Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cougars, Prepare to Pounce

'NYC, HANDSOME WHITE MAN, 45, seeking attractive older woman, age 50s to 70s with a sense of humor, for a wonderful relationship. Send photo. NYR Box 52905.'
--from a recent personal ad in the New York Review of Books. Our most recent mention of the uniquely wonderful NYRB, back in October, sparked a lively and interesting conversational string. As for that term cougars, if you're not familiar with it--as I wasn't until not too long ago (but now I seem to see mentions of it everywhere), here's a good working definition.
UPDATE: We decided to try to answer our own question about the roots of this coinage. Turns out it's an idea virus from, of all places, Canada. From Wikipedia: "Cougar: a woman over 40 who sexually pursues younger men, typically more than eight years her junior. The term is Canadian, appearing first in print on the Canadian dating website and has been used in TV series, advertising and film. The 2007 film Cougar Club was dedicated to the subject and in spring 2009 TV Land aired a reality show called The Cougar."


At 2:11 PM, Blogger Kass said...

I am definitely in the age category of a cougar, but if anyone is looking specifically for this phenomenon, I don't want him. BTW, those ads are a hoot. People. If you can't eat 'em, ya gotta love 'em.
Word verification: STOMA - no, I'm not that far gone, that I need one of these.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Kass, is it me, or has this word suddenly come out of nowhere? Obviously the underlying phenomenon isn't new, but I just never heard this coinage till recently, but now it seems to be an instant pillar of the zeitgeist. I even heard one female acquaintance refer to herself that way (no doubt she said it with some self irony).

At 6:35 PM, Blogger Kass said...

It's been around for several years. No doubt, there's a reality show centered around it that we're unaware of too. I think Demi Moore started the phenomenon, but who exactly coined the phrase, I don't know. I wonder why 'cougar' and not 'leopard,' for we certainly have the age spots.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Among your many other good points, I see you've got an acute sense of humor, Kass.

At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Jane Levesque said...

The fact that this caught your attention shows what a double standard we have for men and women. People think nothing of it when an older man pursues a younger woman. Switch the roles and it becomes noteworthy.

I do agree that the term "cougar" does seem to be showing up a lot lately, such as the title of Courtney Cox's new show, "Cougar Town." The funny thing is that her character pursues younger men, but she constantly berates her same-age male neighbor for pursuing twentysomething females.

At 7:30 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No doubt there's a double standard here, but certainly one that's not going away anytime soon.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger Maria said...

The term may have originated in Canada. All kinds of wildlife up there.


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