think I have ever been too. Fabulous.) It's on State Street in downtown Chicago, and at 7pm, there were a fair number of people around. Next thing I know, some guy leans out of his car window and shouts "Hey, cougars!"
I was livid!
To me, while it puts me in the company of Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston and Michelle Pfeiffer (in her new movie, "Cheri" at least), I admit I bristled at the nomenclature, however complimentary the intention may have been. After all, if you Google "cougar" you will see that the slang meanings include:
"An older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man." I WASN'T! I was looking down to make sure I didn't catch my heel in my wide trousers, so why anyone might have thought I was "on the pull" is beyond me. Unless I look permenantly desperate?
On the other hand, (she says, striving for balance in this rant), cougars are also described as-
"Women usually their in 30s and 40s, who are financially stable and mentally independent and looking for a younger man to have fun with." Hmmm, I'm still not happy, and totally confused by the mentally independent part. Answers on a postcard please.
But wait for it. What would an urban phrase or trend be without:
- the handbook - "Cougar: A Guide for Older Women Dating Younger Men". Admittedly, it came out in 2002 so the term has taken a while to really catch on, but it's all there if you're interested.
- the reality TV show seen on VH1 in May 2005. In "Kept," a group of 20-something American men competed to become an escort to Jerry Hall, 48,for a year. To be honest, it didn't receive much attention over here; perhaps they should try it again now that the term has really taken off.
- and of course, the web site. www.urbancougar.com - no less! Go on, have a look, it's hilarious. They even have a Cougar of the Month. Junes' cougar is Jackie, a rather well-stacked, I mean preserved, 52 year old who has this to say:
“I know where I came from, what I've been through, and how I came out of it, and it has made me the strong person that I am today! You can't possibly know what that means when you're 25, and I think that is what makes older women very appealing to younger men. You can't buy that in a bottle! It takes years to develop.”
I still think I'm offended though!