April 7, 2010

Does it mean I’m a cougar if...?

Blog, I know as a disembodied anthropomorphized being, you are not going to get this, especially as an admittedly “asexual one with a masculine vibe.” So it might be a good time for you to go play outside, or at least apply “earmuffs.”

Female readers of a certain age, I’m sure you too have struggled with trying to determine what sorts of behaviors are age-appropriate for you. My friend Rebecca raised the issue recently on Facebook, when she expressed her love of shopping for tops at Charlotte Russe. Said the hilarious Rebecca, “Whenever I walk in there, I always feel a little shy and I wonder if the sales girls are looking at me and thinking ‘you old cougar, go get your hot pants somewhere else.’”

Boy do I get that. This past weekend I shopped at Kohls, and I like to look in every single department except Maternity and Womens. Believe me, I recognize that most of what there is in Juniors is not the kind of thing I can get away with at 53. Nevertheless, I still find clothes there, all the while thinking the 16-year-olds around me are staring and thinking something like “LMAO here, old cougar...wanna try on this mini-skirt over here?”

My big hang-up lately has been leggings. The last time they came into fashion, in the early 90s, I had a bunch of them. Twenty years later I have been cursing the fact that so many of the hip outfits in the Sunday circulars incorporate leggings. Well, on a whim I tried on a pair of black Vera Wang leggings because they were sort of “boot cut,” with non-skin-tight ankles and little zippers at the ankle. I thought perhaps I would not look utterly ridiculous in them.

Fortunately, at that moment my 27-year-old daughter Manzi called “Momzi?” from behind the curtain of the dressing room. Just in time. I was not going to buy leggings without some confirmation. She liked me in them, and Manzi is something of a fashion arbiter in my world and pretty much the most stylin’ person I know. As in accessories like high-heeled boots, scarves and fedoras. Well, you get the picture from her picture here.

What the hey, Vera Wang is 57 and she wears leggings! So I will try not to feel like a cougar in my leggings. I’m hoping it helps that I’m not wearing them in an effort to attract any 20-something guys. Because really, I’m not.

Nevertheless, I’ll admit to you that I was a cougar back in my more cougarly-aged days. Like when I was single and 36 I had a little affair with a 19-year-old. Really, I did! And one time when I was 45 and out with a 29-year-old guy friend, a parking attendant referred to him as my husband. But I am no Jaclyn Smith and had to get real eventually--believe me, nowadays even a long-in-the-tooth pool boy would utterly ignore me. Now I just rejoice when I crush on a guy who isn’t at least ten years younger than me (like some of the “mature men” in this old blog post of mine.

At least I eschew the high school age characters on “Glee” for their director/teacher Mr. Schue. Even so, Matthew Morrison (who plays him) is 31 and that is definitely a cub to a 53-year-old. But listen, people: he’s hot, he sings, and he dances! Doesn’t that earn me some sort of special dispensation here?

I think a person should also get a break if the man in question plays a vampire, like Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård on “True Blood.” These guys may look young, but their maturity level actually way exceeds 53 years, right? (And it’s not as if I want them because they look that way! Chah, uh-huh.)

So, I asked my friend Rebecca, who at her young age and appearance fears she’s a cougar, what does that make me? She suggested “a den mother,” and I like that. So, here I am, the den mother advising you cougars out there:

Q: Are you a cougar if you shop at clothes stores focused on teens and 20-somethings?

A: Hells to the no. What clothes stores don’t focus on teens and 20-somethings? If you look good and feel good in it, wear it. (And if you need confirmation from Manzi, email me a photo, LOL.)

Q: Are you a cougar if you’re attracted to men three decades your junior?

A: No, it’s just proof that you’re still alive.

Q: Are you a cougar if you’re currently having a wild fling with a man young enough to be your son, off with him on some Caribbean cruise, staying up till all hours dancing and indulging in PDA in front of women half your age?

A: Yes, and you’re my heroine.

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