HERE’S a piece I never thought I’d be writing about even though it’s one of my favorite topics. I’ve always been curious about the appeal and experience. Not so much that I was ever interested in actually DOING it. So salacious. Even may be considered scandalous. Depending on who you ask. I’m referring to the infamous idiom of being a Cougar. Not sure where that label even came from. So we see it in a negative connotation? Is there a sense of shock and shame? Doesn’t seem so much when a man is dating a woman considerably younger. Makes him some kind of chest-pounding silver back gorilla that he’s landed such a gem. For most men, not at all. It’s a sign of youth, success, accomplishment and brings out that primal alpha that he’s still the cat’s ass and has a darling young girl on his arm. In the eyes of his buddies, he’s a king.

Let’s look at the other side. The side in which a woman is dating a considerably younger man. The reactions tend to be a little on the critical end of the spectrum. I’ve seen this type of judgmental behavior before on social media, in pop culture and within the perimeters of my own life. As if somehow a woman has no business dating younger men. As if being a cougar is a bad thing. This double standard can go suck it.

As you may have assumed, I am dating someone considerably younger. It was a ‘paths crossing’ type of thing. I meet him through a friend and had no clue what his age was. Truth be told he looks older because of his beard and rugged appearance. I struggled with the difference. I was graduating high school when he was born. Whoa, what?? I didn’t want to give myself permission to even explore this option. But then again, why wouldn’t I? At LEAST have dinner with him. And I did, and it was instant. He was far more mature than I expected, even though he didn’t know John Cougar Mellencamp. I found myself drawn to him. I also tried to find reasons why I SHOULD NOT pursue this only to come up with reasons why I should.

We have many things in common. There’s ball busting between us about our respective age difference. There’s also a lot of happiness, fire and excitement. It’s a territory I’ve always overlooked. Going younger has never appealed to me. I’d think “what the Christ would I ever have in common with a young’n?” And come up with scenarios like, “what if he lives with his parents?” Or “what if he still drinks out of juice boxes or wears Underoos with Batman on them?”

You get the sarcastic point. There’s an absolute fixation we seem to have with age. What will people think? What if he wants kids? I’ll be 60 when he’s 42!

I’ll tell you what’s refreshing and different about a younger man. He has no armor, yet. Men AND women our age who are single, have been through a lot. Divorce, Broken hearts, disappointment and overall discouragement. We are SO guarded and cynical when it comes to finding love. We’re exhausted and disheartened. We trust very few people and don’t let anyone in. In my case, he’s astonishingly open and honest about his feelings for me. He doesn’t play the “who likes who more” game or who’s going to show more interest in whom first. Like two cats ready to throw down, just circling and circling their opponent trying to strategize which approach is safest. Fuck that. A younger man likes an older woman for many reasons. She’s not insecure or needy. She’s more established and strong willed. She’s not clingy or jealous. There is a chemistry that works. The physical chemistry is….well….my mother reads these articles so I’ll keep that to myself ;).

My point here ladies is……..don’t turn away from an opportunity to date a younger man. Will there be situations where age IS an issue? I’m sure there will be. I plan on it. Will I feel old sometimes? Yes. Will he feel too young? I’m sure. But we meet in the middle and have a lot to learn from each other. I get from him what I’ve been missing for a few years now. When you find yourself single for three or more years, you learn to just live without some of the most crucial human experiences. Something as simple as a tight hug and a soft kiss on the forehead, and suddenly, the safeguard of the brick wall you’ve built around yourself begins to weaken.

It’s then you realize that loving someone and being loved in return is human to human and doesn’t need to be within the confines of a harmonized age bracket (which I’d been narrow minded about for some time now.) Call it what you will, robbing the cradle, May-December, boy toy….there’s more, but if I am going to be referred to as any wild animal, I will happily accept being a Cougar.